May 24, 2021
This is timely – this morning when I put on my long linen tank top, and linen cropped pants, I realized that I was going to need a cardigan if I was going to go out for lunch, or to the grocery store, or almost anyplace indoors! Air conditioning around Chicago woke up yesterday, with a VENGANCE…
If the heroine wearing this lovely linen dress hangs around the garden party ’til after the sun sets, she may want her beige cardigan too!
This isn’t a category where you have to stock up, so you can go ahead and buy a couple of really NICE cardigans… I have 2 – a black and a white – and they serve me well!
What if you’re still occasionally required to look like an adult – at least from the waist up?
Your casual striped tee shirt can certainly go to work (or to a video meeting) with a cardigan over it…
The very simplest of outfits look good with a bit of texture, and some great jewelry!
Any accent color could be worn with a white cardigan and linen pants!
The obvious thing to pull on over a tank top and shorts when the temps drop is probably a sweatshirt – this sweater is just a MUCH nicer version of a grey sweatshirt.
Here’s the master list, for those who want a look:
I think I could be interested in either a black and white printed or patterned cardigan – maybe not as neutral as my solids, but certainly useful and fun!
Do you have to put a sweater on the minute you walk indoors in warm/hot weather?
p.s. Four years ago, I shared an all-neutral travel wardrobe – foolproof to get dressed once you’ve arrived!
Beth T says
Ivory or silver grey cardigans/jumpers are my neutrals for summer. I do have a navy cardigan but rarely wear it. However, I’m most attracted to the simple and elegant linen dress! The value of having a light neutral cotton or linen dress in beige, cream, white or light grey provides for effortless dressing brightened up with an accent cardigan and neutral/accent colour accessories. Perhaps that is a consideration for next week’s WTW?
I would swap the seashell bracelet and shell earrings for the horn earrings and sparkly bangle. Seashells seem more appropriate with shorts and the horn earrings and bangle would look lovely with the dress for a smart-casual occasion.
I’m still in need of cardigans and jumpers as the weather in the UK is still not warm. We have had rain almost every day for two weeks. Though temperatures are rising to 19C (67F) by the end of this week and it should be warmer and drier next week.
Air conditioning is more common in offices and large shops in the UK but smaller shops and restaurants often rely on keeping windows and doors open. It’s only in recent years that we have had hot and humid weather in July and August. I often feel so cold inside that when I go outside, it’s a shock to the system and I can’t acclimatise quickly enough. Which is worse in the summer – feel freezing cold or on the verge of heatstroke. No wonder we get ‘summer colds’.
Good point about summer colds! The only time I have missed the office during the pandemic was during last summer’s heat wave. A fan just isn’t the same as air conditioning!
Beth T says
“I always feel under-dressed when you look so lovely, and I’m just wearing trousers and a shirt. You’re not like other women; you don’t need to get all gussied up to be beautiful…”
The dynamics of couples is always interesting particularly when you look at clothes. So why is it that the casual dresser expects their partner to dress-down, rather than responding by dressing up? A blazer over a casual shirt and trousers is a simple enough elevation in dress but still casual.
My hubsband and I try to achieve parity so neither of us feels uncomfortable. In my twenties to forties, I invariably used to wear dresses and skirts with court shoes and my husband always wore a jacket and tie.
Various injuries to my feet and ankles over the past mean that I have I wear trousers and flat shoes more often, so I’m feeling underdressed when we go out! I only wear heels if not much walking is required.
So to achieve parity in a more informal way, we are both adapting. His idea of casual wear is not to wear a tie! He’s now comfortable with the idea of wearing a jumper instead of a blazer or a check shirt with a jacket. I’m wearing jackets or smart cardigans with trousers and a pretty top or a maxi skirt/dress so I can still wear flat shoes that don’t show.
The one and only time that we ever went abroad travelling by train was for just TWO weeks and was a sartorial disaster. Our clothes looked like rags after being stuffed in rucksacks. We only had handwashing available. We didn’t have room for even a slightly smarter outfit so were often looked down upon in restaurants. I think I threw most of my clothes out when I got back as they were unbearable.
Beth T, this made me laugh as our house is the exact opposite – I am the more casual dresser and my husband dresses more formally – I think his being 10 years older has something to do with it – just the times we grew up in. He finally learned to leave me alone about clothing choices, the real battle was when we went somewhere with our boys. One of them is extremely sensitive to sensation on his skin, and starched white shirts just don’t cut it. There were many battles when they were younger – now not so much as they are exiting high school. Although there may be a looming battle over what to wear to graduation. One son already has shirt, slacks, etc.. the other one I don’t think has even thought about it…. I don’t care what he wears under his gown.
