There's always that one hero piece that rises to the top each season. It's the one item that you continuously (and subconsciously) opt for, the item that never fails you, and the item that magically seems to go with just about everything. It's never pre-planned—it just happens. Your hero piece not only becomes a mindless everyday wardrobe staple but also adds comfort and confidence to your outfits. Candidly, as a New Yorker, my wardrobe staples consist of a range of items in varying shades of black, effortless basics (think trench coat, straight leg denim, and sneakers), and a large tote handbag. And this season, it's all about the black cardigan.
Cardigans are really having a moment right now, whether it's a chunky "grandma" cardigan with floral embroidery or a cropped ribbed knit cardigan with dainty, pearl buttons. Due to its versatility, the black cardigan has easily established itself as my wardrobe front-runner. Paired with a pencil skirt and platforms or layered over a classic white button-down finished with a blazer, the styling options are truly endless—and fun. Opt for simpler looks or go all-in with layering and mismatched pairings.
These looks prove that black cardigans are proving to be the new white T-shirt. Yes, I said it. Keep scrolling to discover 11 different and affordable black-cardigan outfits.
Black Cardigan + Shirting + Blazer + Leather Pants
Getty Images/Christian Vierig
Take a cue from styling's oldest trick in the book: layering. Re-create this look by styling your trusty black cardigan over your other wardrobe staples, including oversize shirting, blazers, and trench coats.
For me, styling can be rather daunting. The top has to be the right length, the right fit, the right everything. However, not with my cropped black cardigan. It's proving to be the perfect pairing piece to any of my midi skirts—from flowy florals and gingham ruffles to structured straight midis. Have some fun and dress up the look with vibrant-colored pumps.
Black Cardigan + Exaggerated Collar Blouse + Straight-Leg Denim
Getty Images/Claudio Lavenia
While the black cardigan is quite the versatile little number, it's also the perfect complementing piece to seasonal trends. For instance, when paired with the black cardigan, the wide-collar blouse—this season's statement blouse—the outfit is effortlessly complete.
Black Cardigan + Tailored Trousers + Leather Blazer
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
Channel the '80s business-casual style and replace your suiting vest with a black cardigan to complete the look. A fitted cardigan paired with baggier, wide-leg tailored trousers and a polished leather blazer is the perfect combination.
Style Tip: unbutton the last few buttons on the cardigan to create the illusion of a vest.
Another genius pairing: a black cardigan with a floral miniskirt and platforms. Though this outfit offers a minor tweak to the previous ones, try to wear your cardigan open over a basic tank to serve more like an accent piece rather than the hero.