When it comes to clothing, the transitional period between summer’s final sunny days and fall’s first chillier weeks can be tricky. But take it from one Miss Taylor Swift: A cardigan can be the answer to all your outfit woes. Perfect to throw on during those slightly cooler days, the best cardigan sweaters for women will provide you with just enough warmth without making you feel overheated. They’re also just as easy to take off should you find yourself getting hot. But first, you’ll have to make some hard choices. Do you want your cardigan to button up? Should it be on the longer or shorter side? And what material is best to ensure it isn’t too itchy or irritating?
Materials to Look for in a Cardigan Sweater for Women
There are plenty of fabrics and yarn that cardigans are available in. Here are a few you should look out for.
Cashmere: This is some of the softest—and most expensive—wool fiber on the market. It comes from the soft undercoat of exotic central Asian goats (or more specifically, inner Mongolian goats), making it incredibly warm; yet lightweight. Blending the fiber with less expensive materials is common, so double-check your cardigan’s label to see if it’s made of 100% pure cashmere.
Wool: Long-lasting and high-quality, wool is the most common material for cardigans—specifically, merino sheep’s wool. Depending on the animal (sheep, goat, rabbit or alpaca), this material can be incredibly soft and last for years to come. While warm, wool can also be itchy, however, so some may prefer a wool blend or need to wear an undershirt.
Synthetic: Yarns such as acrylic, rayon, and polyester are synthetic, making them more affordable, but they may not last as long as the real deal. You’ll often find these materials blended with cotton or wool for a nice balance of price and quality.
Cotton: Though a less commonly used sweater material, cotton is less insulating and more breathable than its animal counterparts, making it good for transitional weather. It’s lightweight, too, so you won’t feel weighed down.
We’ve narrowed down some top-notch options that are both stylish and comfortable: Welcome to your new go-to fall ensemble.
The Best Cardigan Sweaters for Women at a Glance
Best Overall Cardigan: Anthropologie Classic Pointelle Cardigan
Best Boyfriend Cardigan: Madewell Ex-Boyfriend Cardigan Sweater
Best Long Cardigan: Grace Karin Women Open-Front Cardigan
Best Sheet Cardigan: SHEIN Pointelle Knit Cardigan
Best Popcorn Cardigan: Merokeety Chunky Open-Front Sweater
Best Open-Front Cardigan: Lovaru Boho Open Front Cardigan
Best Cardigan with Buttons: Tickled Teal Long-Sleeve Pocket Cardigan
Best Classic Cardigan: a.Jesdani Button-Down Cardigan
Best Zipper Cardigan: Everlane The Chunky Cardigan
Best Animal-Print Cardigan: Ouges Open-Front Cardigan
Best Long Draped Cardigan: Loveappella Draped Tie-Front Cardigan
Best Cozy Cardigan: Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan
Best Oversized Cardigan: Merokeety Oversized Cardigan
Best Office Cardigan: Grace Karin V-Neck Cardigan
Best Floral Cardigan: BB&KK Floral Cardigan
Best Chunky-Knit Cardigan: Merokeety Cable-Knit Cardigan
Most Colorful Cardigan: Anthropologie Colorblocked Eyelash Cardigan
Best Cashmere Cardigan: 360Cashmere Kendall Cardigan
Best Waffle-Knit Cardigan: Splendid Thermal Flight Cardigan Hoodie
Best Wool Cardigan: Allbirds Wool Cardi
Best Ribbed Cardigan: J. Crew V-Neck Cardigan Sweater
Best Cropped Cardigan: LoveShackFancy Frankel Cardigan
Best Layering Cardigan: Lulus Tres Cozy Oversized Cardigan
Best Cotton Cardigan: Free People Tera Cardigan
Best Fancy Cardigan: Show Me Your Mumu Lombardi Faux Fur Long Cardigan
Best Tie-Dye Cardigan: For Love & Lemons Celeste Cardigan
Best Short Cardigan: Billabong Short N Sweet Cardigan Sweater
1. Anthropologie Classic Pointelle Cardigan
Best Overall Cardigan
The pointelle stitching detailing on this little number completely steals the show. Whether you wear it open or buttoned-up, it would look great with a mini skirt and boots for the ultimate fall aesthetic. The fabric is acrylic, polyamide and polyester, which makes it super squishy as well.
