How To Style Your Favorite Summer Cardigan

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When you hear the word "cardigan," you probably think of the Taylor Swift song and your favorite winter wardrobe staple. As this summer season approaches, however, that may change. We're anticipating that your view of when to wear a cardigan just might get a little bit bigger. The summer cardigan has always been an option, but this time around, we're going to let this beloved clothing piece make our entire warm weather wardrobes into a whole new world.

According to Vogue, the summer cardigan is not just an option; it's also a very versatile one. There are so many ways to take your favorite cardigans into the winter months. In fact, you may even want to invest in a few options that will just serve you in the spring and summer. From lighter weight choices to colorful, springy prints, summer cardigans aren't like the ones you're used to sporting on cold winter days. If you're ready for a wardrobe staple that can act as a layering piece, a coverup, an accessory, a piece that takes you from day to night, or even something to rock on the beach, the summer cardigan is here just in time, and we've got all the ways to make it your own.

Beach coverup

A day at the beach makes plenty of peoples' summer season bucket lists, and some of us are already daydreaming about what we'll be wearing by the sea and the sand. If you're planning on sporting a bathing suit, you know that the perfect coverup is just as vital as the suit, itself. Throwing a lightweight cardigan on over your swimsuit or even with a pair of shorts, a tank top, and some sandals makes for the perfect low maintenance look that lets you adapt from hot afternoon sun to cool evening breeze. 

Cardi Co-ord

Matching sets are always a great way to look put together while also having an updated vibe. As matching sets have become more popular, there are more and more options to choose from. We love this coordinated cardigan and skirt set paired with sandals and a top knot for a warm evening out to dinner. Still, there are plenty of other kinds of matching sets with cardigans that will look chic all summer, from this adorable crop top and cardigan set to this super cool striped cardigan and shorts set


Longline cardigans are a great way to add layers, interest, and a bit of length to a short hemline. Layering a long cardigan over a minidress, skirt, or pair of short shorts can elongate your silhouette while also giving you the ability to cover up a bit more skin if you step into a store where the A/C is on full blast or hate the feeling of your bare legs on a cold chair. Investing in a lightweight, neutral longline cardigan, like this one, will give you something to throw on whenever you need it. 

Lightweight and layered

There are plenty of longline cardigans out there that are extra lightweight or even sheer, like this one from Amazon. Flowy, loose, layered looks are always perfectly fitting for easy breezy summer days. We love the idea of layering a lightweight, oversized cardigan over a flowy maxi dress or throwing one on with a midi skirt and a fitted t-shirt for a flawlessly effortless look that can handle any activity your summer day may throw at you. 

Cropped and tied

Tie front cardigans have been on-trend over the course of the past season, so grabbing a short sleeved version is the perfect way to transition into the warmer months. Tie your cardigan over a cami, a cute bralette, or even your bathing suit on the way to the pool. This type of cardigan is perfect with a lightweight maxi skirt, comfy wide leg pants, or even your favorite jeans. This option from SweatyRocks is super cute and neutral enough to go with so many different options on the bottom. 

Layered over a sundress

Few articles of clothing scream 'summertime' quite like a sundress. The sundress is an effortless warm weather staple. Whether you like your sundresses mini or maxi, with comfy white sneakers, strappy sandals, or a chunky boot, the sundress is as versatile as it is comfortable. Adding a cardigan to your sundress is a great way to up its versatility even further. Not only does this allow you to take your sundress from day to night, but it can make your ensemble a bit more sophisticated. 


The great philosopher, Spongebob Squarepants, once said, "the best time to wear a striped sweater is all the time." He was right about that, and that includes summertime. There's something so chic about a bold striped cardigan paired with a flowy midi skirt, a pair of lightweight, easy pants, or even some jean shorts. Consider keeping your favorite striped cardi out as the weather warms up, and wear it with rolled up sleeves, a high ponytail, and a pair of sneakers all summer long. 


Crochet dresses will be one of the biggest dress trends this spring and summer season. We have a feeling that the love for this super textured, fun, and vibrant look will go far past dresses, as well. Crochet adds tons of unexpected interest to an outfit. Investing in a crochet cardigan can give you the tool to revamp even your most basic, easiest summer outfit. Whether you opt for something longline and colorful or cropped and more neutral, these cardigans add lots of texture and plenty of welcome Y2K vibes. 

Extreme cropped cardigan

Fans of HBO's "The White Lotus" certainly weren't fans of the entirety of Haley Lu Richardson's wardrobe. That said, her character, Portia, rocked an eclectic Gen-Z-inspired wardrobe like no one else. You may have noticed that extreme cropped long sleeve t-shirts and sweaters have been trending as of late. This is one trend that really works all year round as Portia proved by layering hers over a bikini top. Whether you're as daring as Portia or not, try an extreme crop top over a cropped tee or even a dress for a fashion-forward look. 

