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Is it Okay to Wear a Cardigan with a Skirt?

A pair of cardigan and a skirt seems imaginable and difficult to pull off. Here are some tips on what type of cardigan and skirts you can perfectly pair.

dress skirt, a hat, and a folded cardigan

I feel suffocated every time I try to force my head through a pullover sweater, so I’m all for cardigans no matter what you wear them with. You may gain inspiration by all the different types of skirts you can pair with sweaters that open in the front.

The Original Cardigan

The above image shows a 1940s style cardigan, so you can see how much they have evolved from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. The original women’s cardigan first became popular in the 1890s and had “puffier” sleeves and tighter wrists than what you see in the above picture.

The original cardigan, however, dates back to James Thomas Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan and British lieutenant general. Historic researcher Robert Powyszynski, Sr. called Brudenell “an arrogant and cantankerous person.”

The Earl of Cardigan’s reputation of arrogance probably started because he spent 10,000 pounds dressing his soldiers every year. I say, at least he had excellent taste. The cardigan sweater remains one of the most versatile clothing articles to date (2022).

The Cardigan Evolution

“All cardigans are sweaters, but not all sweaters are cardigans.”

That’s what the Aklanda Knitwear team says. Simply put, a cardigan usually opens in the front. It’s not about the type of material, whereas you now can find them made from cotton, polyester or cashmere and angora materials instead of wool.

The non-wool fabrics usually irritate the skin less but have that student or businesslike appeal. However, cardigans also work well with most casual skirt ensembles for a night out dining or dancing.

With Pleated Skirts

I like the idea of wearing a cardigan with a pleated skirt, and the button-down sweater shade provides just enough difference to give this layered outfit some texture. Moreover, I like the shape and style of the sweater, including the ends of the sleeves near the wrists and the shape of its collar.

I feel a bit overwhelmed by the type of knit used to make this sweater, however. I would have preferred a finer knit, such as the kind traditionally used for making prep school sweaters or maybe a soft, angora fabric.

After all, the pleats already stand out. Therefore, pairing that skirt with a smoother cardigan knit would achieve a less distracted contrast. 

With Pencil Skirts

A woman wearing black cardigan ang grey pencil skirt leaning on the wall

Long cardigan sweaters can just be so much fun because you can layer them to your heart’s content. Not only that, but they personally help me feel better from my side profile. You can also play with buttoning it up in the middle and leaving the top and bottom buttons open. I think long cardigans work well with pencil skirts if its tail doesn’t extend below the skirt hemline.

With Long Skirts

The above look creates a balance between relaxed and dress-up, and it’s probably professional enough to wear in most business casual settings. Cardigans also seem to provide the perfect accent no matter what you wear and allow you to prepare for fast-changing weather patterns regardless of what season it is.

I do have an alternative suggestion, however. If I want to feel more elegant, I would instead wear the custard-colored KHAITE Scarlet cardigan either with the skirt shown in the above picture or another long print or solid black skirt. With long, flowing skirts, the length of the cardigan usually doesn’t matter, which is why I choose the KHAITE sweater. I also like its sleeves, which have a modified vintage feel.

With Mini-Skirts

A woman wearing pink knitted cardigan in a mini skirt

I see here an interesting take on the “little black dress” idea. This one offers a clean but minimalist look that suits just about any business or social setting. I like the all black with just one piece of white to give it the right brightness level. The challenge, in this case, involves making sure you don’t have a sweater that’s too long. I think a cardigan that extends to just below the waist works well for this outfit.

With an A-Line Skirt (Classic Schoolgirl Uniform)

A navy, black or brown cardigan often pairs well with a skirt made of either plaid or solid-colored flannel. Sometimes, you might see this outfit combined with an ivory, white or cream-colored button-down sweater. It mimics the classic schoolgirl look or the type of dress you would see on the tennis court. Other types of A-line skirts don’t have the pleats but offer a fitted look that conceals any parts of the midsection a person would feel self-conscious about.

So Do Cardigans With Skirts Work?

Most cardigan and skirt ensembles fulfill all casual, educational, semi-formal or business dress codes. Therefore, I think every woman should have at least one skirt and button-down sweater in their wardrobe. I think there’s no better clothing combination for times when you’re not sure what to wear. However, I would recommend wide-legged dress pants if you don’t like skirts.