2. Madewell Ex-Boyfriend Cardigan Sweater
Best Boyfriend Cardigan
During chilly autumn days, you could reach for your boyfriend’s old cardigan—or you could just wear your own in the form of this Madewell Ex-Boyfriend version. Made of recycled cashmere and merino wool from progessive-care farms, it’s got a nice midweight heft that will be ideal for days that dip below freezing. The dual side pockets are great for storing your chapstick, too.
3. Grace Karin Women Open-Front Cardigan
Best Long Cardigan
With a long length that hits right above the knees, you’ll want to wrap yourself in this stretchy cardigan. Available in nearly 50 (!) colors, it’s made of acrylic and viscose (an affordable alternative to natural silk), making it soft and durable. The hand pockets are a nice touch, too, to help warm your mitts on a chilly fall night.
4. SHEIN Pointelle Knit Cardigan
Best Sheer Cardigan
Who says cardigans can’t have edge? This sheer SHEIN cardigan puts a fun twist on the staple style with a lightweight acrylic with pointelle knitting and sheer sleeves that are slightly see-through. It's also got a nice drop shoulder for the added option of an off-the-arm look.
5. Merokeety Chunky Open-Front Sweater
Best Popcorn Cardigan
This long, loose-fitting sweater is super functional while still being fashionable. Made with 100% polyester that’s been woven into popcorn yarn, it’s got a plush feel with a slight stretch. The light material will be ideal to wear on slighter warmer days, and it’s available in 35 different colors—that means the hardest part about buying it will be choosing your favorite!
6. Lovaru Boho Open Front Cardigan
Best Open-Front Cardigan
Featuring a variety of block patterns, this women’s cardigan will be a welcome addition to your fall wardrobe. It’s made of a semi-synthetic viscose for softness and it’s blended with nylon to increase its durability. It’s lightweight and comfortable, according to reviewers, just note that it does tend to run a little large.
7. Tickled Teal Long-Sleeve Pocket Cardigan
Best Cardigan with Buttons
As the temperature drops, longer lengths become necessary—and this little beauty fits the bill, since it hits right below the kneecap. Better yet, it has buttons all the way down the front that will allow you to better bundle yourself up if you’re shivering while whiling away the hours at your desk.
8. a.Jesdani Button-Down Cardigan
Best Classic Cardigan
You can opt to leave this classic sweater open or button it up for more of a traditional crewneck look. It’s made of a blend of silky viscose and nylon, so it’s plenty plush and won’t fall apart after the first hand washing (this pick is not recommended for the machine).
9. Everlane The Chunky Cardigan
Best Zipper Cardigan
If you have no patience for fiddling around with buttons, this cozy top from Everlane will be your jam. It’s made of 100% organic cotton and can be zipped up for a more casual, sweatshirt-like look. The thick material is super warm but also is sustainably made with a GOTS certification, making it one purchase you won’t regret buying.
10. Ouges Open-Front Cardigan
Best Animal-Print Cardigan
What’s more fierce than a leopard print cardigan? A perfect companion to your black jeans or faux leather leggings, this one is made of a polyester and spandex blend, which Amazon buyers say washes well and gives just the right amount of stretch. It’s available in several other animal prints and solid colors, too, if you’re not exactly a wild child.
11. Loveappella Drape-Tie Front Cardigan
Best Long Draped Cardigan
The long, flowy tie-front hem of this piece allow for a more elegant look than your run-of-the-mill cardigan will afford. It hangs just so with loose fabric that makes it more intriguing and helps to elongate the body (we’re looking at you, fellow short girls). We also enjoy that it can be worn two different ways—tied up or as a regular draped sweater.
12. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan
Best Cozy Cardigan
Barefoot Dreams’ cardigans are popular for a reason. The soft fibers make you feel like you're slipping into a cloud for all-day comfort. The circular silhouette, meanwhile, makes for an über-flattering cut. It’s available in four colors here, and that’s good news, because we can say with confidence that you’re going to want multiple after you put it on for the first time.
13. Merokeety Oversized Cardigan
Best Oversized Cardigan
With an oversized fit and a waffle-knit design, this women’s cardigan is the ultimate cozy accessory. It comes in nearly 20 different fall colors, from mustard to maroon, and will pair well with everything from a graphic tee to a simple tank top. The material is super thick, too, meaning you’ll likely want to live in it during the colder months.
14. Grace Karin V-Neck Cardigan
Best Office Cardigan
Modest and functional, this is the sweater you’ll be reaching for when your office AC threatens to freeze you to death. The V neck doesn’t come down too low, making it a great modest option (particularly when buttoned up) but you can also easily unbutton it for a more casual look. It’s made of viscose and acrylic fabric that can be thrown in the wash for easy cleaning.
