The 9 Best Cardigans of 2022

You’re never going to want to take off the Alex Mill Emma Cardigan.

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9 Best Cardigans of 2022

InStyle / Cult Gaia / Alex Mill

I look forward to sweater season all year round. Even during those summer heat waves, I’m thinking about the soft embrace of my favorite cardigan — I look forward to the first crisp night with near-rabid anticipation and dread when it’s finally time to face the music and stow my cozy cardigans for the season. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, either.

Ultimately, I think cardigan season is my favorite time of year because these classic transition pieces evoke feelings of comfort. And many people agree: “I love embracing the soft, cozy change in style as the seasons change,” says Lauren Chan, plus-size model and founder of Henning. Because just about everyone loves cardigans, the options available are seemingly endless (which is both a blessing and a curse). But we took on the major task of finding the best cardigans for every body and budget, so you can have the best sweater season yet. Our list of the best cardigans will help you find one that works for you, whether it be classic or trendy. Though there are nine incredible sweaters that made it on our list, Alex Mill Emma Cardigan really stood out to us with its amazing quality and stunning design. 

Whether you need a new staple or want a standout piece, these are the nine best cardigans of 2022.

Best Overall: Alex Mill Emma Cardigan in Lambswool

Alex Mill Emma Cardigan in Lambswool

Alex Mill

What We Love: The front pockets are a fashionable and functional feature. 

What We Don’t Love: The thicker wool is not suited for hotter climates. 

If I could dream up the perfect cardigan, it would be the Alex Mill Emma Cardigan. Like a giant warm hug, this cardigan is made of 80 percent lambswool, making it perfect for those colder days when you’re looking for something to beat the chill of fall or winter. Whether you prefer neutrals or like to add a pop of color to your wardrobe, you have options with this cardigan because it comes in three classic colors — oatmeal, paprika, and navy. The additional front pockets add depth to the simple design and are a great place to keep your hands warm on a brisk walk. Plus, its thicker material gives structure to the cardigan, ensuring that your sweater won’t lose its shape over the years. And since it's a traditional design, it will be a timeless staple in your wardrobe. 

Price at time of publish: $165

Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Lambswool, Nylon | Fit: Oversized 

Best Budget: Target Women’s Button Front Cardigan

Target Women’s Button Front Cardigan

Target

What We Love: There are seven different colors to choose from. 

What We Don’t Love: It pills more easily than other cardigans on this list. 

If you’re in pursuit of an affordable cardigan, look no further. This one from Target is cozy and fashion-forward without an insane price tag. With seven color options, an amazing price, and a practical design, you'll want to throw this on with everything. Style it over a dress, or pair it with your favorite workout set when you’re on the go. However you choose to style your cardigan, it will go great with anything. Be thoughtful when it comes time to clean it, though — you may want to get it dry cleaned as opposed to machine washing, otherwise, it can begin to pill. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Size Range: XS-2XL | Colors: 7 | Material: Polyester | Fit: Relaxed

Best Splurge: Cult Gaia Casella Knit Cardigan

Cult Gaia Casella Knit Cardigan

Cult Gaia

What We Love: The luxury hardwear adds an elevated twist on your classic cardigan. 

What We Don’t Love: The hardware is a bit tough to unhook.

When I first saw the price tag on this cardigan, my jaw hit the floor. But after falling in love with the fit and gold embellishments, I decided to bite the bullet and am so glad I did. This cardigan is definitely worth the price tag. Known for their unique silhouettes and art-inspired pieces, Cult Gaia has transformed the boring cardigan into a masterpiece. Available in three different colors (pine, off-white, and jaipur), this cardigan is extremely flattering. The slight balloon sleeves that cuff at the wrist and the oversized yet cropped fit give it a stunning silhouette that exudes a nonchalant glamor. Not to mention, the luxe gold hardware is a lavish detail that adds a fun flare. Wear the cardigan underneath a top or bralette or go bare and show some skin. Note: You can also wear this cardigan open, although I did find it difficult to unclasp the links at first. 

Price at time of publish: $448 

Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Wool, Acrylic, Polyester, Nylon | Fit: Cropped, Oversized

Best Plus-Size: Madewell Shawl-Collar Cardigan Sweater

Madewell Shawl-Collar Cardigan Sweater

Madewell

What We Love: The cozy material and chunky fit keeps you comfortable and warm. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish it came with buttons. 

