Belle Answers Her Own Cardi Question

In the decade since I graduated from college, I’d forgotten how unbelievably cold school buildings are.  It was so cold in the law school yesterday that even the Crypt Keeper would have reached for a sweater.  Changes to my summer wardrobe need to be made before hypothermia sets in.

When I worked on Capitol Hill, I used to keep a heating pad in my desk.  When I got cold, regardless of season, I would just plug it in and lay it on my chair.  The heat from the pad would warm the blood as it passed through the veins and arteries in my legs and I’d be perfectly toasty all day long.  Sadly, carrying a heating pad around all day is not a law school appropriate solution.

I guess it’s time to buy some cardigans.  They must be neutral in color, soft in material and have the ability to be thrown over everything from jersey dresses to jeans.  And since I plan on wearing them only in the school building, they need to be on the less expensive side.


BR Mixed Rib Cardi ($89) // Velvet Slub Cardigan ($79) // Ann Taylor Grosgrain Cardi ($49)

I decided that an open front cardigan with a fairly generous drape would be my look of choice.  That way I can wrap it around myself like a blanket.  I love this chunky knit from Banana, the length and drape are exactly what I’m looking for.  This Aran edge-to-edge cardigan from Asos also has a nice chunky knit to it.  And I like this $25 cardi from H&M that comes in several neutral hues.

Plus-size?  This chunky knit longline cardigan from Asos is cool, and I like the shape on this Allen Allen cardigan.

Since knits can get a little itchy even under the best circumstances, the next two choices are made of jersey.  This Velvet cardigan looks like a good basic, and this Ann Taylor cardi is super cute in stripes.  This pima-lined cardigan from Ever After looks sublime.  I also like this long Lauretta cardigan from Anthropologie (also in petites).  And it looks like Athleta sells a great jersey wrap as well.

Plus-size ladies should check out Land’s End or Modcloth.  Petites should visit Ann Taylor.



  1. AC says:

    Belle – Will caridgans work as a stand in for a jacket in less formal dressing professional offfices?

    June 5, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I generally prefer something with more structure, but you can wear a cardigan. I would choose something slim cut like the J.Crew jackie cardigan though if you’re looking for a jacket stand in. With a knit, draped one, you need a belt.

      June 5, 2014/Reply
  2. Mo says:

    I own and love the BR mixed-knit cardi. I usually shy away from open-front cardigans as they tend to hide my figure but this one is very flattering.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  3. KC says:

    I got a great open-front cardigan at Nordstrom Rack recently. It was something between jersey and a sweater, maybe a fine-gauge knit. The price was right and they had it well stocked in dozens of colors

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  4. catlady says:

    To reference back to your JNY post and discussion of brands with boring reputations that deserve a second look, check out Lands End for inexpensive cardigans. I have a drape cardigan from there that I’ve been wearing for years. In a similar vein, LL Bean isn’t bad either.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  5. Jen says:

    I know what you mean about grad school classrooms! I swear the air conditioning is on regardless of the season. I have found that Athleta makes fabulous cashmere cardigans! I just bought their long Wanderland wrap in black and the Turya wrap in grey and am quite please with both (they are each on sale for under $80, or else I wouldn’t have purchased them).

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  6. Suzette says:

    I just bought the BR Marled Open Cardigan for a neutral colored office sweater. It’s super soft and a great look for any occasion –

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  7. joyce says:

    This Anthropologie cardigan: has addressed the summer air conditioning issue in my life, and held up really well. It’s survived being used in a cold yoga class, being thrown on a floor and smooshed in a suitcase, and still manages to look nice with everything. I’ve got it in the light gray color.

    June 5, 2014/Reply
  8. Joules says:

    Ugh, nothing is colder than being indoors in the summer. I hate it. Cardis are a must. I do like that H&M one you picked out, but I’d be nervous about it lasting after a few washes.

    Style by Joules

    June 6, 2014/Reply
  9. LC says:

    I suggest Uniqlo – great quality, value and materials. Another cheap favorite would be the Joe Fresh line from J.C. Penney and there’s always a discount code available.

    June 6, 2014/Reply
  10. Monica says:

    I’ve been meaning to send in this same question. I work in a newsroom that is kept at frigid temperatures. Because of the number of computers we can’t plug in space heaters or a heating pad. I’ve been hoping for a post on how to style sweaters/cardigans that doesn’t look ridiculous in the summer months.

    June 7, 2014/Reply