Wardrobe Essentials – Summer Cardigans

052311
Cardigan – LOFT thin cotton, summer-weight cardigan, size PXXS
Top – H&M t-shirt, XS
ShoesCole Haan
Belt – Vintage

No doubt about it, I’m all about cardigans. No pull-over sweaters for me! Here’s why:

1) Cardigans pack a lot more styling punch per piece. Wear them unbuttoned over a blouse, half buttoned or belted for that flattering “X” shape, or button them all the way to mimic the look of a pull-over.

2) I always find some way to get cold in the summer months, whether it’s entering an icy air-conditioned building, or just sitting in just the right amount of shade. Let me put it this way, I’ve worn sweaters in such humid, tropical locals as Costa Rica and Hawaii! Yes folks, I somehow managed to get cold. So a cardigan is much easier to layer on top of an outfit, or take off if I do eventually get too hot.

3) If you haven’t noticed by now, I have curly hair. Curly hair is a pain in the butt because once curly hair is styled…you can’t touch it! Touch it, and you risk turning into a frizz-monster. So any article of clothing that requires being pulled over my head, and thus, possibly unleashing my hair’s inner frizz-ball is my arch-nemesis.

So now you know why I heart cardigans, and why they’re one of my wardrobe essentials. For summer, I still wear cardigans, I just switch things up a little bit.

 Coral-cardiganColors - When the sun comes out, so do my bright colors! Turquoise, coral and other bright shades come out to play. Sure, I wore them a little bit in fall and winter, but it was usually as a colorful accent to another item, like a tweed jacket. Now it’s their time to shine all on their own. In fact, some cardigans, like the coral one to the left, just feels weird if I wear it in cold weather. For some reason, the color only feels right in spring and summer. Weird, huh?

Fabric weight - I love my cashmere, but that’s one type of cardigan that just won’t work in 90 degree weather (believe me, I tried…and almost gave myself heat stroke in the process). So I put away the cashmere and pull out the light, looser knits for summer. Cottons, silks, and thin wools come out to play instead. In fall and winter, I usually layer these thin knits under blazers and jackets, but during summer, they become the top layers of my outfits.

Ruffle-cardiganSleeve length - My 3/4 sleeve length cardigans don’t get much wear during fall and winter, but get a lot of use during summer. Did you know we release a lot of heat near our wrists? That’s why if we get hot, one of the first things we usually do is push up our sleeves. That’s why 3/4 length cardigans are so great during warm weather. They keep your upper arms and shoulders warm, while still letting your wrists cool off.

Summer Cardigans:
LOFT always has great summer weight, 3/4 sleeve cardigans, like these:
Petite 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Cardigan
Petite Shadow Stripe Cardigan

And, of course, J.Crew has wonderful summery colors, like these:
Jacki Cardigan
Jenna’s Cardigan

More Summer Wardrobe Essentials:
Summer Blazers
Summer Jewelry

Clinton and I say “Thanks for reading!”

052311-clinton

Are you a warm-weather sweater wearer? What’s your go-to summer styles?

Disclosure - Clicking or purchasing through the links in this post may yield commissions for AlterationsNeeded.com. See the Alterations Needed Disclosure for more details.

33 Comments

  • Reply May 23, 2011

    kileen

    i love cardigans too as i find that they're so much more versatile when styling. and Clinton is so cute!

    cute & little

  • Reply May 23, 2011

    SugarNikita

    Love the new haircut! Your puppy is too adorable! And cardigans rule!

  • Reply May 23, 2011

    AubreyOhDang!

    clinton has gotten sooooo soooo big.

    did someone get a haircut lately?

    I thought I only scrunched up my sleeves when I'm hot bc that's the only place that can be shortened; otherwise, i'd wear lots of things off the shoulders. HAHAHAH. jk.

  • Reply May 23, 2011

    Stacey

    I'm a cold person too. I find that cardis are best for removing without causing a scene. Pullovers just make it painfully obvious to everyone around that you are disrobing… how awkward….

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    hypertigur

    I live in cardigans,they are so versatile. I can't think of when I don't reach for a cardigan first. I guess that means it's my go-to outfit as well ;) Of course sometimes I force myself to wear my other clothes (I mean they might get jealous). Heh but yea, I love clinton's expression hehe

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Irene

    I love the blue cardigan with ruffles! Such a fun way to dress up an outfit.