Cardigans as tops

If you have a super-cute, lightweight, patterned cardigan, consider making it less of an afterthought and more of a focal point of your 'fit. We're used to layering our cardigans on top of our outfits, but button-up sweaters can act as tops, as well. Button your cardigan up all the way, and tuck it into a mini or maxi skirt, your favorite shorts, or a pair of lightweight, flow-y pants. This is such a cute, put together look, and it gives you a way to repurpose an item that you usually use exclusively for layering. 

Slouchy and tucked

While fitted cardigans look surprisingly adorable when tucked into a waistband, slouchy cardigans can look just as cool and give off a totally different vibe. We know that cardigans are more than a layering piece, and a slouchy, oversized button-down cardigan –– especially one with short sleeves, like this one from Amazon is a great option. Buttoning it all the way up and tucking it into a skirt or half-tucking it into some wide leg pants can be sophisticated and unexpected. 

Monochrome moment

Pastels and light neutrals are the perfect spring and summer palettes. Consider rocking a monochrome moment in a light color palette by perfectly matching a cardigan to your favorite top or dress. As we enter the warmer months, opting for pastels or even white is a great way to pull off the monochrome fashion trend that's been all-the-rage for the past few seasons. We love the idea of pairing a bright white cardigan with a white sundress for the ultimate post-Memorial Day look. 

Say 'summer' with prints

If you love the idea of a summer cardigan but want to make sure your ensemble is embracing the season, why not go for a print that could never be confused with fall or winter? There's something so fresh and fun about a cardigan with a summery print, like this adorable daisy-covered option. You can throw your printed cardigan over a solid dress, or just use it as a way to spice up a plain tee and some flowy pants. 


Per Marie Claire, florals and femininity have graced the runways in preparation for the spring and summer seasons. Like the crochet trend, embroidery is becoming a popular way to add prints to your ensemble, as well. An embroidered cardigan with flowers or fruits paired with a pair of shorts and some white sneakers is such a cute way to add whimsy and detail to your summer wardrobe. We can't get over this strawberry one from HOULENGS; with a white tennis skirt, sneakers, and a red lip, it's definitely our dream Harry Styles concert look

Off your shoulders

Sometimes sporting a summer cardigan isn't actually about the cardigan you wear; it's how you wear it. When it comes to throwing a cardigan on top of your summer outfit, a slouchy look is key. Wearing your cardigan around your arms and off your shoulders is a great way to add a bit of detail and extra coverage to your ensemble without looking or feeling too heavy or bundled up for a day in the sun or a warm summer evening. 

Over the shoulders

If you're a fan of the idea of having a cardigan with you but not wearing it at all times, consider throwing it over your shoulders. This look is no longer exclusively worn by dads on the golf course. These days, it's a chic way to add a layer and keep your cardigan with you without having to carry it or wear it the whole time you're out and about. We love the way this over-the-shoulder cardigan completes this clean, monochromatic look. 

Chunky cardigans with simple silhouettes

While lightweight layers may be an easier way to work a cardigan into your summer wardrobe, you might not want to pack all your chunky knits away just yet. If you're sporting a simple outfit with a sleek silhouette, a chunky cardigan can give your look an uncomplicated and comfy vibe. Pair a cami or bralette with a pair of shorts and keep your cardigan only on one shoulder. This way, your outfit will give you major cool girl vibes and keep you comfortable at the same time.

Oversized layers

It may be counterintuitive to wear oversized layers when it's hot outside, but when done right, this takes cute boho fashion to a whole new level. Invest in a fitted cardigan in a few sizes too big for you. It'll look and feel cozy while giving the effortless, easy vibes we all want while running errands or taking walks through the park in the summertime. Throw your oversized cardigan over a floral maxi dress, and pair it with a big bag and some booties for the ultimate summertime shopping look. 

Cover up for daytime

From crop tops to bralettes, short shorts to minidresses, we all love showing skin in the summer. Still, loving an outfit that leaves little to the imagination and wearing that outfit all day long are two different things. If you want to pair a bralette with some short shorts or rock your most revealing sundress, throwing a cardigan on top can make the ensemble more comfortable and easy to wear all day. It can also give you a way to take an outfit from day to night by simply removing your layering piece. 

Alter your outfit's vibe

We're used to thinking of cardigans as a way to bundle up, but they can be used as a cute accessory just as much as your favorite bag or a pair of statement shoes. Popping a printed or brightly colored cardigan on can alter your outfit's entire vibe and help you to spice up your basics. Adding chunky black boots and a graphic black and white cardigan to this bright green, form-fitting midi dress helps this summer staple make an edgy fashion statement.