The best types of cardigans are ones that feel like you’re wrapped in a blanket. Once you put this one from Madewell on, you’re never going to want to take it off. Made of yummy yarn material, this sweater feels cozy without sacrificing style. Whether you’re lounging at home or running errands around town, this praline-colored cardigan will suit all of your fall and winter needs. We love its oversized fit and pocket additions, but we do wish that it came with some type of closure, just in case you wanted to stay bundled. Fortunately, you can pair it with a coat for some added warmth. 

Price at time of publish: $138

Size Range: 1X-4X | Colors: 1 | Material: Recycled acrylic and polyamide | Fit: Oversized

Best Updated Classic: Mango Metallic Yarn Tweed Cardigan

Mango Metallic Yarn Tweed Cardigan

Mango

What We Love: This metallic number dresses up any look. 

What We Don’t Love: This cardigan is a bit dressy for everyday wear. 

Looking to amp up the drama? Mango’s Metallic Yarn Tweed Cardigan is the glammed-up remix of your everyday cardigan. Intertwined with metallic thread and tweed, this sweater blends functionality with flare. Perfect for the office, a night out, or anytime you’re looking to enhance an outfit, this cardigan will become a go-to (it’s quickly become a staple in our closet). We love that instead of boring buttons, this cardigan has fun embellishments that secure it closed. While this may be too dressy to wear every day for some, there are no rules when it comes to styling this statement piece — dress up your basic white tank and jeans by throwing this on top, or add a special touch to your LBD. The options are truly endless.

Price at time of publish: $100

Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: 1 | Material: Tweed, Metallic Thread | Fit: Relaxed

Best Oversized: Urban Outfitters Thea Fuzzy Cardigan

Urban Outfitters Thea Fuzzy Cardigan

Urban Outfitters

What We Love: This cardigan feels soft and cozy — like your favorite blanket. 

What We Don’t Love: Although it’s an oversized style, we do recommend sizing down. 

Urban Outfitters Thea Fuzzy Cardigan is the type of cozy, oversized sweater you dream about. It’s the full package: It has the perfect amount of give, balloon-like sleeves, and a comfortable oversized fit. Plus, it comes in a variety of different colors (including a fun orange flame pattern and a soft sky blue), so there’s something for everyone. We may be biased, but we think oversized cardigans are the best because you’re essentially wearing a wearable blanket (and who doesn’t want that on a cold, dreary day?). While the oversized fit is part of the appeal, we do recommend sizing down as this style tends to run large.

Price at time of publish: $69

Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: 9 | Material: Nylon | Fit: Oversized

Best Fitted: Sanctuary Play It Cool Ribbed Cardigan

Sanctuary Play It Cool Ribbed Cardigan

Macy's

What We Love: The stretchy fabric fits comfortably across silhouettes. 

What We Don’t Love: This cardigan has to be hand washed. 

If you often feel overwhelmed by oversized pieces, a slim-fitting cardigan is the better route for you. Sanctuary’s ribbed cardigan highlights your body’s natural curves while also hugging you in. The contouring sweater comes in three colors (spice, oat milk, and black), each of which is essential for every cold-weather wardrobe. The cardigan pairs well with wide-leg trousers or your favorite jeans, making it suitable for both the office and chill days at home. Plus, thanks to the V-neck design, you can add some fun chunky necklaces to spice up your look. Just be cautious when washing as it needs to be hand washed for it to maintain its shape and last for years to come. 

Price at time of publish: $50 (originally $99) 

Size Range: S-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Viscose, Nylon | Fit: Fitted

Best Workwear: Everlane Cotton Chore Sweater Jacket

Everlane Cotton Chore Sweater Jacket

Everlane

What We Love: This cardigan wears well layered over blouses, turtlenecks, tanks, and everything in between. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish it came in a brighter hue for those that love color. 

Getting dressed for work doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Everlane Cotton Chore Sweater Jacket is the ultimate cardigan to complete your office look. Made of organic cotton, the relaxed fit lays nicely over your favorite blouse or turtleneck. The sophisticated design is work appropriate but also feels comfy enough to be your favorite blanket (your secret is safe with us). The cardigan comes in three classic colors (canvas, black, trench coat khaki), but we do wish there was a brighter option for those looking for a pop. 

