Stylish Ways To Stay Warm In A Cardigan On Chilly Spring Days

Ah, cardigans. Swifties probably can't hear the term without thinking of Taylor Swift's lyrical prose, and her song about the titular garment does a great job at embodying its comfort — here are a few cropped cardigans that even Swift herself would approve of. Cardigans are great pieces to wear for any season — perfect for layering under or over clothes no matter what the weather calls for. We love cardigans particularly in the spring, though, as they let us toss heavy coats aside in anticipation of budding warm weather. 

In case you couldn't already tell, when it comes to cardigans, we are très obsessed. The cozy sweater comes in endless styles, colors, and fabrics, so you're sure to find one to match any outfit and for any occasion. If you feel as if you've worn out the standard cardigan look, we promise you haven't — cardigans can be fashioned in loads of different ways you've probably never even thought about. Need some cardigan inspo this spring? We'll show you all our favorite cardigan styling hacks to stay warm and stylish during the transitional seasons.

Have a hand-knit one handy

Nothing says cozy like a garment that was lovingly hand-stitched. Fortunately, hand-knit cardigans are abundant, and we recommend snagging one (or making your own!) if you don't have one already. The beauty of handmade pieces is that no two are exactly alike, so you'll have a garment that keeps you warm and lets your unique self shine. Hand-knit cardigans may be easiest to find in solid colors, but with a bit of digging, we bet you can find a fun patterned one, too. 

Find a fuzzy one

If you need some extra warmth on those chillier transitional days, reach for your favorite fuzzy cardigan and you'll be sure not to get cold. You could wear this piece out and about, but we also wouldn't blame you if you reserved it for cozy movie nights with friends and hot chocolate. If it's thick enough, your fuzzy cardigan could probably double as a coat on milder winter days, too.

Sew on some patches

Want to personalize your cardigan? Or just add some pizzazz to it? Decorate it with patches that put your interests on full display. You can sew them anywhere you'd like — we love the front shoulder placement of the patches in the picture above, but you could also use patches to trim your cardigan or deck out the back.

Copy your favorite celeb

If you're not already looking to your favorite celebrities for style inspo, we don't know what you've been doing. The next time you don't know how to wear a piece or just need some ideas, scroll through some celeb Instagram accounts for endless inspiration. Take the above from Selena's account, for example — who would've thought a simple cardigan could look so stylish? Pair yours with a spaghetti strap dress (or shirt) — so simple to style — and some big gold hoops for an effortlessly classy 'fit.

Layer with it

We'd be surprised if you're not already incorporating cardigans in some of the layered outfits you wear during the transitional seasons — this '90s-inspired layering trick will even give them an upgrade. Sometimes, though, even a cardigan alone won't cut it. For some extra warmth, use your cardigan as the middle layer of your ensemble. Wear a heavier jacket over top that you can remove later and a tee-shirt underneath if you're expecting it to warm up. This way, you're sure to be comfy no matter the weather. 

Don one over a dress

We all love dresses, but sometimes they're either not warm enough on their own or they're just too boring without being paired with something. This is where the cardigan can step in and add some visual interest to your dress 'fit with the added bonus of keeping you warm as you go about your day. This is also a great outfit choice for office settings when everyone else seems to like to keep the thermostat a bit cooler than you do.

Thrift a unique one

Another reason we love the cardigan is that it's a timeless garment that's existed for ages. Cardigan styles have seen many iterations over the years, which means you're guaranteed to have a good time if thrifting one. We wouldn't be surprised if you find one in a unique textured print, as seen in the photo above, or even a vintage brand-name one.

Style over a crop top

A crop top-and-shorts combo is a staple outfit for the warm summer months, but sometimes an unexpected chill can instantly ruin an otherwise fun fashion moment. So, the next time you go out in a crop top and shorts, pair it with a cardigan to ward off any wind or unexpected AC you encounter. A heavy cotton knit cardigan, such as the one in the photo above, is great to take into chilly restaurants while you're on your beach vacay, or keep a thinner, breezy one handy when you'll be spending more time outdoors. 

