FEMAIL reveals how to pull off a cardigan without looking frumpy

The cardigan’s gone sexy! Stylists reveal why knitwear is suddenly the hottest celeb look – and how to wear it without looking frumpy

  • The cardigan has returned, with hoards of stars being spotted sporting the look 
  • Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner have all been seen in knitwear 
  • Cardigan designer Hansine from Switzerland reveals why it’s become trendy
  • UK stylist Susie Hasler advises how to wear the piece without looking frumpy  

The cardigan is making a comeback, with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Katie Holmes and Gigi and Bella Hadid donning the look on a regular basis. 

But what happened to the trend and why has it returned? 

Switzerland-based designer Hansine Johnston and award-winning stylist Susie Hasler, from the UK, have explained exactly why we fell out of love with the cardigan, and more importantly, how to avoid looking frumpy when sporting knitwear this winter. 

They have also revealed where to get this season’s must-have pieces to replicate the best looks from your favourite celebrities. 

Bella Hadid was snapped in Paris going bare with just a mustard sweater covering her top half. She paired the look with a pair of blue mom jeans, leopard print belt and pair of chunky platform shoes. Pictured in September 18, 2018 in Paris

Katie Holmes has also been snapped donning the latest trend in a rather risque look. Pictured hailing a cab on 27 August 2019

What happened to the trend?  

According to Susie, cardigans went out of favour because as they can easily look frumpy, crediting waterfall styles to the downfall of the piece over the last few years. 

‘The buttoned-up, round-neck cardigans can look equally as frumpy, so it’s a look that can be hard to get right. Therefore, women avoid it!’ she explained. 

Hansine added: ‘Perhaps fashion took too much of an androgynous turn at one point. 

‘Cardis were associated with a more minimalistic look, which has less of a mass appeal.’

Why has it come back?  

Hansine says the look is back due to a combination of the 90’s trend and the practical multi-use aspect of a cardigan, that fits in with today’s consumerism.

‘You can wear a cardie so many ways, from shirt style tucked in to a pencil skirt, to belted or over-sized or slouchy,’ she explained. 

‘For example, the cream Hansine cardigan. From being worn over several wedding dresses for summer evening weddings, to one lady who travels with her three-pack for every long haul journey as part of her in flight kit.’ 

‘Our cardigans are often slung over a bikini as well, so the possibilities are endless and make it an all-year round essential wardrobe piece.’   

Model and reality star Kendall Jenner, 23 (pictured), is a huge fan of the trend and was spotted in Los Angeles wearing leather chapped jeans paired with a knitted purple slip and matching cardigan

Supermodel Chrissy Teigen, 33, looked stunning in an over-sized white buttoned up cardigan which she teamed with a pair of snake print knee-high boots, as she was spotted out and about in New York City

Susie feels the cardigan is back in fashion thanks to brands such as Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Versace  – all of whom featured the comfy staples on their Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks. 

‘Cardigans are trendy, fashionable and they make a great transitional piece for when it’s not cold enough outside to warrant wearing winter coats,’ she explained. 

‘They are effortlessly stylish, and thanks to Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, they are now sexy!’

‘Wearing one is the best way to dress down an otherwise too-sexy look. By popping on a cardigan with her leather trousers and heels outfit, Gigi makes her look much more daytime appropriate.’  

Hailey Baldwin (pictured left) and Kaia Gerber (right) have both been seen rocking knitwear. Model Kaia opted for a cropped jumper which she paired with trendy mom jeans, while Hailey wore a typically over-sized camel cardigan 

How to make the cardigan sexy 

One of the biggest qualms about knitwear is how to pull off the trend without looking frumpy, and Hansine advises going for an off-the shoulder aspect to spice up the look. 

‘See Katie Holmes with her famous exposed shoulder and cashmere bra moment,’ she said. ‘There is something very alluring about knitwear with a bronzed exposed shoulder.’

‘Off the shoulder, slouchy, with pretty underwear showing in the case of our signature style. I love it when the underwear matches the tones of the cardie exactly.’ 

Queen of causal wear Kate Beckinsale, 46, (pictured in Los Angeles) is a huge advocate of the cardigan and sports them while running errands, and going shopping

Supermodel Gigi Hadid, 24, is also a fan of the trend and has been seen donning multi-coloured, patterned cardigan while out and about in Milan on 19 September 2019

Susi advises wearing cardigans with more trendy, current pieces and insists avoiding waterfall style cardigans. 

‘To avoid looking grannyish, don’t wear waterfall style cardigans which are no longer on trend,’ she explained. 

‘Don’t be afraid to wear chunky cardigans if you are petite or curvy – but look for V-neck styles that you can wear unbuttoned. 

‘Wear your cardigan with more trendy, current pieces – for example, Mom jeans are trendy and look great with a white tee or vest tucked in, circa Cindy Crawford in the 80s. 

Actress Emma Roberts (pictured left), 28, and model Lottie Moss, 21 (right) have both been pictured in the trend. While Emma used the piece to brighten up her outfit, Lottie opted for an off-the-shoulder look 

‘A chunky cardigan or hip-length cardigan is a great way of layering a vest and jeans outfit. 

‘Alternatively, wear long-line cardigans over the top of a mini skirt, with tights and boots. 

‘The contrast between the mini length and long-line cardigan produces a really stylish look that will keep you cosy and appropriate for daytime.’ 

Where to get the best knitwear this season

To get this season’s must haves, Susi says to look to Topshop and Warehouse who are ‘reigning supreme this season with their cardigan game’. 

While Hansine’s stunning range of mohair cardigans are a perfect, effortless layer to stay warm during winter and are completely sustainably made. 

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