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How to Escape Your Cardigan Rut

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Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.


Cardigans are great but cardigan fatigue is real, via Gretchen's Closet.

Hey Frank,

I'm stuck in a cardigan rut. Winter, spring, summer (when the office AC is blasting), and fall my go-to items for covering up T-shirts, blouses, dresses, etc. are cardigans of varying lengths and materials. Either that or a black blazer. What are my other options? Blazers in different colors? Structured quasi-coats? Help.

Sincerely,
Cold Towards Cardigans

Dear Cold,

The Cardigan Rut is an easy rut to fall into, isn't it? I might be in a cardigan rut!

Cardigans are an easy fit (roll up the sleeves; don't button it; I like it huge); an easy buy (well I don't have a red one; this one has pockets); and are truly an evergreen, nearly four-season go-to (because, yes, office air conditioners; breezy nights when you just need something). So it's easy to get stuck in this cardigan vortex.

Of course, there are worse vortexes to be stuck in, but I understand your desire to spice things up.


Working the crewneck, via the Dandy Life.

Personally, I've really been feeling the crew neck sweater for the past year or two. There's something sort of demure about them, and even dressy—especially after years of the v-neck becoming more ubiquitous by the season. Try picking up a few crew necks in easy solid colors to wear over crew neck tees or un-tucked blouses with work skirts or weekend jeans. Lambswool for right now, cashmere or merino for spring and fall, and the lightest cotton for summer.

Bonus: They're a lot easier to preppily knot around your neck than an unwieldy cardigan—and how cute is a preppily-knotted sweater?


The Kenzo sweatshirt, via Blogspot.

The crew neck sweatshirt is another fun, more casual option. They're everywhere right now, they're flattering, and the options are endless. Grab an inexpensive horizontally-striped or leopard print version at Forever 21, Madewell, or Urban Outfitters; or brand yourself with the Carven or Kenzo logo. Pair with jeans and canvas sneakers for a collegiate look or toughen it up with boots and a leather jacket. There's something charming about it; it's youthful—a crew neck sweatshirt doesn't take itself too seriously.

Otherwise, yes, you should have more than just a black blazer. Obviously. To start, get one in a fun pop color you can wear with a totally neutral outfit. Or get a woolly houndstooth or glen check version to wear over jeans or cords and one of your new crew neck sweaters. Other go-tos: Camel, navy, chocolate brown, grey, or one of the luscious winter jewel tones that don't seem to be going away anytime soon—mustard, cordovan, peacock.

I don't even know what I would do if I only had a black blazer—but I digress.

Finally, and this is less for the office than it is for evenings out or weekend jaunts, get a jean jacket or a lightweight motorcycle jacket in paper-thin leather or canvas or denim or cotton. Classic options both, with a bit of an edge—and they layer beautifully over your top and under your winter or rain coat.

I'm still stuck on only having one blazer. I'm trying to get past it. I wish you luck.

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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