How to Wear Cardigans Without Looking Like a Granny (even if you are one)

I can’t quite believe I’m sitting down to write a blog post about cardigans. And perhaps it’s because my 48th birthday is fast approaching that this Spring Summer 2020 trend seems suddenly so alluring but I don’t think so. Reportedly, our forties (yes, even the late forties) is sexy these days and as luck would have it the cardigan is now too. Yes, as with so many things in life, it’s all about timing; if you’d pitched up to a date in a buttoned up cardi a couple of years ago you’d have looked, well, buttoned up. But not now. Thanks largely to Katie Holmes and one innocuous bare shoulder, this item of clothing, once synonymous with school uniforms and Victoria Wood characters, is one hot piece.

Katie Holmes wonders what the fuss is about in her Khaite cardigan

The great thing about this transitional trend is its infinite wearability. When was the last time you looked at a catwalk report and thought, ahh now there is a look I can really get into? Exactly. It’s not often you can spend less than £40 on a piece of clothing that ticks so many boxes – warmth, style, age-appropriateness and of course versatility – you can wear the cardigan to parents’ evening for goodness sake!

In the ’80s the cardigan was all about long, slouchy, oversized and in my case, borrowed from my dad. In the ’90s there was a brief flirtation with twinsets as the ladylike trend took hold and then there were the wrap arounds, in cashmere if you were really lucky. This season the catwalks showed that for once here was a piece of knitwear you could pick to suit your shape and lifestyle. At Chanel it was classic Coco with a twist; wear it boxy and cropped with denim if you’re young and built like a Gitanes or wear it tailored and lengthy if you are not. Celine mixed its cardigan in with the other big Spring 2020 trend, the 70’s, and the result was so elegant I could instantly imagine everyone from Kate Middleton to Zoe Kravitz rocking the look. Meanwhile the louche sexiness of Bruno Cucinelli’s oversized style begged the question, could one be brave enough to wear it with nothing underneath? It’s far too cold in this country naturally but really, would you?

Short and slouchy at Uniqlo £34.90

Long and slouchy at Massimo Dutti £59.95

What’s great about this little piece is that when all is said and done, it’s a layer and layering is what we do best in this country; that is to say, some of us don’t but given our frankly ridiculous weather in the UK, it’s something

that should be taught in school along with how to operate an umbrella and how to get mud out


Short and Chanel inspired at Laura Ashley £39

Long and Chanel inspired at & Other Stories £85

of beige carpets. All those wonderful summer dresses you’ve invested in over the years will now have a partner and your arms, whether you like them or not, will have something to keep them warm on those occasions when the sun goes down and you haven’t had quite enough gin to not feel the cold.


Here are a few pointers before you go looking for your perfect spring cardigan:

  1. Avoid shorter boxy styles if you have a bigger bust and go for an open neckline (see the Warehouse style).
  2.  If you have a mid section you want to hide the longer styles are for you (see Other Stories and Massimo Dutto styles).
  3.  More of a boyish shape? Lucky you, the boxy styles will look fab (see Laura Ashley and Uniqlo styles).
  4.  The longline cardigan coat hybrid is universally flattering but tread carefully (quite literally) if you’re under 5’4.
  5.  Layer a camisole or edgier vest underneath any of these styles to ensure your look is contemporary rather than mumsy.

Tie detail at Cos £59

Long and lean at £28

So these are your options – put your pre-conceived ideas of custard cream biscuits and handkerchiefs to one side and give a cardigan a home – I guarantee one of these little beauties has your name on it.

Happy shopping!



Fitted and Fifties style at Warehouse £36


About aftercarrie

I help people refine their wardrobe to suit their shape, colouring and lifestyle. I am a style consultant, personal shopper and colour analyst working in London. Be the loveliest possible you. My first book SHOPPED was released on 5th July 2016 (September Publishing).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s