The easiest way to ruin a good outfit

The easiest way to ruin a good outfit

I love Shana of Ain’t No Mom Jeans, and I love podcasts, so when I found out she was doing a style segment on The Home Hour podcast I updated my iPhone accordingly. 

In this episode, Shana and host Meagan Francis discuss what to wear to a high school reunion. (Such a great topic, right?) Reunions are tricky because you want to look amazing, without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Shana gives tips for looking fabulous and effortless at the same time, as well as a few other tips and tricks for reunion dressing. But my eye-opening moment came when Shana and Meagan addressed the challenges of dressing for a hotel conference room, which can easily feel like a sauna or an igloo (or sometimes both, in the same hour).

When asked about her take on layering a sweater over a dress for warmth, Shana said, “nothing ruins a good outfit faster than a cardigan.”

I’ve never heard this articulated before, but knew immediately she was right.

good-outfit-collage

coral dress: Stitch Fix 

I love dresses for summer. They’re pretty, they’re breezy, they’re darn close to effortless.  But I tend to get cold—and there’s a big temperature difference between a sweltering day and an air-conditioned room—so AI always grab a layer when I’m heading out the door. Until a few years ago, that piece would be a cardigan.

Layering a sweater over a dress sounds like a great idea. But it ruined the look every time I tried it.

Instead of a cardigan, Shana suggests a scarf, a moto jacket, or a blazer. Or a poncho! (That last one I gotta see for myself, because I cannot picture it. Although I’m betting this would be cute over the right dress.)

My go-to layer in the summer is an old denim jacket. I got mine at Loft many moons ago. I leave it open, and usually roll the sleeves because I like the proportions better that way. 

good-outfit-maxi

maxi dress: Stitch Fix 

good-outfit-tshirt-dress

striped dress: Target

(Bonus: with a jacket on top, I can get away with wearing dresses more places than I otherwise would. I feel naked wearing skinny-strapped dresses in church, or the grocery store, but with a jacket it’s no big deal.) 

Non sequitur: Silas wanted to get in on the backyard photo action. This photo kills me. Four going on thirty.

catcher

He looks more like my little boy in this one, even if he wouldn’t crack a smile. (Not while he’s wearing the catcher’s helmet, obviously.)

Si-and-mom

A cardigan kills a good dress: agree or disagree? And what do YOU layer over your summer dresses? 

cardigan photo via J. Crew’s 2007 (!!) catalog

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

99 comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is terrible news for me. I own five or six cardigans and wear them over dresses for the same reasons you listed. Plus, nursing tank tops covered with a cardigan and scarf is my go-to outfit these days with a newborn and again a year ago when I was nursing his older brother too. Whatever will I buy/wear now that I can afford as my body morphs from pregnancy to mom of two under 18 months????

    • Anne says:

      No freaking out necessary! It’s an “easy” way to ruin a cute dress, not a guaranteed one!

      Your go-to outfit sounds cute. Props for having a go-to outfit for the crazy stage you’re in! (Also, I never could figure out how to wear dresses while I was nursing. Jealous!)

      • Victoria says:

        I’m right there with you! I own a gazillion cardigans (okay, maybe just 5) and use them often, especially for the reasons you mentioned! I do have a jean jacket and have wanted to invest in a blazer, maybe I’ll try to switch it up every now and then. I do think cardigans look best with a more fitted top or even a tank underneath. Great post!

  2. Alyssa says:

    I would save the boyfriend cardigan for pants, but a small, close fitting retro looking one, I would wear with a dress. Think Emma from Glee.

    • Sherri says:

      I agree. The cardigan that Anne wears above is too long and doesn’t have the right proportions for the dress.

      I like the denim jacket with your striped dress but I’m not feeling the love for any of the other combinations.

  3. Grace says:

    Hm, I always wear sweaters over dresses to get me through all the months of the year. They are pull over sweaters though, not cardigans. I especially love a particular knit one that is a little shorter and hits right above the smallest part of my waist.

