Advice + Ask The Edit

Ask the Editor: Cardigans for Work

Some of you likely remember the days when I responded to reader questions weekly.  Last year, I basically abandoned this practice because the spam coming into the Capitol Hill Style inbox is virtually unconquerable.  500-700 messages a day was just too much to sort through.  But recently, I downloaded a new plug-in that is keeping it manageable.

So let’s answer some reader questions this week.


Fashion question. All my cardigans are j-crew from five years ago. Are those cardigans super dated? Thinking about the thin ones to cover my shoulders when my dress is sleeveless. I considered the mm lafleur ones, but they look a bit too heavy.


The thin, candy-colored cardigans of the mid-2010s are a bit dated.  If you love them, there’s no reason you can’t keep wearing them, but they wouldn’t be considered current.  A lighter weight cardigan in a neutral color looks just fine in the summer months.  But if you’re looking for a way to switch it up, let’s talk about a few styles.

My issue with thin cardigans is that they don’t provide a lot of structure.  And something with a little more weight will look a bit more professional, functioning more like a jacket.

My first choice is always a cardigan with texture.  I love wide knits and chunky weaves.  They look modern and sumptuous no matter the season.

This Banana Republic cardigan is my current favorite.  The airy weave keeps it from being too hot in the summer.  It’s a tad oversized, so if you’re in between sizes, I would size down.  It comes in three wonderful neutrals, and is made with organic cotton.

Another chunky option is the Scotch & Soda sweater or this Goodnight Macaroon sweater.  If you want something that feels more professional, Ted Baker has an easy crewneck cardigan with a chunky weave, and I like this Kors wrap sweater.  Plus-size?  Try this Good American cardigan.

Looking at the MM cardigans, I love their Woolf Jardigan.  It’s made more like a jacket, but has the soft, flexibility of a cardigan.  They are heavier than a cotton cardigan, but I don’t find them hot.  They come in all the neutral colors, and run up to plus-sizes.  I’ve had my black own for three years (?) and with proper care, it still looks new.

I’ve mentioned before that I love my Juliette Sweater Blazer.  It’s a good mid-weight, looks very professional, and wears like iron.  It comes in three neutral colors, runs into plus-sizes, and is great for work.  If you’re on the petite side, J.Crew Factory has a similar sweater jacket that isn’t quite as long.

Have a favorite cardigan to recommend?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  We could all use a new favorite as we head back to the office.




  1. Allison says:

    I love this line. “If you love them, there’s no reason you can’t keep wearing them, but they wouldn’t be considered current.” Keeping space for individuality and personal style.

    July 26, 2021/Reply
  2. Amanda says:

    How do you care for each of these? I’ve migrated to nearly-no dry-clean-only clothing during the pandemic and am not sure I’m ready to add trips to the cleaners back into my routine yet.

    July 26, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Dryel. It’s at home dry cleaning product. If not that delicate cycle, cold, in a wash bag.

      July 27, 2021/Reply
  3. Diane says:

    I would love to see some outfits with the Pink Dune color of the Banana Republic sweater! I like the idea of non-traditional neutral colors!

    July 27, 2021/Reply