15. BB&KK Floral Cardigan
Best Floral Cardigan
This floral style is just the thing to spice up a plain old tee. It’s available in a ton of colors and is made of chiffon, polyester and spandex, which makes it incredibly light and airy. This cardi can even work as a vacation-ready bathing suit coverup!
16. Merokeety Cable-Knit Cardigan
Best Chunky-Knit Cardigan
Large buttons and a cable-knit pattern are at the forefront of this women’s cardigan. Made of acrylic fabric with a loose, boyfriend style, this pick hits at the mid-thigh, making it long enough to cover your shirt.
17. Anthropologie Colorblocked Eyelash Cardigan
Most Colorful Cardigan
This fluffy cardigan is bursting with yellow, lilac and terracotta hues, making it a fun piece to throw on during cold-weather days. It’s made of a super cozy acrylic blend that looks hard to clean but is actually machine washable. It’s also got an open front for easy wear—and removal. Note that it’s one size fits all, however, so it may not be ideal if you’ve got an ultra-petite frame.
18. 360Cashmere Kendall Cardigan
Best Cashmere Cardigan
The soft maple sugar color of this 100 percent cashmere cardigan practically screams fall. The sleeves are slightly long, which makes it extra cozy, and balloon out a bit for an added bit of comfort. There’s also ribbing at the hem and cuffs.
19. Splendid Thermal Flight Cardigan Hoodie
Best Waffle-Knit Cardigan
The texture of this waffle-knit piece adds some extra intrigue to your basic draped cardigan. Made of Pima cotton and modal (a type of rayon that’s made using beech trees) it's warm but not overheating. Customers say it has a ton of stretch while still keeping its shape, and the cutest detail may be the hood at the back, which you can burrow into.
20. Allbirds Wool Cardi
Best Wool Cardigan
People adore Allbirds’ sustainable shoes, but the brand also has an incredible clothing line—including this wool cardigan. Available in four colors, this thick sweater is made entirely of Merino wool, so it’s quite cozy. It’s dry clean only but it has natural-odor reducing properties, meaning you won’t have to wash it too often.
21. J Crew V-Neck Cardigan Sweater
Best Ribbed Cardigan
This ribbed V-neck frames the collarbones well, whether you button it up or leave it open. Made of a mix of cotton and cashmere, it’s one of the softest options on this list, and you can get it in six different hues. It’s also a sustainable choice and crafted in a Fair Trade Certified facility to boot.
22. LoveShackFancy Frankel Cardigan
Best Cropped Cardigan
Between its heavyweight pointelle knit and gorgeous ribbed edges, this cardigan has some exquisite detailing—even the buttons are covered with yarn for a unified look. On the shorter side, it’s more upscale than casual and looks good when opened or closed. The fit is boxy and the fabric is a nylon, cotton and wool blend.
23. Lulus Tres Cozy Oversized Cardigan
Best Layering Cardigan
The swirling design of a cable knit combined with its neutral, dark brown hue makes this cardigan a fall essential. It’s oversized (so as to bury yourself entirely in it), and it’s made entirely of acrylic fabric. Now, where are our knee-high boots and leggings?
24. Free People Tera Cardi
Best Cotton Cardigan
Pair this 100% cotton Free People topper with a pair of high-waisted jeans or trousers for the ultimate casual ensemble. The back of the cardigan is longer but the middle is cropped for an on-trend look. It’s also one of the few 100 percent cotton picks on this list, making it a great eco-friendly option.
25. Show Me Your Mumu Lombardi Faux Fur Long Cardigan
Best Fancy Cardigan
With an extra-long length and faux fur detailing around the collar, this design is an elevated take on an old classic. It’s perfect to dress up a mini dress or slip with for a night. It’s warm, too, and made of viscose, poly and nylon fabric.
26. For Love & Lemons Celeste Cardigan
Best Tie-Dye Cardigan
Tie-dye doesn’t have to be reserved for the summer months—especially when you get a load of how adorable this ombre cardi is. Its hazy pastel hues and acrylic, viscose, nylon and wool blend make for a über-comfy sweater you’ll basically want to live in. Throw it on with some light jeans, and you’ll be ready to go.
27. Billabong Short N Sweet Cardigan Sweater
Best short cardigan
A light pink hue and a soft, fuzzy blend make this short number from Nordstrom especially sweet. The acrylic, nylon, polyester and elastane blend will be cozy without feeling too heavy, and it’s got soft buttons to keep it from being too basic.
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