  4. Rachel says:

    Bad news for me! I wear cardigans a lot! They help make outfits warmer or more appropriate. I never thought they looked that bad before. I have different styles-long short, buttons etc

  5. Ellen says:

    I absolutely disagree. It really depends on the style and color of the cardigan. I stopped subscribing to Ain’t No Mom Jeans because she didn’t dress like any mom in my area, and I realized that her style wasn’t the style that I was trying to emulate. And after working hard to learn some style basics and buying several fun cardigans to try and up my game, yeah, I find her statement to be too narrow and kind of insulting.

    • Anne says:

      Hey, that might be my fault. I’m pretty sure the full three-times-as-long quote from the podcast included the word “sometimes.” And just because it “can” ruin an outfit doesn’t mean it WILL. 🙂 Flip-flops can definitely kill a good outfit but that doesn’t mean I’m never going to wear them!

      (If you want to listen the link to the episode is in the post, and the style segment begins the podcast.)

  6. Louise says:

    Yeah, I would never wear one of my boyfriend cardigans over a dress, but depending on the style of dress and the style of cardigan, I think it can be managed without looking frumpy or dowdy. Having said that, I have a brown linen jacket that I wear with almost all my dresses when I need some extra warmth/coverage, and it definitely does look sharper than throwing on a cardigan.

  7. Wow… just reading through the comments. Interesting reactions by all. I also wear cardigans because I am ALWAYS cold. BUT… in your three coral examples up there, I have to agree that the denim jacket far and away makes the dress pop the most, while the other two do look a little more frumpy. Interesting.

    I don’t know that it’s a cut and dried thing (“Cardigans ALWAYS ruin the outfit” might be a little over the top), but it does make me pause. I picked up 3 or 4 jackets in the last year that I love, and not only do I feel more put together when I wear them, I usually get compliments on them.

    I was just trying on dresses/outfits yesterday for an upcoming trip. I know that if I don’t take something to wear over my sleeveless dresses, I will FREEZE, but on two of the dresses, when I tried my normal little white, 3/4 length sleeve cardigan, I didn’t like what it did to the dresses or to me. Kind of washed me out. Now I’m thinking I should try the same dresses with a light colored jacket that’s hanging in my closet and see what that looks like.

    As for me, my go to fashion people have always been Clinton and Stacy from TLC’s What NOT to Wear. I don’t always agree with them, but overall I like the style that they go for, and I’ve learned a lot from them over the years. They are the reason I no longer buy or wear white bras. 😉

    • Karen says:

      I have to ask now… why no white bras? Do they show through clothing more? I tend to buy beige or colored ones but now I’m curious. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      You’re right. Nobody said “always.” Also: they are huge fans of collars, which most sweaters lack. I think that’s a factor.

      And I love Clinton and Stacy too. I’ve only watched ten episodes of that show, ever (cable tv on vacation!) but I still like their sassy opinionated interventions. 🙂

      • Sorry, didn’t mean to make it sound like someone said “always” – more of an example that it’s not cut and dried. 🙂 I often do collared shirts with my cardigans, so it’s the flip of the jacket and dress.

        We don’t have cable, but I found some episodes on TLC online once upon a time, and on YouTube since then. 🙂

        • Katherine says:

          WNTW is on netflix now, for those who are interested. I recently found a book I LOVE called Its So You. It breaks everything down to a science and is very comprehensive. It makes fashion decision making much more manageable for me, which is saying a lot bc I am so indecisive. The main point is to equip you to dress in such a way that the eye is drawn to your face.

  8. Can we turn this discussion toward *why* it is freezing in hotel ballrooms? And office buildings, which is also a huge summer problem? I know people who put space heaters in their cubes because it is so freezing, which is just a horrible, horrible waste of energy. It is because offices and hotels are set for men in suits (with long pants, socks, jackets over long sleeve shirts, etc.). That is considered the norm, and everyone else needs to conform to it. But guys can change too — they don’t like suits either! After the tsunami in Japan and the nuclear meltdowns, Tokyo had to go “office casual” for the summer so they didn’t overload the power grid. It’s an uber conservative business culture and they survived wearing nice short sleeve button downs and khakis. American men could survive a thermostat set at 75 degrees with a different dress code too….

