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How to Wear a Cardigan to Flatter Your Figure

by Kristin Tice Studeman


Every woman needs a handful of good cardigans in her wardrobe. They’re the ultimate layering piece—perfect for travel, the weekend, the office, and date night. The trick is knowing how to wear a cardigan in a way that best flatters your figure. These tips will take you and your cardigan from office hours to after hours.

If You Want to Create a Waistline . . .

Wear a cropped cardigan that hits just above your hips. The more fitted the cardigan, the more it will play up your waist. Pair it with a sleeveless sheath dress or with a fitted pencil skirt and camisole for the office to create proportion and highlight the smallest part of your waist. (If you’re pregnant, this is also a great way to show off your bump!)

Do you prefer pants? Opt for a black trouser or modern fit pant to draw the eye to the waist, and pair it with a sleeveless shell or a thin, long-sleeve shirt. (Avoid any shirt with bell sleeves or too much volume because it could look bulky under the cardigan.) This look can easily go from work to the weekend if you swap the trousers for bootcut jeans and a tank.

If You Want to Look Taller . . .

A brunette woman stands on a gray background wearing a white outfit and a black duster sweater.

Wear a long cardigan with dark pieces underneath to create the look of one long silhouette. Try going with all black or neutral tones. Rather than highlighting your midsection the way a cropped cardigan will, a duster will play up your legs and shoulders, and give the illusion of length and height. If you’re heading to the office, opt for trouser-cut pants and a long cardigan that has a little more structure. Pair it with a sleek black turtleneck or a tie-neck blouse and pointed-toe pumps for a polished look. If you’re in weekend mode, wear a drapey cardigan with skinny jeans and a T-shirt.

If You Want to Look Curvier . . .

A woman in a floral snap-front cardigan stands against a gray background

Wearing a cardigan with a high neckline buttoned is a great way to instantly boost your bust area. Rock it with a body-skimming dress, or play around with adding volume underneath to create the image of having more shape. For example, a black dress with a flared skirt and a leopard-print cardigan on top will give you the appearance of curves on both the top and bottom while cinching your waist. If you’re extra tall and straight, a wide-leg, high-waisted trouser with a high-neck, printed cardigan can have the same effect.

If You Want to Play Up Your Best Assets . . .

If you’re busty, wear a V-neck cardigan. While crewneck or printed cardigans might accentuate your chest, the V-shaped silhouette naturally brings the eye here. Wear it buttoned up with a V-neck blouse underneath and modern fit trousers or a pencil skirt for the office, or wear it unbuttoned with a V-neck cami and skinny ankle jeans for date night.

If you want to celebrate your curvaceous bottom half, skip a duster and opt for a snap-front cardigan in a neutral color like black or gray. Wear a pencil skirt in a bold, eye-catching color like pink to draw the eye to your booty.

If you know how to wear a cardigan, this where-everywhere wardrobe essential will be your best friend. After all, the right cardigan can help you show off your favorite parts of your body and hide the areas you want to cover up. What more could you want from a friend?

Featured in this article:

Ribbed Duster, $99

Floral Snap Front Cardigan, $79

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