Should I Wear A Cardigan Open Or Buttoned Up?

When it comes to wearing a cardigan, there are different ways to style it depending on the occasion and your personal preference. Here are some tips from various sources:

  • Open cardigan: Wearing an open cardigan creates a casual and laid-back look1. It can be worn as a substitute for a blazer in situations where wearing a blazer would look too formal1. An open cardigan provides less warmth than a buttoned-up cardigan, making it a good layer during in-between weather1.
  • Buttoned-up cardigan: When a cardigan is fully buttoned from top to bottom, it becomes warmer and more structured, making it more formal1. The button-up front makes it easy to put on and take off, which is convenient when the temperature fluctuates2. According to one source, the correct way to wear a cardigan is buttoned all the way up4.
  • Partially buttoned cardigan: Leaving the top button unbuttoned can expose a bit more of a tie, making it a good option for dress purposes when wearing the cardigan under a suit jacket and with a tie1. Leaving a couple of buttons undone at the bottom can create a cool and edgy look3.
  • Button choice: Buttons generally make for the most classic and handsome look2. Toggles can be okay, but create protrusions that make your overall look less sharp2. Zippers are the least traditional and most casual option2.
  • Button etiquette: The middle button should typically be buttoned along with the button below and above2. There’s not really a reason to have the top button undone, but some people think it looks better5. The bottom button should not be secured6.
Should I Wear A Cardigan Open Or Buttoned Up?

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Style and Appearance

Personal preference

When deciding whether to wear a cardigan open or buttoned up, personal preference plays a significant role. The choice between an open or buttoned-up cardigan is ultimately a matter of individual taste and style. Some individuals prefer the relaxed and casual vibe that an open cardigan provides, while others may opt for the sophistication and formality that a buttoned-up cardigan offers. It is crucial to consider personal style and what makes one feel confident and comfortable.


Another crucial factor to consider when deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan is the occasion. Different occasions call for different levels of formality and dress codes. If the event or setting is more formal, such as a business meeting or a professional gathering, wearing a buttoned-up cardigan can convey a sense of sophistication and professionalism. On the other hand, for a casual outing with friends or a laid-back weekend brunch, an open cardigan can provide a relaxed and effortless look.

Body shape

Body shape is yet another aspect to consider when deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. Different styles and fits of cardigans can flatter specific body shapes. If one has an hourglass figure or wants to accentuate their waist, a buttoned-up cardigan can help create a more structured and polished look. Alternatively, an open cardigan can provide added dimension and flow, which can be flattering for individuals with broader shoulders or a rectangular body shape.

Outfit coordination

The choice between an open or buttoned-up cardigan also depends on how one plans to coordinate the cardigan with the rest of their outfit. Buttoned-up cardigans can act as a statement piece, and they can be paired with a complementary blouse or a collared shirt for a more polished and put-together look. On the other hand, open cardigans can be effortlessly layered over a simple t-shirt or a camisole for a casual and relaxed ensemble. The coordination of the cardigan with other clothing items should be taken into consideration to achieve a cohesive and stylish outfit.

Comfort and Convenience


Comfort and convenience are crucial factors to consider when choosing between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. One should consider the temperature and climate they will be in when making their decision. In colder weather, buttoning up the cardigan can provide extra warmth and insulation. On the other hand, in situations with milder temperatures, leaving the cardigan open can help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.

Ease of movement

Another aspect that comes into play when deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan is the ease of movement. If one anticipates a day filled with physical activity or if they simply prefer unrestricted movement, an open cardigan can provide greater flexibility and allow for more comfortable and fluid motion. On the contrary, a buttoned-up cardigan may feel slightly more constricting and limit movement to some extent.

Layering options

The choice between an open or buttoned-up cardigan can also affect the layering options available. An open cardigan can easily be layered over other clothing items, such as t-shirts, blouses, or dresses, creating a trendy and versatile look. Layering allows for adaptability and the ability to adjust one’s outfit throughout the day as the temperature fluctuates. However, a buttoned-up cardigan may limit the possibility of layering, as it is typically worn as an outerwear piece on its own.

Buttoned Up

Sophistication and formality

A buttoned-up cardigan exudes sophistication and formality. By fastening the buttons, one can achieve a polished and put-together look suitable for various formal occasions. Whether attending a business meeting, a professional event, or an upscale dinner, a buttoned-up cardigan can enhance one’s overall appearance by adding a touch of elegance and refinement.

Structured and polished look

The buttoned-up cardigan provides a structured and tailored appearance. It often features a defined silhouette and clean lines, contributing to a polished and professional look. This style of cardigan can help create a more refined and dressier outfit, making it a suitable choice for individuals who prefer a more sophisticated aesthetic.