    • Anne says:

      Space heaters in July because of the a.c.? What a waste!

      I didn’t know that about Tokyo’s “office casual” summer. Fascinating.

    • Ana says:

      My husband’s office does this. From Memorial Day to Labor Day its “summer casual”…technically they can even wear shorts, though most men wear khakis with polos.

      I honestly never thought about thermostats being set for men in suits. It always baffled me, but that makes perfect sense. Here I am in a sleeveless knee-length dress, freezing, when the men are completely covered and layered up.

    • Katie says:

      That or your casually-dressed boss is ALWAYS hot and so the AC runs at full blast even in the WINTER. And no space heaters allowed. He’d rather have us huddle under blankets. -_-

      On the flip side, the AC at the courthouse where my husband works is not very effective, but I can’t imagine the judge allowing summer casual wear in the courtroom! My poor DH just dies every day in his full suit. The women tend to be more comfortable there.

  9. Bad news for me – I LOVE my cardigans 🙂

    I think in your example with the coral dress, it’s the shade and shape of the denim jacket vs the shapes of the cardigans that makes it the outright winner.

    And that’s why I will respectfully block out the new “style” rules of no cardigans 😉

  10. I’ve never thought about the jacket vs cardigan debate, but I’ll be rethinking some outfits now. Fitted cardigans have a better chance than looser cuts (the gray looks better than the white in Anne’s pics, although the jacket trumps them both), and a skinny belt would help a cardigan as well. And I agree with Carrie @ Busy Nothings–white bras don’t look good under anything–go for either black or nude.

  11. Jennifer H says:

    I like the jacket, but I wouldn’t say the cardigans ruin the dresses. Plus if you only have the one jacket, even with different dresses under it, it would look like you are always wearing the same thing, right? And if the jacket is not denim, it would probably look a little dressier than you want. I’m no fashion maven, but I disagree with this advice.

  12. EricaM says:

    I have a white sweater that technically ends right above the natural waist. (Right at “Regency waistline area”, actually.) The ends can hang down longer, but I like tying them up because it seems to give me a little more proportion. (The woes of the pear shape!) I think if a sweater is cut right it can work fine with a dress.

    Or, if you want to look elegant, you can wear a shawl. Of course, trying to go through a food line wearing a shawl while remaining elegant is a talent unto itself…

  13. interesting advice! i wear cardigans pretty much every day to work because my office is freezing/wearing a sweater makes more of my wardrobe work appropriate. i’m a librarian after all! 🙂 but that being said, i have a ridiculous number of cardigans that i’ve collected over the years in different colors and styles. some work with dresses/skirts and others absolute do not. i think it’s all perspective! i would like some more structured jackets or casual blazers to wear inside. someday…

  14. I think this depends SO much on the cardigan. A big loose one like the white one you tried in the photos definitely isn’t an awesome look. But a cropped, snuggish one with a dress, especially a high waisted dress is a neat, not sloppy look.

    What I have in mind is a bit like the brown sweater, except more cropped.

  15. Ana says:

    I think the take away is that, if you care about how it looks (and let’s face it, sometimes I don’t), then make sure whatever you may put on top of it also looks nice–i.e. try it on with the cardigan or jacket or shawl and make sure you like it, rather than just throwing any old cardigan on top when you get cold. THAT’S when you “ruin the outfit.” I definitely had that problem, and I’d cover up a nice professional dress with the somewhat faded black cardigan crumpled in my bag, because I didn’t think ahead about what to cover up with when I got cold. (I have the same problem with shoes, I’ve had to move my shoes upstairs, so I can try them on & look in the mirror instead of just picking something when I’m heading out the door.)

    While jackets may look nicer in many situations, when you are walking in and out from hot to cold, its so much easier to stow a lightweight cardigan in a purse or bag. You may have to carry that jacket around, which makes it less appealing!

    • Anne says:

      That’s a good point about how easy it is to toss a sweater in a bag.

