Ask Belle: Essential Cardigans
Oct 17, 2011
Hi Belle,I appreciated your recent post on the three scarves everyone should own. I am cleaning out my closet full of cardigans and wondering what are the cardigans everyone should own? Thank you for your help!Best,Paige
Cardigans are a Washington, D.C. staple. Maybe too much of one, but more on that later. It’s easy to stockpile cardigans in different shapes, lengths, textures and styles, but which ones do you really need?
In my view, every woman should have a long v-neck cardigan, a mid-length crewneck cardigan and a draped cardigan. All of these cardigans can be worn casually or with a professional ensemble. They look equally good with denim and boots as they do over dresses and heels. You can belt them or leave them free, dealer’s choice.
If you already own all three of these, I would recommend a printed or striped cardigan, a jacket cardigan and a chunky knit cardigan. But let’s go back to what I was saying above, the women of D.C. are wearing too many cardigans.
I love a cardigan as much as the next woman. They’re versatile, warm and add pop when colored, printed or sequined. However, if you work in a professional environment (esp. the Hill or K Street), and you are wearing cardigans more than blazers, you need to evaluate your wardrobe.
Wearing cardigans in equal measure with suit jackets and blazers is fine. But I know staffers who wear cardigans four days per week and blazers only sporadically. While a cardigan pulls an outfit together, it is not as professional as a blazer. So take a minute to think about how often you’re wearing cardigans and if your office is the kind of place where stepping it up a notch could be beneficial to you professionally.
Remember, dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.