If you had said a few years ago that in the year 2019 we’d all be dressing like we were on “Full House,” we would have told you to make like Joey Gladstone and Cut. It. Out.
But it’s true. With each passing day, runway show, impeachment inquiry and interest in Katie Holmes’ choice to wear a cardigan as a shirt, it becomes more clear that the ’90s are and have been back ― for better or worse.
The cardigan shirt phenomenon sits firmly on the “better” side of things, if you ask us. It hasn’t always been considered a glamorous or high-fashion piece of a wardrobe, but whether it’s layered with a shirt underneath (the traditional way of wearing it) or wearing it on its own as a shirt (the current way of wearing it), it’s having a moment.
How, then, does one actually pull off this trend in real life? How do you keep it professional in the office? How do people of all body types make it work? We have a few tips of our own, and so does celebrity stylist and television personality Brad Goreski, whom we called on for assistance in navigating the trend.
Invest in what’s underneath
We’re not suggesting you shell out $520 for a cashmere bra to wear under your cardi, like Holmes did (although if you want to, here’s where you can get one). But a little exposed undergarment can be chic and tasteful. “If the cardigan has a deep V, try wearing a bra with a bit of lace or in a nice fabric,” Goreski suggested.
This may present a challenge to those with larger chests, but there are plenty of options for all sizes. ThirdLove’s Contour Plunge Bra works really well for anything low-cut.
Wear it backward
On Oct. 3, The Cut declared “The Best Way To Wear A Cardigan Is Backward.” In it, the author declares that by wearing the garment backward, what she didn’t like about it would be “reversed.” She was inspired by that Sézane cardigan, which in 2017 had a 30,000-person waitlist. This Instagram, also from Sézane, argues against the notion that backward is best, but for those looking to channel Celine Dion, this might be a good option for you.
A larger cardigan is easier to shift into place so that your adventures in cardigan-ing remain suitable for work, plus they’re just plain comfortable. We’re all about being as comfy as possible, but if you’re worried about losing your shape to an oversized, chunky knit, Goreski has some advice.
“Try belting the cardigan, especially if it is oversized, to give it a little shape,” he said. “The natural waist is a good place to put the belt.”
Shift your thinking
Wearing a cardigan as its own entity might take a little getting used to, but Goreski said once you do, the possibilities are endless. “Treat the cardigan as you would a button-down shirt,” he said. “Pair it with everything from jeans to a pencil skirt. The trick is shifting your mindset from it being a layering piece to the star of the show.”
Ready to give it a shot? Check out our top picks for shirt cardigans ― and accouterments ― below.
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AsosGet the Asos Design curve cropped boyfriend cardigan for $45.
AritziaGet the Aritzia Wilfred new plunge front cardigan for $138.
SézaneGet the Sézane Georges jumper for $150.
TargetGet the Target V-neck cardigan for $24.99.
MadewellGet the Madewell Maguire cardigan sweater for $98.
J.CrewGet the J.Crew featherweight cashmere cardigan sweater for $128.
AEGet the AE oversized button up cardigan for $29.97.
AerieGet the Aerie cozy lace padded bralette for $25.
LivelyGet the Lively busty bralette for $35.
ThirdLoveGet the ThirdLove 24/7 classic contour plunge bra for $68.
J.CrewGet the J.Crew skinny Italian leather belt for $34.50.
EloquiiGet the Eloquii chain link belt for $44.95.