      Also, there have been times I’ve been so frozen in the a.c. in my office building I would have gladly wrapped up in a wool blanket just to stay warm! I don’t care about appearances when my fingers are turning blue. 🙂

  16. Karianna says:

    I’m a cardigan fan for sure, but I have noticed mine getting a little frumptastic. I think it’s more of a balance of structured (denim jacket) and unstructured (soft dress) that is the kicker. I love a good denim jacket, but as I’m still nursing a little one, I feel that the denim is a bit rough on his cute little cheeks!

  17. That is an interesting observation. While I definitely wear a lot of cardigans with dresses, I know it is important to pick a good shape of cardigan. The observation probably came about because many people just throw on their favourite with any dress, without stopping to think about it.

    For example, with your coral dress, the cardigan on the left is so wrong for the dress (but would look great with jeans!). But I will have to respectfully disagree with you that the jacket is the best of the three. I think the jacket is a little two boxy for that particular dress, although it looks perfect with the two striped dresses (and really cute with the sleeves rolled!) I really like the brown cardigan with the coral dress. And maybe a cropped version would look even cuter 😉

    But then take what I say with a grain of salt…I’m no fashion blogger, and there are some very good reasons for that!

    Your little guy in the helmet is seriously adorable!

    • Anne says:

      It’s funny that the brown cardigan feels really short when I wear it, but looks pretty long with the dress.

      And in general, that’s a tough dress to put anything over, in my opinion. The twisty-tie thing makes everything seem a bit awkward. (But I’m no fashion blogger either!)

    • Jackie says:

      “For example, with your coral dress, the cardigan on the left is so wrong for the dress (but would look great with jeans!). But I will have to respectfully disagree with you that the jacket is the best of the three. I think the jacket is a little two boxy for that particular dress, although it looks perfect with the two striped dresses (and really cute with the sleeves rolled!) I really like the brown cardigan with the coral dress.”

      Jo, I totally agree, and I’m so glad you said it first.

      I was beginning to feel like a fashion failure, because I had the understanding that a denim jacket ruins a dress, and I used to use blazers but decided that was too frumpy. I tend to use a black cardigan or a fun scarf or shawl (which you just have to figure out how to tie it back while in the food line).

      It’s funny how fashions/styles cycle around over the years. I was pretty nerdy wearing my denim jacket 20 yrs ago. Time to take it out of the closet again, perhaps….

  18. Anna says:

    In general, I would agree. There are some exceptions, though. I have a more structured cardigan. It’s shorter (stops at the waist) and has 3/4 sleeves. I’ll wear it over dresses, short-sleeve shirts or tank tops. It’s not quite as warm as my denim jacket, so it makes a nice in between. I think it depends on the cardigan, etc. 🙂

  19. Megan says:

    A simple fix I’ve used with looser cardigans and dresses is a skinny belt at the smallest part of the waist while leaving the cardi opened underneath. I like my denim jacket but it can start to feel rigid and heavy after awhile. I agree that the jacket looks better in the above pictures, but I think the key is looking at why the cardis aren’t as appealing–it’s because they don’t do much for the shape of the dress. In fact, they pretty much hide it altogether because they’re not structured and just hang. So for those who are distraught over all the cardigans they own, I think it’s okay to mix it up with a jacket occasionally, but a skinny belt and contrasting statement necklace up top will go a long way to adding shape and keeping those cardis fresh looking and in good use!

  20. Jenny says:

    I think the rule of thumb here (and that which most cardigans are lacking) is structure – that’s why your dress looks so much better with the denim on top.

    I have a couple cardigans and use them when I’m newly postpartum and sometimes on winter mornings for covering up pajamas, but this piece helps me put my finger on why it’s always so hard to actually wear them out of the house (and feel good about it) – they’re shapeless and frumpy by nature, it’s their composition. I suppose on somebody who is very small boned or long and lean, the shapelessness could work, but I agree with Shana’s premise, which is that they aren’t doing the average woman any favors.

    And I don’t love Shana’s personal style for *me,* but I do love her helpful deconstruction of trends and certain looks, and I appreciate her perspective on making fashion accessible for the average woman, even if she herself doesn’t fit that mold. Thanks for this post Anne!

