Long fine cardigan – one new item, 5 new outfits

Who among us, over fifties, does not own at least one long cardigan?

I decided to purchase a fine-knit black cardi for the winter but I needed to be sure I could wear it to make several outfits, depending on my day.

As I just have a few clothes with me right now – I’m not in my French home this winter – I’ve pulled together five looks that avoid looking frumpy, using what I have in my closet. I’m thinking you probably have similar items too.

As we all know, the long cardi is not only the comfy friend but also the fastest way to add full-on frump to your wardrobe. So that’s why deciding on a style is important.

I bought this cardi one size larger than my regular size because it has to hang dead straight down the back. I simply have too much to hide round there to have a clingy fine layer on my back and rear.

I hope these quick photos give you a few ideas for styling your own long cardi.

1. Relaxed evening outfit

A good place to start when you’re styling a new item is to see how it looks when there’s just one basic color.

I had a look through the clothes I’ve got with me for my stay in the UK over the next few months and came up with this combo.

I’ve got the black fine-knit long straight cardigan with pockets over a black cotton turtle neck (polo neck) tee shirt and black velvet elastic-waist straight pants and black loafers.

For me the number one reason anyone wears a cardigan that falls below the thigh is to camouflage a large middle.

This black outfit conceals my big tummy quite well. That means I can really relax if I’m out for the evening. Flat shoes help at my age, but this outfit would look good with a heel if you can still wear them.

Choose your boldest jewelry to highlight your face and you’re ready in minutes.

2. Smart day outfit

Staying with the black velvet pants, I’ve added a cream silk shirt. Silk and velvet work well together for day or evening.

If you hate having a centre tuck or a belt at the waist, the long cardigan effectively slices off the sides of your mid-section so there’s no need to highlight your centre if you don’t wish to.

The pale color draws the eye up to your top third detracting from your hips. Hurray! You’ll get the same effect with a brightly-patterned shirt. Or, if thinking of an evening look, you could go for a shiny or sparkly top.

3. Lunch in town outfit

More casual than a jacket, but fulfilling the same function, a long cardigan can look smart if you use tone on tone for your outfit. So, rather than looking like you threw on a warm cover-up, you look as if you’ve put some thought into your style.

The white linen top left from my summer capsule wardrobe, brightens up the top of my outfit so the focus is on the face. Add a necklace and/or earrings to double up on this.

Meanwhile the long cardi gives a well-proportioned look with its 50/50 division between dark upper and checked lower halves.

4. Coffee with the girls outfit

Do you remember when we used to drape a long scarf down the open edges of cardigans and jackets?

If you’re meeting up with ‘girls’ of a similar age to yourself this vintage look can be fun.

The long fine-knit cardi had its heyday in the eighties and nineties. I’ve added a Gucci bag I bought back then and found a vintage-look ‘silk’ scarf for 60 cents in a charity shop to put the look together,

5. Casual shopping outfit

My last outfit makes the most of the essentially casual look of a cardi with pockets.

I’m wearing traditional straight jeans and leather trainers. I’ve added a striped boat-neck top for a contemporary easy-to-wear outfit.

The tee shirt is fitted, so can only be worn (by me anyway) as a layer to add interest down the front. Fortunately the long dark cardi camouflages the ‘excess adipose’ which this tee shirt highlights at the sides!

However, it’s important not to wrap the cardi too closesly around yourself, otherwise those rolls get noticed again. So if open is too cold, go for a wool scarf or add thermals beneath your top.

Links to the long cardigan and turtle neck top I bought

Tap on an image below to get sizes and details from the retailer. These are affiliate links and if you purchase I usually get a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

US site

UK site

This post is one of an occasional series of ‘one new item, 5 new outfits’ articles.

Take a look at some others:

The Striped Shirt

Cropped Linen Pants

16 thoughts on “Long fine cardigan – one new item, 5 new outfits

  1. Always a big fan of the long cardi. Now I know that I’ll be wearing my black one with a face brightening top underneath, black leggings and some bling or a bright scarf to a family Christmas party. Timely and thank you! All your outfits look perfectly put together. Now to choose the top , simple! Fun and happy holiday time to you!