Try one two-toned

Nobody said your cardigans can't play with color, and we're digging the split-toned look as seen in the photo above for any moderately chilly spring days. The particularly great thing about a two-tone cardigan is that it allows for additional options to match with other pieces you already own. Bonus points if you ditch matching altogether and go full fashion anarchy — we're here for it.

Wear with your favorite jeans

While cardigans can be styled an endless number of ways, one of our favorite ways to wear this staple is with a simple tee and a pair of jeans. Cardigans offer the opportunity to make this everyday outfit instantly cozy. Keep it simple with a plain, close-knit cardigan (like the one in the photo above), or elevate your outfit a bit by grabbing one with texture, such as a chunky knit.

Tie it

Make a unique European fashion moment when you tie a cardigan around your shoulders during those transitional months. This is an easy, stylish way to wear a cardigan without really wearing it — when you do get cold, it's easy and accessible to throw on, or you can just wear it around your shoulders for an effortlessly sophisticated look. Dress it down with jeans or up with linen pants.

Choose texture

We don't know about you, but we're obsessed with textured cardigans — they add some stunning visual interest to your ensemble, especially when worn with an otherwise understated outfit, without looking too busy. The texture could be as simple as a large, visible knit, or one with some decorative textured details, as seen in the photo above.

Opt for earthy

Cardigans also offer a fabulous opportunity to play with different color combos. One of our all-time favorite ways to combine colors is by mixing different earth tones together, so the next time you're cardigan shopping, look for one in a soft brown, earthy green, or burnt orange for a bolder option. Wear with other earth-toned pieces in your closet for a down-to-earth look (pun intended). 

Belt it

We get it, friend — you want to show off your shape, and you won't let a baggy cardigan get in your way. But, at the same time, you gotta stay warm somehow. What's a girl to do? Well, we have a simple solution: Grab your favorite cardigan from your closet and throw a belt over it to keep your shape on full display without sacrificing warmth. Bonus points for picking a cardigan in a fun pattern, such as the one seen in the photo above, to draw more attention.

Snag an open knit

Sometimes, you don't really need much warmth; you just want a piece to cover your arms and ward off against any mild chill potential. If this sounds like you, opt for a simple cardigan in an open knit. The open knit will keep you from getting too hot but will keep your temperature just right when the room is a degree or two too cold. Bonus points if it comes with an open-knit hood for extra fashion potential.

Match to your makeup

When you have a colorful cardigan you're pairing with simpler pieces, why not make a whole moment around your cardigan? Let your cardigan stand on its own by wearing it with neutrals, and emphasize it when you match your makeup to whatever color cardigan you're wearing that day. To go the extra mile, try matching your accessories to your cardigan.

Keep it fun, flirty, and floral

Especially when wearing cardigans during those spring transitional months, few patterns are more fun to play with than florals. We're obsessed with the red and green detailing on the one in the photo above — search for a similar one, and then match your main piece of clothing to one of its detail colors. Although we love a textured floral print, nothing's wrong with a floral-patterned cardigan, either.

Go granny

Ever heard of granny squares? This affectionately-named pattern refers to a common square pattern often employed when knitting clothing or blankets. If you're a knitter, create a cardigan with some granny squares to show off your knitting expertise. Alternatively, non-knitters can shop around for a granny square cardigan that you can convince your friends you made yourself. Don't worry, we won't tell.

Get cozy in sherpa

When you're ready to ditch your winter coat, but the cold weather just won't quit, a sherpa cardigan is ready to swoop in to save the day. Super stylish and not nearly as bulky as a traditional winter coat, a sherpa cardigan will keep you warm while you wait on the weather to do so. We're particularly obsessed with the off-white sherpa pictured above, but you can always grab one in black if you're worried about stains from winter weather or a bold color to create your own fashion moment.

Keep it cropped

Last, but certainly not least (in fact, maybe best?), wear a cropped cardigan when it's still chilly with that pair of jeans that fits you like a glove. Cropped cardigans offer plenty of warmth with minimal coverage, making them an unobtrusive option when you want the lower half of your outfit to shine. Of course, a cropped cardigan doesn't have to be simple — find a fun, colorful knit, such as the one pictured above, to make a statement on your top half, too.