Versatile styling options

Despite its formal aura, a buttoned-up cardigan can be styled in various ways to suit different occasions and personal preferences. It can be paired with high-waisted trousers or a skirt to create a chic and office-appropriate ensemble. Alternatively, it can be worn over a dress or a blouse for a more feminine and refined look. The versatility of a buttoned-up cardigan lies in its ability to adapt to different outfits, making it a valuable addition to any wardrobe.

Open Cardigan

Relaxed and casual vibe

An open cardigan embodies a relaxed and casual vibe, making it an ideal choice for informal occasions. This style of cardigan conveys a more laid-back and effortless aesthetic, perfect for leisurely outings or casual gatherings. The open front design instantly creates a comfortable and easygoing look.

Added dimension and flow

One of the main advantages of wearing an open cardigan is the added dimension and flow it provides to an outfit. The loose and unstructured silhouette of an open cardigan adds a sense of movement and fluidity, creating a fashionable and relaxed appearance. This can be particularly flattering for individuals who wish to add visual interest and a touch of nonchalant elegance to their ensemble.

Effortless and easygoing styling options

The versatility of an open cardigan lies in its effortless and easygoing styling options. This type of cardigan can be thrown over a simple t-shirt and paired with jeans for a comfortable yet stylish everyday look. It can also be worn with a maxi dress or skirt for a bohemian-inspired outfit. The relaxed nature of an open cardigan allows for experimentation with various clothing items, enabling individuals to showcase their creativity and personal style.

Should I Wear A Cardigan Open Or Buttoned Up?

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Factors to Consider

Cardigan style and design

When deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan, it is essential to consider the style and design of the cardigan itself. Different cardigans come in various cuts, lengths, and fabric types, each evoking a unique aesthetic. Some open cardigans may have a draping effect, while others may be more oversized and chunky. Buttoned-up cardigans can also vary in design, with options ranging from classic V-neck styles to cardigans with intricate detailing. Evaluating the style and design aspects will help determine which type of cardigan aligns best with individual preferences.

Neckline and collars

The neckline and collar options are additional factors to contemplate when choosing between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. Buttoned-up cardigans often feature collars, which can add a touch of sophistication and structure to an outfit. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals who desire a more formal look. On the other hand, open cardigans are typically collarless, providing a more relaxed and unencumbered feel. Determining whether to emphasize a neckline or prefer a more casual appearance can influence the choice between an open or buttoned-up cardigan.

Weather and season

The weather and season should not be overlooked when deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. In colder months, a buttoned-up cardigan can provide extra insulation and warmth, making it a practical option. However, during warmer seasons, wearing an open cardigan enables better airflow and breathability, ensuring comfort throughout the day. Considering the temperature and climatic conditions when choosing a cardigan style is essential to ensure both aesthetic appeal and personal comfort.

Personal comfort

Above all else, personal comfort should be a top priority when deciding between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. Regardless of the occasion or current fashion trends, feeling at ease and confident in one’s outfit is paramount. Each individual may have different preferences and sensitivities, making it important to assess one’s comfort level when wearing either style of cardigan. Opting for a cardigan that aligns with personal comfort can significantly contribute to a positive overall experience.

Dos and Don’ts

Do experiment with different looks

When it comes to wearing cardigans, it is important to experiment with different looks. Try wearing an open cardigan with a belt to create a more defined waistline or layer a buttoned-up cardigan over a patterned blouse for added visual interest. Mixing and matching various clothing items and accessories can help create unique and personalized outfits.

Do consider layering and proportions

Layering and proportions are key in creating a well-coordinated outfit with a cardigan. Pay attention to the length and fit of the cardigan in relation to the other clothing items. Experimenting with layering techniques, such as wearing a buttoned-up cardigan under a blazer or an open cardigan over a turtleneck, can add depth and dimension to a look.

Don’t neglect your body shape

Consideration of body shape is crucial when choosing between an open or buttoned-up cardigan. A cardigan that flatters one’s specific body shape can help highlight assets and create a more balanced silhouette. Take into account the length, fit, and style that complements one’s body shape to achieve a flattering and stylish appearance.

Don’t disregard the occasion

While personal style is essential, it is crucial not to disregard the occasion when selecting a cardigan style. Matching the formality of the event or environment is an essential aspect of dressing appropriately. Avoid wearing an overly casual open cardigan to a formal event or a buttoned-up cardigan to a casual outing. Dressing in accordance with the occasion displays respect and understanding of the setting.

Should I Wear A Cardigan Open Or Buttoned Up?

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In conclusion, the choice between wearing a cardigan open or buttoned up relies on various factors such as personal preference, occasion, body shape, and outfit coordination. Both styles have their unique advantages, whether it be the sophistication and versatility of a buttoned-up cardigan or the relaxed and effortless vibe of an open cardigan. Other factors to consider include comfort, temperature, and layering options. By taking into account the factors discussed and adhering to the dos and don’ts, one can confidently choose whether to wear a cardigan open or buttoned up, ensuring a stylish and fashionable look for any occasion.