Price at time of publish: $125

Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Organic cotton | Fit: Relaxed

Best Organic Cotton: Reformation Elke Cotton Cardigan

Reformation Elke Cotton Cardigan

Reformation

What We Love: This cardigan is bra friendly, so you don’t have to worry about any straps showing.  

What We Don’t Love: It’s dry clean only. 

Nothing is as timeless as this classic, slouchy cardigan. This one features a traditional array of buttons down the front and pairs perfectly with your favorite white tee and jeans. One great thing about this pick is that it will surpass any trend cycle, so you’ll be able to wear it in the heap of fall and over a mini dress in the spring. Beyond the style aspects, it’s made from organic cotton — and since Reformation is known for its environmental efforts and sustainability practices, you can feel confident in your purchase. The only downfall is that this cardigan is dry clean only, but in doing so, it won’t lose its shape and will last longer. 

Price at time of publish: $178

Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: 3 | Material: Organic cotton | Fit: Relaxed

What to Keep in Mind:

Material

Because cardigans are so varied and versatile, they come in just about every fabric. However, we suggest leaning into cozier fabrics like cotton and wool blends — and our style experts agree. “Cotton cardigans are my go-to on warmer days as opposed to colder days when I opt to wear wool,” says Gen Z fashion expert Lizbeth SanchezReformation Elke Cotton Cardigan is made with organic cotton, making it lighter and more comfortable to wear on those surprisingly warm autumn days. If you want something softer or warmer, Chan suggests opting for a cardigan made from merino wool, alpaca wool, or cashmere. “It’s probably a placebo effect, but the more luxurious it, the cozier it feels,” she says. Our best overall pick, Alex Mill Emma Cardigan in Lambswool, is one of the softest options on our list because it’s made with lambswool (which is often more affordable than cashmere, yet still comparably soft). 

Length

We’ve seen cardigans that give new meaning to the word cropped (hi, Cult Gaia Casella Knit Cardigan), and we’ve seen cardigans that sweep the floor — like so many things in fashion, this is up to personal preference. The majority of the cardigans we selected were either belt-length or hip-length, which are two of the more versatile styles. 

Your Questions, Answered

How do I wash cardigans?

It depends on the fabric. Cardigans that are wool or wool blend need special care (typically, they should be hand washed or dry cleaned) but are usually clearly labeled. Cotton and acrylic cardigans tend to be more durable and can often be machine-washed and line-dried. It may seem excessive at first, but following the care directions on your sweaters will help them last longer and age better. 

How do I style cardigans?

One of the things we love most about cardigans is their ability to look country-club, club-club, and everything in between. They’re just as good at blending in as they are standing out, and many of us like to make them part of our uniform in autumn. Chan says she wears a cardigan most days in the fall and that she “usually wear[s] a cardigan with either a) only a bra underneath, a pair of lived-in jeans, and loafers or b) with a tonal tank top, sweatpants, and sneakers.” 

If basics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of cardigan statement pieces (like the Mango Metallic Yarn Tweed Cardigan), which fashion influencer Yolande Macon enjoys. Unique details like metallic fabric, fur, or bold colors make your sweater stand out. If you’re looking for a way to wear your statement piece, try leaning into the color — matching the rest of your outfit with it, or letting it shine by keeping the rest of your pieces basic (you can’t go wrong with pairing a cardigan with a simple black dress). 

Sanchez falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to styling cardigans. “My favorite ways to style a cardigan is by pairing a mid-length or short cardigan with a dress or skirt during the colder months or by elevating a casual top and pants with an oversized knit cardigan. I've started to experiment with wearing bralettes and crop tops under short button-up cardigans to keep it fun and flirty.” 

Why Shop With Us

Isabel Mader is a freelance writer, editor, and professional with ten years of experience in the field. She joined the Instyle team this year and uses her love of high-quality beauty and home products and her appreciation of practical fashion to write for the commerce department. For this piece, she pined over hundreds of trending and classic cardigans to find the most stylish and comfortable ones available. She also spoke with style experts and influencers Lauren ChanYolande Macon, and Lizbeth Sanchez for advice on styling cardigans.

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