Best cropped cardigan


The cardigan was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army major general in the Crimean War.

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Which cropped cardigans are best?

Cropped cardigans are a clothing item that never goes out of style, due to their flattering design and the fact that they can be worn throughout multiple seasons. Even though cropped cardigans are assumed to be one length, they can actually be cropped in many different lengths. 

When layered, they can be worn to any event during a season where a light jacket is required. Some people also wear cardigans without layering them in the warmer months. If you’re looking for a cropped cardigan, consider its fabric, color and where you’ll be wearing it. Lovers + Friends Marlene Cardigan has a comfortable fit and heathered fabric for a textural look.

What to know before you buy a cropped cardigan


When purchasing a cropped cardigan, determine the season in which you plan to wear it and if you plan to layer it with other clothing items. If you’re purchasing a cardigan for warmth, choose a knit cardigan or one made with thick cotton, since it can keep you warm and comfortable. This style is usually bulky and square and doesn’t provide much breathability. 

If you plan to wear your cardigan in warmer months, look for garments made from jersey, polyester or Spandex, as this can serve as a shirt rather than a jacket, if desired. If your look requires you to layer clothing, consider layering different fabrics on top of each other so they don’t stick together or create discomfort. 

Eco-focused buyers may want to check the product label or description to make sure the fabric was sustainably sourced to produce the cardigan. 


The color of your cardigan may depend on the season or the event you’re attending. Darker colors such as browns, dark greens and reds are popular in the fall, while lighter colors such as yellow, blush and light blue are more frequently worn in the summer. When layering a cardigan, no matter the season, layer light on dark if you’d like your articles of clothing to stand out. If you’re going for a tonal look, choose garments of a different shade in the same color when layering. 


The occasion on which you’ll wear your cropped cardigan influences the length. If you’re attending an event that’s more formal, choose a cropped cardigan that falls just at the waist and provides options for closure such as a button or a tie. If the event you’re attending is more laid-back, the style or length of the cardigan you wear may not matter. 

Whether you’ll be inside or outside and what season it will be when wearing the cardigan can help you pick the best option. For example, a long knit cropped cardigan can keep you warmer at an outdoor event than an extremely cropped polyester cardigan. 

What to look for in a quality cropped cardigan


A quality cropped cardigan may be designed with pockets for some on-the-go storage without making the garment look bulky or awkward. Pockets come in handy if you’re traveling or if you require placement of an item and don’t have a purse around. The ideal size and shape of a pocket is enough to hold items securely while not detracting from the design and fit of the cardigan. 


The neckline of a cropped cardigan can vary depending on the brand and style. Some cardigans feature adjustable necklines with buttons that rise all the way through the middle of the garment. These items can be a low V-neck or a high neck fit, depending on how you choose to button, zip or tie them. 

Some cardigans only offer buttons that go halfway up the garment, making it a plunge V-neck design by default. This style of neckline can require layering, depending on where you’re wearing the cardigan. Cardigans that tie in the center almost always require a shirt to be layered underneath and don’t provide any adjustability. 

Method of closure

  • Buttons: Cardigans that button have an adjustable neckline and don’t require layering. If a cropped cardigan has many buttons, it’s more adjustable than those that don’t. Buttons are the most versatile form of cardigan closure.  
  • Tie: Cropped cardigans with ties in the center almost always require layering, as there isn’t much support to them. The neckline isn’t adjustable; however, the form is very adjustable. Tying the cardigan tight may draw in the waist for an hourglass fit, while loosely tying it leaves the item to flow for added comfort. 
  • Zipper: This method of closure is less common in women’s sweaters and more common for men. This style also produces an adjustable neckline and is the quickest closure method. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cropped cardigan

A good cropped cardigan typically costs $30-$100, depending on the brand and the material. A lightweight, extra-cropped cardigan costs $30-$50, while a heavy knit cardigan is in the $60-$100 range.

Cropped cardigan FAQ

What’s the best time of year to wear a cardigan? 

A. The best time of year to wear a cardigan depends on the cardigan itself. Cardigans are most popularly worn in the fall for warmth but can be worn in the spring and summer months if a lighter fabric is used. 

What shirts can I layer with a cropped cardigan? 

A. Cropped shirts as well as shirts that can be tucked in are best layered with cropped cardigans. This style of layering provides a slim, form-fitting look to those who wear it. Wearing a longer shirt with a cropped cardigan isn’t as flattering or comfortable. 

What’s the best cropped cardigan to buy?

Top cropped cardigan

Lovers + Friends Marlene Cardigan

Lovers + Friends Marlene Cardigan 

What you need to know: This cardigan features a front button closure for an adjustable neckline and is made with polyester for breathability during wear. 

What you’ll love: It’s designed with a ribbed cuff and hem for durability and comfort, as well as medium weight for multi-seasonal wear. It isn’t overly snug. 

What you should consider: This item requires extra time and care when cleaning. It must be hand-washed and can’t be thrown in the dryer in order to retain its quality. 

Where to buy: Sold by Revolve

Top cropped cardigan for the money

Zaful Women’s Button-Down Long Sleeve Cropped Cardigan

Zaful Women’s Button-Down Long Sleeve Cropped Cardigan 

What you need to know: This cardigan is soft and features ribbed knit fabric for durability and warmth in the colder months while still being breathable. 

What you’ll love: It’s designed with buttons to create an adjustable neckline and comes in various colors. 

What you should consider: This cardigan arrives more cropped than it looks in the photograph. It may not be as comfortable for those who have a larger bust. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Indah Lakme Cardigan

Indah Lakme Cardigan 

What you need to know: This cropped cardigan is made with Spandex, allowing it to stretch and form to the user’s body for comfort. Its lightweight material provides breathability in any season. 

What you’ll love: The fabric is ribbed for lightweight durability and the cardigan sits just at the waist in length. It features a front button closure for adjustability depending on the event and the weather. 

What you should consider: Though depicted in the photograph online, this item is not sold as a set and runs large.  

Where to buy: Sold by Revolve


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

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