7 Cardigan Trends, 7 Outfit Ideas—Here's How to Style Fall's #1 Basic

The month is October, the year is 2021, and all we want to wear for the foreseeable future are cardigans of every shape and style. Cardigans have reached such a level of popularity and universality that there are trends within the trend. While a cardigan is certainly a basic (fall's number one basic, if you ask us), there are also plenty of trendy versions to choose from.

As we scrolled through Instagram in search of cardigan styling inspiration, it was very clear that it wasn't going to take long to populate this story. We'd go so far as to say that cardigans are the most popular sweater style there is right now (according to Instagram, at least). They're very easy to style, and it doesn't take much to make them look cool. Plus, there are tons of amazing ones to choose from. Below, we selected seven of the biggest cardigan trends percolating right now, provided a little styling inspiration, and found some of the best ones to add to your collection. 

The Trend: Collared Cardigans


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Collared cardigans touch on another favorite sweater trend of ours: polo sweaters. The combination leads to a preppy-cool look that we'd gladly wear every day this fall and winter.

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The Trend: Cardigan Sweater Sets


(Image credit: @claire_most)

This one is a no-brainer at this point: It seems that sweater sets are here to stay, and we couldn't be more thrilled about it. You can never have too many.

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The Trend: Single-Closure Cardigans


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

This is certainly the riskiest cardigan trend of the bunch, but the reward is high. Fashion people are obsessed with this barely there Jacquemus logo cardigan, and we've noticed that other brands are starting to give us their take on the trend.

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The Trend: Slouchy Cardigans


(Image credit: @babba)

If comfort is your MO, this trend has got you covered. An oversize cardigan makes for the perfect fall jacket. We suggest investing in both a neutral-colored one and a fun printed one.

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The Trend: Embroidered Cardigans


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Undoubtedly the prettiest trend on this list, embroidered cardigans don't require much styling. If you really want to keep things simple, all you need are jeans. Prepare to hear "I love your sweater" a lot.

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The Trend: Checkerboard Cardigans


(Image credit: @styleidealist)

This one may seem a little specific, but trust us—there are a lot of checkerboard cardigans out there, and incorporating the trendy print into your outfit is one of the easiest ways to look fresh this season.

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The Trend: Super-Cropped Cardigans


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Another "risky" cardigan trend to have on your radar this season is the very cropped style with the hem hitting just below the bust. The easiest way to wear it is with high-waisted jeans and the trickiest is with low-rise jeans. They're both cool, so the choice is yours.

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Next up, the preppy sweater trend that's about to dominate for fall.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.