How to carry off a cardigan with style

Lynnette Peck / 14 October 2015

Stay warm and modish without losing style points with our guide to cardigans.



From Steve McQueen to Gary Cooper, the cardigan is an essential part of a fashion wardrobe. It’s suitable for all seasons and can look both casual and smart.

Cardigans also work because you can wear something underneath them.

When it comes to dressing and fashion, confidence is key. If you think you can pull off a cardigan then you can.

10 ways to wear a cardigan

  1. Wear under a sports jacket in winter for some extra but stylish layering.

  2. Wear over a shirt and tie for a smart lunch – this ensures you don’t look as if you are in an office.

  3. For a more creative look team a cardigan with a shirt and bow tie rather than a necktie.

  4. Ensure both the shirt and cardigan are snug fitting, so keep the fabrics thinner – the layers must not appear bulky otherwise you will too.

  5. Wear with straight leg dark navy jeans for weekend plans and a more flattering streamlined look.

  6. Wear your cardigan open like a jacket over a smart polo shirt.

  7. Ensure your cardigan tapers at the waist to flatter and flatten the tum.

  8. Experiment with textures and patterns such as Fair Isle, Nordic, Aran, stripes, houndstooth, ribbed, knitted and Argyle.

  9. Play with colours such as grey, taupe, dark pink, burgundy and more – cardigans do not always have to be black or blue.

  10. Never fasten the last button on the cardigan as it can look uptight. Instead fasten the top buttons and leave the last one or two undone.

What the fashion expert says about men’s cardigans

Fashion stylist Wendy Rigg, who has worked in fashion for five decades, says: “As long as you use a style icon for inspiration, I think men of a certain age can look super sexy in a cardigan.

“Think Michael Caine in the Sixties if you want to rock a lightweight style with a cardigan over a shirt and tie. And, if you’re after a more rugged look, take a look at Starsky of Starsky & Hutch!

“I'm not suggesting you go for the exact copy - but the weight of the wool is a good starting point. Layer it over a roll neck and denim shirt for a casual Sunday and you will look cosy.

“Other stylish men of note who have worked the cardigan are Dirk Bogarde, Gary Cooper, Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck and Benedict Cumberbatch. I say bring it back and have fun with this style statement.”

Top five cardigans to buy this autumn

  1. Fred Perry Grey knitted logo cardigan, £95. Find it at www.debenhams.com

  2. Jack & Jones Zip Through Knitted Cardigan, £36. Find it at houseoffraser.co.uk

  3. Beams Plus Slim-Fit Mélange Wool Cardigan, £120. Find it at mrporter.com

  4. Men 100% Cashmere V Neck Cardigan, £99.90. Find it at uniqlo.com

  5. Goodsouls Mens Jersey Shawl Cardigan, £31. Find it at www.littlewoods.com

Note: Prices and web addresses correct at the time of publication.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.