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Which cardigans for women are best?

The cardigan is the best go-to wardrobe piece for in-between weather days. Once you set out to find the single best cardigan for women, you’ll fall in love with several pieces across various brands. One cardigan that stands out is SAOL’s Irish Classic Fit Long Cardigan With Hood due to its high-quality merino wool, charming knit pattern and versatility.

What to know before you buy a cardigan for women

The cardigan has undergone some changes through the years, but the main design remains the same. You don’t have to live in an area with constant cold weather to wear this enduring sweater, but you should consider a few things before you set out to purchase one.


Cardigans provide different levels of warmth. There are very thin cardigans appropriate for climates with warmer weather and very thick, insulated ones that are best for cold weather.

Hem length

Cardigans are available in different hem lengths, some of which include:

  • Cropped styles, which hit above the waist
  • Classic lengths, which come down to the hips
  • Longline cardigans, which rest at the thighs
  • Dusters, which extend to the ankles

A quality cardigan has a hem that rests evenly, regardless of the length of the sweater.


Cardigans are designed to be layered over other various types of clothing. Wearing leggings below a cardigan is one popular trend, especially because women’s leggings are made from form-fitting, stretch fabric and don’t add volume to your body the same way thicker jeans or pants do.

Open-front cardigans vs. button closures

Although cardigans traditionally have front button closures, many styles today have zippers or no closures at all. For this reason, as you shop, consider whether you want to be able to wear your cardigan closed.

What to look for in a quality cardigan

Natural materials

Natural fibers such as wool, cotton and cashmere are best; they retain their structure and color for years. Avoid synthetic yarns such as rayon, polyester and acrylic.

Yarn should be two-ply to prevent frayed edges at the bottom. The color of the yarn should be consistent, vibrant and saturated evenly throughout.

Finished seam edges

Low-quality cardigans are made of different pieces of material that have been cut and sewn together. In contrast, the best cardigans are made from one continuous strand of yarn to create turned, finished edges with less pilling.

Pattern continuity

Make sure patterns look cohesive; avoid unintentionally mismatched or asymmetrical designs. Low-quality cardigans often have problems with continuity, especially at the seams.

How much you can expect to spend on a cardigan for women

Depending on the cardigan’s brand, quality and material, you can expect to pay $50-$400 for a good-quality sweater.

Cardigan for women FAQ

How can you get a good fit with a cardigan?

A. Choose a soft-knit sweater that is more forgiving than those with sharp lines and stiff fabrics. When fastened, cardigans with buttons should sit close to your body so the neckline doesn’t gape if you bend over. Likewise, the fabric should never pull around the buttons or cling to your curves; it should hang naturally without being baggy or shapeless.

How do you tell a casual cardigan from a dress cardigan?

A. In general, the traditional rule is that thick cotton cardigans with patterns are more casual. Conversely, thinner, solid-colored cardigan sweaters are considered to be more formal.

How do you care for a cardigan?

A. Always follow the care label on your garment. Avoid hanging a cardigan. High-quality sweaters should never be tossed in the dryer, either; this will shrink them considerably. For storage, either fold them or roll them up before placing them in a drawer.

What’s the best cardigan for women to buy?

Top cardigan for women

The Classic Fit Long Cardigan with Hood by SAOL

Irish Classic Fit Long Cardigan With Hood

What you need to know: This sweater has a reasonable price, a beautiful pattern layout and a high-quality 100% merino wool composition.

What you’ll love: This cardigan features conveniently placed deep pockets and a length that works well with a variety of outfits. The sweater has a soft feel and hangs beautifully when worn. It’s available in multiple colors and sizes.

What you should consider: The cardigan comes with a hood, which may or may not suit your particular style. It is an open cardigan with no closures.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cardigan for women for the money

Tall Cotton Cable Drifter Cardigan Sweater by Lands’ End

Tall Cotton Cable Drifter Cardigan

What you need to know: This sweater is made of cotton, which gives you all the benefits of natural fiber. This affordable piece is available in several different colors and sizes.

What you’ll love: This cardigan has two main features of classic cardigans: pockets and button closures. It falls nicely when worn buttoned or unbuttoned, and the pockets are perfectly positioned so they don’t interfere with the silhouette of the sweater.

What you should consider: There is no pattern or intricate design, making it a simple, plain representation of a traditional cardigan.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Worth checking out

V-Neck Button Cardigan by Karen Scott

V-Neck Button Cardigan

What you need to know: This cardigan is made with cotton, making it not only soft and durable but also machine-washable.

What you’ll love: Karen Scott has created a thin, versatile cardigan with button closures and a relaxed fit, boasting attractive V-neck and generous sizing.

What you should consider: This cardigan for women is made of cotton mixed with other materials. It does not have pockets.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s


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Sarah Harris writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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