  2. You look fantastic in all the outfits you styled today with the long black cardigan! I love your new hairstyle and your makeup choices too! I have several long cardigans and they offer that feeling of comfort and confidence. You’re not the only one who reaches for a flat shoe these days. It is what it is! lol You’re a beautiful lady who shows us how to style for our everyday life. I have very few special occasions anymore but still like to look modern and open to new ideas. Thank you!

  3. A good look, I especially like the same colour combination.

    I am pear shape and petite and although I cannot wear black, I can wear navy, good so far.

    l had forgotten about a long cardigan to hide the hip/thigh area and elongate the body, my mind is whirring, what about red or royal blue, would this work? Mmmmm. I like bright colours in Winter, well most of the time really.

    I have been avoiding trousers because I still carry extra weight in my problem area.

    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Clare. Yes I think a strong bright colour would be really fun for winter. I did the try-on with the type of cardi I reckoned most of us have. But perhaps I should have pushed the boat out a bit. Great idea Clare. HNY Joni

  4. Hi Joni! I’m wearing a long navy cable knit cardigan as I read your blog. I have a long sleeve ivory tee on with navy stripes. My jeans are what is called trouser cut worn long down on the arch of the shoe to cover the wool stripe socks I am wearing with black and white sneakers. They are a wider style but not as wide as wide cut jeans. It has been colder here in Colorado, U.S.A. I am also 5’2” tall and have slowly thickened around my middle even though my weight is 138-140 pounds. I turned 79 yesterday. I like to wear a column of color in navy, brown if it is dark and light blue or cream as you do in your beach walking outfit. My hair was blonde but is mostly white with a few silver streaks in it now. I enjoy your blog to see what a real person is wearing in France and in England. I live in a small rural mountain town so my life is very casual and my clothes reflect the dry cooler weather. My husband Brent and I got a little Havanese 9 year old dog recently. We love her, our cat Molly not so much. Have a Happy Christmas with your daughter and grandchild.

    1. Hi Sydney, Great to hear from you. Your outfit sounds lovely. I find it can get easy to wear the same things day in day out when I’m in a quiet rural area but I push myself to dress mindfully every day, wherever I find myself. You obviously do the same. I really believe what we wear influences our mood and sense of self-esteem. Even if some cold days that sounds a but crackers! HNY. Joni

  5. Once again some great ideas to make a little go a long way. Just one question. Socks? It’s winter and they completely change the look of trousers, particularly ankle grazers. What’s your thinking?

    1. Hi Heather. Socks. I know what you mean. I wear ‘secret socks’ in my trainers all through winter. Obviously with boots I can wear warmer socks. The tricky part is whether to wear socks in shoes with a lower front. I tend to wear a fine sock that continues the colour of my pants. But if it’s not too cold, and I’m wearing ankle grazers, I often revert to the secret sock in cotton. Joni

  6. I enjoy your site & am similar to you in age,body, & hair. I prefer you & myself in straight or slim pants (Macy’s ALFANI skinny & GV Avery slimming jeans- both pullon & a size up.). I wear dark Vionic walking shoes. I use Clairol Natural Instincts 8G on my hair & often pull up the sides in a ponytail & snip an inch or 2 to layer, then use a hot roller on each side. YOUR SITE IS THE MOST REALISTIC SITE I HAVE READ & CAN RELATE TO! I will be using your evening all black cardi outfit soon. Keep sending info about covering up certain areas. Thank you !

    1. Hi Jeannie. Thx so much for the ideas on what works for women our size and age. I am going to look those up. HNY. Joni

  7. Thank you again for representing women of our age ! I have a long cardigan in the back of my closet , now you’ve given me ideas for getting more from my wardrobe.
    I especially like the all black example….very slimming .

    Glad to see you’ve kept your Bob hairstyle , it is very chic .

    Merry Christmas from the Northern US !!🎄

    Peggy Manny

  8. I, too, love a longer cardigan, being a pear shape with “thunder thighs”. You look very slim (and very young-at-heart!) In each of your looks.

    I particularly like the length of this cardigan. It’s long enough to go right over the butt and thighs, but not too long that it would hang below a winter coat. A pear shaped girl’s dream sweater!

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