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
Photo: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.
Photo:Getty Images/Claudio Lavenia
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
Photo: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.
Photo:Getty Images/Jeremy Moeller
It's all about proportions. The cropped cardigan layered with another cardigan styled with a front-button pencil skirt and closed-toe platforms creates an ultimately flattering, dynamic look.
Black Cardigan + Pleated Skirt + Belt Bag
Photo:Getty Images/Edward Berthelot/
At first glance, this ensemble looks like a flowy dress. Instead, it is a cardigan styled over a blouse and paired with a flowy skirt to create the illusion of one piece.
Style Tip: Be bold and style this look with a pair of printed trousers underneath.
Black Cardigan + Sweatpants + Headband
For a simpler look, opt for styling your black cardigan with sweatpants for a cozy-yet-cute moment. Elevate the seemingly chill look with a bright-colored satin headband and chunky gold jewelry.
Photo: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.
Black Cardigan + Pinstripe Pant + Beanie
Photo:Getty Images/Robert Kamau
Granted, Bella Hadid makes this outfit look so easy, but the truth is, it actually is easy. Play around with the different buttoning and unbuttoning of your cardigan for the ultimate cool-girl look.
Photo:Hanna Lassen/Getty Images
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.
Black Cardigan + Light Denim + Strappy Sandals
Black Cardigan + Khaki Pant + Oversize Sunglasses
The juxtaposition of the fitted cardigan and baggier khaki pants work flawlessly together in this outfit formula. Just another piece of evidence that opposites do, indeed, attract.
Style Tip: experiment with different sunglass pairings—whether they be square-shaped or oversize—to add a personal touch.