Shopping Your Closet: Cardigans

While there is nothing better than hanging some brand new clothes into your over-stuffed closet, we’re in a recession– and spending your money on another pair of jeans is just a waste. You’ve got plenty to work with already, and we’re here to show you how to do so in a fun, new and fashionable way.

Last week we showed you how to re-think an oversized sweater and this week I’m going to show you just how perfect a cardigan can be for any girl and any occasion.

Even though the word “cardigan” conjures up images of grandmothers, the 1950s/1960s, librarians, and overly-preppy girls, this piece does not get enough credit for being able to completely change the vibe of your outfit, no matter your sense of style.

Since fall is just around the corner (I know–summer passes by faster every year, an unfortunate truth for my overly-pale skin), the weather will be cooler and the cardigan will be a great staple piece for any occasion. I have compiled six general ways in which you can totally rock that cardigan your mom bought you that has been hanging in the back of your closet so you look stylish and put-together for class, or even for a night out:

1) Debulk a heavier cardigan with a stylish belt.

Chances are, somewhere in that wardrobe of yours you have a longer, coat-like cardigan that is on the heavier side. To look less like a hobo and more svelte (which can be hard for all of us sometimes), try topping the cardigan with a waist-cinching wide leather belt. This outfit is very cute over jeans, leggings, or tights, and is super easy when you’re running late and need to throw on clothes fast.

2) Get creative.

OK, I’ll be the first to say that I am definitely not a do-it-yourself, crafty kind of gal, but adding your own bit of spice to a cardigan is a cinch. Cardigans with detail can retail at high prices, so if you have a simpler cardigan that you want to liven up a little, try embellishing with a jeweled brooch (this also can double as a way to close the cardigan if it’s a little big). Or, if you are adventurous and somewhat skilled at sewing, you can also attach a strip of ruffled fabric from a local craft store to the neckline to add expensive-looking detail.

3) Accessorize a simple cardigan with a fun scarf.

Chances are, if you do wear cardigans on any regular basis, many of you wear them to the office for a put-together office-casual look. Instead of wearing your regular pretty necklace, try a patterned or detailed scarf! I can’t help but think of the sexy, stylish women in Paris when I see this combination.

4) Don’t be afraid to play up a bright-colored cardigan, regardless of the month.

Who said fall or winter have to be boring color-wise? While the basic black cardigan IS a total must-have because of its versatility, don’t hesitate putting on a cheerfully bright cardigan. This can transform an otherwise neutral/safe outfit into something more spectacular. Think of it almost as an accessory– black top, black skinny jeans, with a brightly-colored cardigan and killer shoes (it’s like the sexy librarian meets the rock star… Men, you’re welcome!).

5) Rock it retro.

Like I said, cardigans conjure up images of women from the 1950s and 1960s–but who said this is a bad thing? With Mad Men gaining popularity and designers enjoying retro styles, you are in luck with pulling this getup through and through. Pair a cardigan with 50s or 60s-reminiscent dress. If you want to indulge your old-school side but don’t have a dress like this, there are plenty of affordable ones popping up at places like Forever 21 or even the local thrift store (you’ll feel so original!).

6) Bling it up.

If you have an embellished cardigan (or you are a DIY queen and wanna do it up yourself), pairing it with a metallic skirt or skinny jeans with bling-y earrings is the perfect look for a night out or classy alternative for a party. It’s sexy without the slutty, which is the perfect combo.

These are just a few ideas of the possibly endless amount of ways to wear a cardigan, so let your imagination go wild!

The 5 Questions We Ask Everyone: Financial Expert, Lisa Serwin
The 5 Questions We Ask Everyone: Financial Expert, Lisa Serwin
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