  21. I agree with others that it depends on the cut of the cardigan and dress/top. Yesterday I wore an open cardi over a maxidress and it looked a little frumpy (the shapes didn’t really work together), but today I’m wearing a more fitted cardi over a sleeveless button-down and it looks much sharper.

    • Anne says:

      I’m coming around to the idea that collars make everything look sharper. (I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions, but as a general rule, I think there’s something there.)

  22. Jen says:

    Who knew this would be such a controversial topic?!? I also have a cropped fitted black cardigan that I think looks good with certain outfits. But this post has certainly given me something to think about when it comes to adding a layer. I think dresses in particular are tricky to layer, because you have to think about the waistline, the hemline, the neckline, everything!

  23. Karisa says:

    I personally love cardigans and they fit my artsy style better than a heavy jacket. I think, as everyone has pointed out, it depends on the fit of both the cardigan and dress and the style you’re going for. The baggy look is popular. I personally started putting different belts around the sweater to create a great hourglass look and make it look put together instead of “I’m wearing a jacket/cardigan because it’s cold”.

  24. Lucy says:

    Disagree. I own several fitted, cropped cardigans that look great layered over dresses, and I prefer the flexibility and softness cardigan provides over a jacket. I find I get too warm in a jacket layered over a dress but a cardigan is just right.

  25. Jeannie says:

    I guess the title just sounds a bit absolute (“Want to ruin an outfit? Here’s an easy way!”); as many of the comments have said, it all depends. The coral dress you model at the top is drapey so it looks better with something structured like the jean jacket; your 2 striped dresses would probably look very nice with the right cardigan (not the white one, which seems to scream, “Grandma made me wear this because SHE’S cold!” 🙂 ). I LOVE the blue dress & jean jacket combo, though. But then, I love blue.

    Thank you, Anne, for raising this very important and controversial subject.

  26. Breanne says:

    I love this post and all the comments, so many different thoughts! I agree with a jean jacket over summer dresses, it gives a crisp look that a cardigan doesn’t give. But come winter, all the layers and all the cozyness!
    Also, I think a layer of the same fabric isn’t great, and a lot of summer dresses are a knit. I went on a hunt for the perfect jean jacket this summer, a little bit cropped I found was the most flattering to wear with dresses. =)

  27. Vanessa says:

    Yeah, I agree AND disagree. I think the key to making a cardigan work is to have several, and to use each one with the appropriate outfits. Having one or two and just tossing them on willy-nilly is lazy and will look lazy. I think others before me have mentioned, too, that a slouchy cardi looks good with fitted dresses and a fitted cardi works well with loose dresses. It’s the yin-yang of accessorizing!

    A random tip: Jackets with mandarin collars and moto jackets are pretty much the bomb-diggity. They look good with everything, in my humble opinion.

  28. LoriM says:

    This is fascinating. I totally see what you mean from the pictures. Will have to re-think my many cardi’s now. I like the scarf idea and have been wanting a jeans jacket. Just wish they were cozier… Hmmmm. hardly ever wear dresses anyway but that’s another thing I’ve been wanting to do….

    • Tara says:

      Diane you go ahead and wear a jean jacket with jeans! Just make sure they are NOT the same wash (the same color). Mix up and the light and dark, and you can totally rock it! (In case it lends more, or less, credibility – I am 28 and a pretty decent dresser.)

  29. Deborah says:

    I live on an expat compound that is 70% Muslim and very conservative, so the maxi-dress/light cardigan combo is a go-to for me. Cotton, of course, because it’s 115 F all summer. Really hoping that my lightweight cardigans don’t ruin my outfits! A blue jean or moto jacket would be way too heavy, though. Sigh!

  30. Ginger says:

    My absolute favorite piece in my closet is a sweater blazer — I have a olive green one in jersey material and then a thick sweater one in gray.

    They provide the structure of a blazer, and the comfort of a sweater. I wear them over dresses often. They are absolute magic on airplanes, when you want to look polished, but cozy.

    I wish I had a million!

    • Katie says:

      I have one of those I bought a million years ago and I seriously wish I had bought a dozen of them. They are the BEST.