    I actually just sold all of my cardigans because they don't fit anymore. :( They were all too big and slouchy on me. I'm working on rebuilding my wardrobe now. I love reading your blog because it gives me ideas on what to buy.

    By the way, your dog is sooo adorable! :)

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Lydia (Planned Style)

    Love the ruffle one. Too cute. I actually more a blazer person than a cardigan, especially during the summer. My cardis usually make their appearance in the fall and winter. I might give them a try though this year. Your post just inspired me.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews)

    OMG Kelly, Clinton is sooo big!!!!!

    I'm a total cardigan girl too and like you I always manage to be cold! But it can be quite ridiculous how much the air conditioning is blasting in some places!

    I'm actually on the look out for more light weight cotton, longer cardigans in bright colours. I find as I'm getting older I prefer to have my cardigans longer going past my hips and covering up a bit of my butt LOL – I chalk it up to my laziness in not caring about VPL's now :P

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Anonymous

    Thanks for compiling a list of summer cardigan options. Would you mind doing a review of Jenna's cardigan from Jcrew? I've been intrigued by the cropped style but have not found any reviews of it yet.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    simplyvonne

    i love cardigans too! love wearing them over a summer dress. I'm always cold at the office so I own so many of them!

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Elle

    I definitely will start wear lightweight cardigans this summer, it's easy enough to remove and put on. Can't wait to see that loft ruffle cardigan back in more action (I do love it on you)

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Anonymous

    You hit it on the nose – cardigans are pretty much season-less. I wear mine year-round. And just like you, I don't wear the bright ones during the winter/fall. I always have one with me. And if I don't have one with me, I opt for a lightweight shawl/scarf.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Anonymous

    I loooove cardigans too…so easy to throw on. But for summer, I usually wear short-sleeved cardigans so that I'm not all covered up and look more summery! Just bought 3 short-sleeved cardigans from BR factory. Their petites are tiny and fit very well.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @kileen – Seriously! So many more way to wear a cardigan, and I love mixing up the color pairings! Clinton says, "Thank you!".

    @SugarNikita – Thanks! The hair is still settling down from the haircut, so should hopefully look better as time goes on. And, yes, Clinton is adorable & he knows it! ;)

    @AubreyOhDang! Why am I not surprised you're shoulders are sizzling…;)

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @Stacey – LOL! I totally forgot about that part! How about when your undershirt gets yanked up by the sweater as you pull it over your head and you flash everyone your bare belly…ahhhh!

    @hypertigur – Yup! I think in every outfit I've posted, I'm either wearing a cardigan or a jacket. Love 'em!

    @Irene – Oh wow! Closet re-hauls are fun, but expensive! If you live in the US, this weekend, with all the holiday sales, should be great for sweater hunting. If you have a Banana Republic outlet near you, their size pxxs sweaters run pretty small.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @Lydia (Planned Style) – I'm the opposite. I usually wear my cardigans more in the summer than my blazers. But this year I'm going to make more of an effort to wear my summery white & seersuckers ones.

    @Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) – LOL. Oh, VPL…such an issue. Bit of a tangent, but I'm not sure which is worse…VPL, or pants riding up between the cheeks with a thong. I was looking through old posts over the weekend and Clinton was so tiny in his first blog appearances! He looks huge compared to that now.

    @Anonymous – I was a bit curious myself. Supposedly, it's the perfect "dress cardigan". Maybe I can find it in my local J.Crew to give it a try.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @simplyvonne – I own so many too! And I just keep buying them! :P

    @Elle – The LOFT ruffle cardi is so cute! It's starting to get pilly already tho..so sad. :(
    Don't you have one too?

    @Anonymous – Isn't it weird how some colors are just associated with certain seasons in our heads? That coral cardigan just doesn't feel right in fall or winter. I've yet to jump on the shawl bandwagon, but they do seem like a great alternative to lugging a sweater around in the heat. :)

    @Anonymous – Yes! The Banana Republic Factory petite sweaters fit very nice. Hmm…I don't think I own any short sleeve cardigans. It's too much like wearing a knit tee I guess. :P

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    The Little Dust Princess

    hahah Clinton looks so cute/funny with his eyes half closed!

