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Best cropped cardigan

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 through multiple seasons. Cropped cardigans can actually be cropped in many different lengths. 

If you’re looking for a cropped cardigan, consider its fabric, color and where you’ll be wearing it. Grace Karin Women's Open-Front Knit Cropped Cardigan is cropped at the waist and is available in a host of colors. 

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, cotton or wool cardigan, since it can keep you warm and comfortable. This style may be bulky and square and depending on the fabric, offering differing levels of breathability. 

If you plan to wear your cardigan in warmer months, look for garments made from jersey, polyester or Spandex. These fabrics are thin enough that your cardigan 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.


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, consider what colors go well together. If you’re going for a monochromatic 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 closure options 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 longer 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


Some cropped cardigans may be designed with pockets for some on-the-go storage. Pockets come in handy if you’re traveling or if you need to put an item somewhere and don’t have a purse around. The size and shape of a pocket should be enough to hold items securely while not detracting from the design and fit of the cardigan. 


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 tightly may draw in the waist for an hourglass fit, while loosely tying it lets the item 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 decent cropped cardigan 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

Grace Karin Women's Open-Front Knit Cropped Cardigan

What you need to know: You can wear this cardigan buttoned or with an open front. 

What you’ll love: It’s designed with a ribbed cuff and hem for durability and comfort. It has a V-neck design and is cropped to around the waist, though this varies depending on the wearer's height. 

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. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cropped cardigan for the money

Zaful Women’s Button-Down Long-Sleeve Cropped Argyle 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 with an argyle pattern.

What you should consider: This cardigan is 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

Urban Coco Women's Button-Down Crewneck Cropped Cardigan

What you need to know: This lightweight cardigan provides breathability in any season. 

What you’ll love: It has a crew neck and features a front button closure for adjustability, depending on the event and the weather. It comes in 15 colors, including apricot, camel, gray and navy blue.

What you should consider: The sizes run slightly small. 

Where to buy: Sold by  Amazon

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Logan DeLoye is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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