  31. Katie says:

    I thought the easiest way to ruin a good outfit was to wear it around a nursing baby and/or toddler! 😉

    My cardigans were staples of my freezing-office wear (as were a blanket and fingerless gloves) and I love them for nursing layers, but it’s true that sometimes you need more structure (or a collar). But I would find a jacket too heavy and stiff for sitting at a conference all day. Scarves are my go-to there, since they fit in the purse even more easily than a cardi, are soft and cozy, and can be used to target your child spots–maybe you’re in a skirt and it’s actually your legs that are cold, or your arms are chilly but your torso is warm. A good scarf is like a fancy, socially acceptable, portable blanket!

  32. Anne says:

    What about a belt and jewelry with the coral dress and light jewelry? Too hot? My favorite is the blue dress with the jacket. Was the dress from Stitch Fix?? Cute! (And that’s one super cute ball player!)

    Quality of cardigan is a big deal, too.

  33. Kym says:

    I am also in the “respectfully disagree” camp. I do understand that perhaps we’re analyzing out of context here, but I strongly dislike statements like this that are divisive and “all or nothing”. I have a large chest and I have to be VERY careful what I wear on top or I look like a big ol’ apple. A moto jacket would hang all wrong on me, an open blazer is a recipe for disaster, and my beloved denim jacket has it’s place but I still have to be careful with it. The right cardigan, especially one with a little drape, is flattering on me. I try not to take things personally, but I think people forget about helping ALL body types dress attractively when statements like this are made.
    Related: I’ll bet you never guessed simple cardigans would generate this much discussion! 🙂

    • Anne says:

      You’re right about the discussion-generating factor! I had no idea. 🙂

      Thanks for the input. It’s wonderful that you know what works for your body type. 🙂

  34. Melanie E. says:

    I highly recommend the style blog Putting Me Together. She gets most of her stuff from Target, Old Navy, Kohl’s, etc., and is cute while also conservative and not too trendy. This post (from today, actually) isn’t totally about this topic, but it can show you the different looks you can achieve with the same base, in this case a striped dress. There are good looks for cardigans and jackets, and I think the accessories (belts, necklaces) really contribute to the overall look.

    Check it out! http://www.puttingmetogether.com/2014/06/ways-to-remix-striped-dress-this-dress.html

    • Anjanette says:

      I just found the Putting Me Together blog and I have also found it to be extremely helpful! Great wardrobe advice for dressing during pregnancy right now too– I’m done having babies, but I wish I’d had the blog as a resource during my pregnancies.

      • Tim says:

        Something very judge-like, such as jeans and a T-shirt. If I want to snazz it up, I’ll wear a polo or sport shirt. Plus a sweat shirt for the rooms kept at meat-locker temperatures,

        Yes, I’m a real fashion plate.

  35. Anjanette says:

    Interesting post, Anne!

    I love Shana’s blog, even though I could never pull off most of the outfits she wears so beautifully. As you and many readers have pointed out in the comments, I think Shana’s point was not that cardigans should never be worn with dresses, but that you shouldn’t just throw any old cardigan on for warmth (especially when you’re dressing to impress for your reunion!). I often do exactly that, so I very much appreciate the cautionary advice as well as all of the tips in the comments to help me better determine what to consider when adding a warmer layer to dresses.

    Laura’s point about room temperature being geared to men and suits was interesting too– if I thought I’d look as good in a suit as Ellen Degeneres or Diane Keaton, I’d have a new go-to dressy outfit for my next freezing-room function 🙂

  36. Alison S. says:

    I love how a denim jacket looks with a casual dress, but have a hard time pairing anything but a cardigan with a work outfit since I work in a professional office. Maybe I need to try more jackets? I have learned the value of using accessories. Jewelry, shoes and belts done tastefully make a world of difference.

  37. Holly says:

    The lines of the clothing are also important. The v-neck of the coral dress creates vertical lines and then when you put those cardigans over it you are adding more verticle lines. I predict that a well fitting cardigan would look better over the striped dresses because it would be adding veritical lines over dresses that have none.

  38. Sloan says:

    I really wanted that striped dress from Target and tried it on the other day. However, the arm holes were too big and it looked kind of weird. I’m trying to be super picky about what I buy, so I had to let it go. But I was sad.