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Anonymous

    From a Ms. girl, you would burn up with even a 3/4 cardigan in the Deep South. It is so humid hot here, it feels like an oven all summer. I only wear a shrug in the summer over a dress to an air conditioned restaurant or church. White HOuse black market has cute shrugs in white & black that are stretchy bolero style I love. YOur Clinton is so big now- Know you adore him! You always look adorable in your clothes and love your style! Bonnie

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    SewPetiteGal

    Your haircut (and Clinton) are so cute! I like the piece about bringing out brighter colors – I am loving coral and turquoise right now!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @The Little Dust Princess – Hehe…he gets sleepy eyes whenever I pick him up. It's like he's ready for nap time.

    @Bonnie – LOL. I don't think myself or my hair would last one day in the Deep South. Us SoCal people are so spoiled!

    @SewPetiteGal – Have you tried coral and turquoise…together? Amazing color combo. :)

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Ledda

    I looove cardigans, I wear them almost every day, right now I'm wearing a short sleeve one in a summery yellow. I like your new haircut, and thanks a lot for the tips on how to make your hair look great. I'll definitely try them.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Ledda

    I looove cardigans, I wear them almost every day, right now I'm wearing a short sleeve one in a summery yellow. I like your new haircut, and thanks a lot for the tips on how to make your hair look great. I'll definitely try them.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Anonymous

    From a Ms. girl, you would burn up with even a 3/4 cardigan in the Deep South. It is so humid hot here, it feels like an oven all summer. I only wear a shrug in the summer over a dress to an air conditioned restaurant or church. White HOuse black market has cute shrugs in white & black that are stretchy bolero style I love. YOur Clinton is so big now- Know you adore him! You always look adorable in your clothes and love your style! Bonnie

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    @simplyvonne – I own so many too! And I just keep buying them! :P

    @Elle – The LOFT ruffle cardi is so cute! It's starting to get pilly already tho..so sad. :(
    Don't you have one too?

    @Anonymous – Isn't it weird how some colors are just associated with certain seasons in our heads? That coral cardigan just doesn't feel right in fall or winter. I've yet to jump on the shawl bandwagon, but they do seem like a great alternative to lugging a sweater around in the heat. :)

    @Anonymous – Yes! The Banana Republic Factory petite sweaters fit very nice. Hmm…I don't think I own any short sleeve cardigans. It's too much like wearing a knit tee I guess. :P

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    simplyvonne

    i love cardigans too! love wearing them over a summer dress. I'm always cold at the office so I own so many of them!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Lydia (Planned Style)

    Love the ruffle one. Too cute. I actually more a blazer person than a cardigan, especially during the summer. My cardis usually make their appearance in the fall and winter. I might give them a try though this year. Your post just inspired me.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    hypertigur

    I live in cardigans,they are so versatile. I can't think of when I don't reach for a cardigan first. I guess that means it's my go-to outfit as well ;) Of course sometimes I force myself to wear my other clothes (I mean they might get jealous). Heh but yea, I love clinton's expression hehe

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Stacey

    I'm a cold person too. I find that cardis are best for removing without causing a scene. Pullovers just make it painfully obvious to everyone around that you are disrobing… how awkward….

  • Reply June 7, 2011

    Velogiant

    I love how you wear cardigans. Thanks for the advice.

  • Reply July 25, 2011

    Amjr

    I recently bought a cardigan from NY&C that is of a mustard yellow and lime green combination. What are some fun summer color combinations that I could wear?

    • Reply July 25, 2011

      Alterations Needed

      Hi Amjr! Hmm…that’s a tough one! Try playing with different shades of turquoise and green. I have a feeling those would be nice matches. You can also still have it look summery with lighter colored neutrals, like light grey.

  • Reply December 26, 2011

    Cammy

    Hi, I just found your blog and I’m really excited. i’m a petite girl in Texas who shares your frustration in finding clothes that fit in a world where the “tiniest” size 00′s fall off. I just got my bachelor’s degree but people always think I”m in high school. I’m also always cold, no matter what season. So, I definitely love the cardigan look. 

    I have a question about your belt. I have to belt basically everything, but I’m getting tired of wearing clunky, regular belts. I want something dainty and small, but I’ve not been able to find any high-waisted belts that fit. I know you said that your belt over the cardigan is vintage, but I was just wondering if you have any tips for finding skinny high-waisted belts for petites these days. The “XS” skinny belts will fit no higher than my low waist on the smallest holes, and the stretchy-clip around ones are too big even before I stretch it.

    Thanks!

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