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11 Cardigan Sweaters for Practical Layering

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

From cropped and cotton to long and luxurious, we found the best cardigan sweaters that are versatile enough to layer over all kinds of outfits, all year long.

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11 Cardigan Sweaters For Practical LayeringRD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)

Cardigan sweaters are the best to grab and go, whether you’re running late to a coffee date or simply need a warm layer to cozy up on the couch. No matter the season or occasion, they’re the best sweaters to come in handy day after day.

While cardigans are as classic as can be, they come in a range of silhouettes, lengths, materials and colors. Some pair beautifully over a summer sundress, while others add laidback coverage to a leggings look. But, overall, they should be comfortable—no scratchy wool allowed!

There’s no shortage of cardigan sweaters for both women and men, so to spare you from endlessly scrolling, we rounded up the best that make layering a breeze. Read on for a few of our favorites—all instant wardrobe staples.

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Quince Baby Alpaca Wool Cropped Cardigan Ecomm Via Quince.com
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Quince Baby Alpaca-Wool Cropped Cardigan

Leave it to Quince, the sustainably focused brand that offers high-quality pieces at affordable prices, to design must-have women’s cardigan sweaters. Here’s betting you’ll reach for this Quince V-neck design year-round. It’s lightweight and cropped, so you can throw it on over a breezy summer dress once the sun sets. Or, wear it solo with your favorite jeans and a classic necklace throughout spring and fall.

For those with sensitive skin, rejoice! Many reviewers say the material is soft. Knit from baby alpaca wool, extrafine merino wool and nylon, this cardigan won’t leave you scratching and itching as other wool sweaters do.

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Lane Bryant Long Sleeve Open Front Cardigan
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Lane Bryant Long Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan

To immediately brighten any outfit, add this Lane Bryant cardigan as the finishing touch. This open-front design offers a flattering Did I grow an inch? feel, while the longer length provides more backside coverage. It’s ideal for pairing with leggings for an ultra-comfortable errands outfit.

There’s no wrong way to wear this cardigan sweater for women. Pair it with a floral blouse and trousers for work, or pack it in your carry-on for chilly flights. Plus, at this price (under $20!), you may want to add to cart before they’re all sold out.

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L.l. Bean Men's Fisherman Cardigan
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L.L.Bean Men’s Fisherman Cardigan

This L.L.Bean slim-fit cardigan is a traditional style that looks great on guys. Made of 100% cotton, it’s soft with a rib-knit buttoned shawl collar. Buttons and patch pockets appear on the front, and it comes in five colors and sizes. It’s vintage-inspired for just the right touch of elegance and comfort. To complete a winter look, pair it with these men’s winter coats.

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Everlane The Oversized Alpaca Cardigan
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Everlane The Oversized Alpaca Cardigan

Add this comfy, cozy cardigan to your wardrobe and you’ll immediately wonder where it’s been your whole life. Like all things Everlane, this button-front design (made of a light and airy alpaca yarn) evokes an elevated yet minimalist style. It adds a perfect touch to outfits you already own.

Go simple by conjuring a back-to-school feel with jeans and a white tee. Or, for an unexpected outfit, add this cardigan sweater atop a flowy floor-length dress to effortlessly extend your summer styles long into fall. Either way, whether you choose the heathered gray or black version, it’s bound to become a new fall closet staple.

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Oversized Cardigan Sweater
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Qualfort Oversized Cardigan Sweater

Indecisive types, beware. When adding this Qualfort cardigan sweater to your Amazon cart, narrowing down which of the 26 colors you like best is going to be tricky. (We would know, we want one of each.)

Its relaxed, slightly oversized fit is an easy layer over summer tops and fall turtlenecks alike. Made from 100% cotton, it’s lightweight enough to wear for any season, even as the temperatures are rising. Our favorite feature, however, is that it’s machine washable.

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Long Batwing Sleeve Cardigan
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Zesica Long Batwing Sleeve Cardigan

This knee-length cardigan sweater has an open-front design. It offers a lengthening optical illusion, and the waffle texture adds dimension to any outfit, no matter how simple. The extra long length makes it especially useful for warming up casual looks, like leggings and white sneakers or skinny jeans and a bodysuit.

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Lululemon Boxy Cotton Blend Cardigan
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Lululemon Boxy Cotton-Blend Cardigan

We all need that one sweater that can top any outfit, whether you’re about to hop on a Zoom meeting or pick the kids up from school. This Lululemon cardigan sweater is just that. The goes-with-everything style has a relaxed fit that hits at the waist and a deep V-neck with a buttoned front.

It’s soft to the touch, mid-weight and available in two neutral colorways. This Lululemon sale price is more expensive than other options on this list, but considering how often you’ll wear it, you’ll see it as a great investment.

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Abercrombie Zip Up Cardigan
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Abercrombie Zip-Up Cardigan

Meet your new favorite summer sweater—and fall, winter and spring sweater too. This easy-going Abercrombie design has a substantial weight, so it’ll keep you perfectly warm. Instead of traditional buttons, a two-way zipper closure ensures its season-to-season versatility.

Just picture this over your favorite dress, since you’ll need it for all the backyard barbecues that extend past sunset. We also love that it’s machine-washable, which is especially useful for all those who are prone to spilling, well, anything while wearing cardigan sweaters.

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Loft Striped V Neck Cardigan
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Loft Striped V-Neck Cardigan

You can’t deny the ever-lasting elegance of this Loft cardigan. If you don’t already own one, consider this your sign. The modern yet classic black and white stripe pattern matches just about anything, from nighttime dresses to business casual outfits. It features an easy, relaxed fit, and it’s available in a wide range of sizes (from XXS to XXL in petite sizing). This sweater is an “add to cart” no-brainer.

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L.l. Bean All Day Waffle Sweater
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L.L.Bean Hooded Wrap Cardigan

Is there anything better than cardigan sweaters that feel like warm blankets? We think not. And that’s exactly how we feel about this L.L.Bean wrap cardigan. Its included belt is removable, which means there are more ways to wear it.

Ditch the belt on warm days to show off your outfit underneath, or tie it when you feel a chill coming on. The waffle-stitch design also features a ribbed hood and front patch pockets to amp up the coziness. Choose from regular, petite and plus sizes to allow for the ideal fit for you.

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Kallspin Men's Wool Blended Cardigan
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Kallspin Men’s Wool Blended Cardigan

Every fella, no matter his style, needs this Kallspin men’s cardigan sweater in his wardrobe. It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to layer over button-down shirts and under-suit jackets. It’s the perfect piece for all kinds of occasions, including holiday work parties and nice dinners on the town. A wide range of sizes, from small to 4XL, and tall sizes make it a fit for all body types. Complete the look with these men’s joggers.

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