6 Ways to Rock a Chunky Cardigan in 2022 (& 1 to Skip for Now)

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Puddle pants, cowboy boots and leather jackets may be top fall trends for the moment, but there’s one cool-weather staple that surpasses them all in terms of comfort and staying power: the chunky cardigan. These cozy, oversize knits are the kind we reach for year after year to layer over everything from silky date night minidresses to basic T-shirts with jeans and even button-ups and suit trousers. But what’s the best way to wear a chunky cardigan in 2022? We’re glad you asked. Here are six super stylish, fashion forward outfits we can’t wait to wear ASAP, plus one ensemble we’re avoiding for the time being.

12 On-Trend Ways to Wear Leather Pants (Plus One Look to Definitely Avoid)

How to wear a chunky cardigan A frame
Valentina Frugiuele/Getty Image

1. Style Your Cardigans in a Fresh, New Way

ICYMI: The A-Frame shirt styling trick was a micro trend we spotted during New York Fashion Week in September, but it isn’t exclusive to button-downs: As a seasonal shift, try buttoning only the top few (or top one, if you’re feeling bold) clasp of your cardigan as a cheeky, sexy twist on the usual coverage of a chunky cardigan. If showing a lot of skin is not your thing but you still want to rock the trend, throw on high-waist jeans or a long maxi skirt for more coverage.

Shop similar styles: Acne Studios ($560); Everlane cardigan ($230); Bloomingdale’s cardigan ($239; $167); GAP ($70)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Preppy Twists
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

2. Look for Preppy Twists on Basic Knits

No matter the season, we love a Blair Waldorf moment, but there’s a way to embrace the Plazacore trend without feeling like you’re trying to attend Constance Billard. For a smart ‘fit, gravitate towards neutral-colored, woven cardigans with small pearl or jewel details along the neckline to draw the eye towards the decolletage and face. Since the cardigan speaks for itself, you can take it easy on accessories. Finish the look off with a mini skirt and tall boots or ballet flats, instead of Chelsea boots.

Shop similar styles: Simone Rocha ($970); Alice & Oliva ($595); BA&SH ($380); Sleeper ($220); ASTR THE LABEL ($98); Amazon ($37)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Statement Sweater
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

3. Spice Up a Neutral Fit with a Statement Sweater

The trendiest looks right now all have one thing in common: a duality of comfort and pizazz. Combine a statement-making cropped cardi with your favorite cream-colored jeans and monochromatic sneakers (or boots) and what might’ve been a rather basic getup is now a head-turning outfit practically screaming for a photo op. Opt for palette popping colors and interesting design details to really embrace this look. If you’re feeling emboldened, crank it up a notch with a chunky chain necklace to really draw the eye upwards.

Shop similar styles: Hope Macaulay ($648); Pilcro ($168); Etsy Strawberry Crop ($180; $90); Etsy Rose Knit ($85)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Maxi Knit Cardigan Set
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

4. Wear a Maxi Knit Cardigan Set

Sweater sets of any and all varieties were one of the biggest trends last fall and winter, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. We’re fully embracing long, robe-like cardigans with coordinating knit pants, which in turn pair beautifully with the cowboy boots we’ve been seeing everywhere lately. Coincidence? We think not.

Shop similar styles: Naked Cashmere ($275); Anthropologie ($180); L’Agence ($360; $176); Lulus ($89); Forever 21 ($45; $31); ASOS ($45; $27)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Layering
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

5. Play Around with Layering

We’re calling it: Slim-fit crewneck sweaters are officially taking the place of plain white T-shirts this winter. Not only are they comfier than basic tees, but the thickness of a sweater underneath another sweater will help you stay warm and prepared for any change in temp.

Shop similar styles: Jenni Kayne ($375); Reformation ($198); Something Navy ($175); Nordstrom ($85)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Duster as a Dress
Edward Berthelot /Getty Images

6. Wear a Wrap Cardigan Duster as a Dress

Sweaters than can double as robes (and vice versa) are an important wardrobe staple. But we love this posh twist on such a comfy piece. You can easily wear it to work and look sharp for your presentation (with tights underneath if you work in a more buttoned-up environment) yet feel oh-so cozy and comfortable at the same time. Add a few layered necklaces, a thin belt (if it doesn’t have one already) and some pumps or pointy-toe ankle boots and you’re suddenly ready for dinner out on the town.

Shop similar styles: Reformation ($298); Revolve ($192); Banana Republic ($130; $78)

How to wear a chunky cardigan Skip Pairing Cardigans with Leggings
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Skip: Pairing Cardigans with Leggings

We admit this cozy combo is a great option to throw on for a stay-at-home date night or quick errand run, but in 2022 and 2023, there are so many more modern options. Go with either a mini skirt or a slouchy jean to strike a more stylish balance.

IMG 0045 e1692204525583
Stephanie Meraz

Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie Meraz is PureWow’s Associate Fashion Commerce Editor. Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She has over 22+ years...
read full bio

Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
read full bio