  39. I love how you showed the difference between the cardigans and jean jacket! It really brings to life what you’re saying! Jean jackets have been my go to but I’m also not a big dress wearer. 😉

  40. Dana Dooley says:

    Thanks for sharing this! As a teacher, I often wear dresses to work (school), but I like to pair the dress with some over thing to make it more professional. Of course, the cardigan has been the go-to, but it always felt like the outfit didn’t really work… Now, inspired by your post, I found the perfect crop moto jacket that will give my dresses a little edge. Thanks!

    (Also, this is the first time I’ve read your blog. I love it! And your boy looks freakin’ adorable!)

  41. Wendy says:

    Wow! I wouldn’t have believed it until I saw the pictures! I will definitely be reaching for other pieces instead of a cardigan now. In fact, I have a denim blazer that I never knew what to do with — over a summer dress might be perfect!!

  42. Jennifer says:

    I think what’s missing is the context of the event — I would assume a hotel ballroom is for a more dressed-up affair, so that’s why cardigans wouldn’t be a good match — they’re too casual and take away from the fanciness of the event 🙂 Cardigans over a dress would be fine for casual events, but again, if you’re wearing a nicely cut dress and throw a long cardigan over it, it’s taking away from the effect of the dress. (And that’s totally fine if that’s the intention; maybe people are trying to tone down a dress?)

  43. Katherine says:

    I agree about cardis looking frumpy with a dress. Forgive me, though, because I don’t know how to say this in a way that sounds kind, but the striped dress is so wrinkled that the outfit was ruined before the jacket came into the mix. The fastest way to really ruin an outfit is simply not looking after your clothes properly.

    • Anne says:

      Busted! You’re so right. That dress had been in a plastic bag for two days and I didn’t iron it (or even hang it so the wrinkles could hang out a bit) first. It shows, to say the least. 🙂

  44. Jill says:

    I disagree, because the statement is a blanket one and dismisses variables. It depends on the dress and the cardigan in question; and it depends on style preference, comfort and situation. A moto jacket, blazer or denim jacket could inflict harm as well. 🙂

    One person’s preference is not another’s law.

  45. Amanda says:

    You know what? 99% of the time when I am wearing a cardigan, I am not trying to be stylish. I’m trying to stay warm. If someone feels that “ruins” my outfit, they can shove it. I’ll take warm and comfy over cold and fashionable, thanks.

  46. Kate says:

    Honestly, I hate cardigans. Just something about them really puts me off. About the only thing I hate more is denim jackets (sorry!!)
    You know what’s pretty great though? Convertible skirts, worn as kimonos. They’re so flowy and comfortable – it feels like you’re wearing a blanket outside, but actually you look like an ancient goddess.

  47. Catherine says:

    I think a cardigan that is intentionally part of the outfit and accessorized can look nice. However, so many cardigans are just tossed on as an afterthought when someone is cold and they make an outfit look blah and sloppy.

  48. Faith R says:

    Noooooooo! I wear cardigans and sweaters all of the time. I realize that it totally earases whatever good spots I have left to my figure but I feel covered and that’s important to me. Maybe I need to step out of my comfort zone a little more often. Your jacket looks SO cute!

  49. Anne-Marie says:

    Agree Agree! I could not agree more with your post! I feel like I’ve come out of the matrix and realized that cardigans should just generally not be worn over dresses. Cardigans with jean? Fine. Fitted and tucked into a high-waisted skirt? Fine. With dresses, thought they almost always completely ruin the silhouette of the dress, detract from any style the outfit had before, and add about 10 years of age and librarian status to the wearer. When I realized this I started trying to find an alternative, as I also tend to get cold. Thank you for confirming that I am not alone in this realization!

  50. Melwyk says:

    Hmm. I love my cardigans – have about 25 different styles and colours that I use a lot. But I also have some knit blazers that work wonders. I agree that everyone needs to find the silhouette that works for their body type – and that throwing something on at the last second that hasn’t been thought of as part of the outfit can make you look sloppier or more uncoordinated, but the right cardie can be great.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.