Beth T says
However, I fear that the pandemic effects on social life and working at home have put paid to the practice of ‘dressing up’. Just getting used to being in social situations again is challenging enough, without thinking about what to wear or whether I am over or under dressed.
Jackie Katz says
I LOVE the white dress but I think the shoes are too sporty. I would love to see it with a nice strappy sandal.
Those green earrings really need to appear in my mailbox. Swoon.
I used to wear beige as a summer neutral but I have learned it just washes me out, like white does. Grey seems to be the new light neutral for me in summer, with all of my usual blues, olives, and aquas.
Goodness, no! Just thinking about a 2nd layer is making me sweat. I’m in a warm weather part of the country and am hot all the time. Lovely sets though I have zero need of a sweater this time of year.
Linda in Bluffton says
I’m also in a warm part of the US and don’t have much need for cardigans. That said, I never go anywhere without a scarf in my bag for the air conditioning chill. I’m happily surprised that I don’t run into that temperature disparity in stores/restaurants down here as much as I did in the north.
Love the lookback post.
A shout out: I purchased the Lipault travel bag featured in one of last week’s posts – and it is really great quality for the price! Highly recommend you check it out if you could use one.
Amanda Hudson says
I too live in a hot humid climate and always have a sweater with me. I am generally cold in church, restaurants, etc. I have several linen and linen blends and wear them 3/4 of the year. To me there is nothing worse than cold air blowing down my neck!
A top layer of some sort is always required by me ! Yesterday our high was 91, today we have the 60’s with rain. I had to have routine blood work done this morning, so in addition to a short sleeved top , and nice slacks , I wore a fleece lined hooded zip front sweatshirt ! I live in the country so very casual is appropriate as long as it is clean and in good condition . So yes, cardigans are a must for me ! However, yesterday I made a discovery about cardigans and my preferred necklines. In the Winter, I require cardigans to have a collar , wearing them with either a turtleneck or a crew neck and a scarf to keep my neck area warm. In hot weather, I take along a crew neck sweater , draped over my shoulders when we dine out with the AC issue in restaurants. In recent years I have really been aware of how various necklines layered together, make me feel both physically and psychologically .
I appreciate you reposting the master list of WTW to help me keep track of where we are in the process. Formatting it into “ Whatever’s Clean 13” makes so much sense !
With the look back at an all neutral travel wardrobe, I would need to add more prints if traveling to hot weather areas, because of not adding scarves or necklaces, but it sure makes mixing and matching easier to accomplish! Though in time, my eyes would be screaming to include some colors ! Just my preference !
Sally in St Paul says
I’m curious how people decide what style of cardigan to buy for a relatively small summer capsule wardrobe. This post shows a variety of options, though obviously not every single available type. Do you get something to work with the kind of outfits you wear generally, if you have a typical uniform (e.g. narrow trousers + short-sleeved top + flat shoes -> lightweight grandpa cardigan)? Or is it based on the outfit silhouettes you are planning to wear in that specific capsule/season? Or do you attempt to coordinate the style with a particular garment category like tops (tricky to wear a round neck classic cardigan with a V neck T) or bottom (skinny versus voluminous bottoms might want different lengths, etc). Or do you just have a favorite type? Or do you buy a few different styles to cover your bases? Or do you go for what looks/feels good when you put it on, kind of regardless of the garments in the rest of the capsule?
I wear cardigans on and off throughout the summer in MN, but usually with a shorter sleeve (short, elbow, or 3/4 length, typically) and frequently with an open weave to the knit. Often this layer is just aesthetic or to provide modesty over a sleeveless top at work. I find air conditioning here overall to be inadequate (and at my workplace, it often feels practically non-existent!).
One thing I desperately miss about Texas is the super amped up air conditioning! When it’s been 100 F and higher for weeks, there is nothing like the blast of cool that greets you when you walk into a store or restaurant. The first time I went to Washington DC was in the summer, and I was astonished and disappointed that restaurants relied on fans rather than A/C, so the restaurant was barely cooler than outdoors.
When I first moved to MN, I didn’t understand why, starting around Thanksgiving, they started blasting heat at you as soon as you walk indoors. But when late January hit, and I was walking in from -20 F and lower temperatures, I understood.
Gosh Sally, I never thought about all the options for cardigans that you’re considering! I have three of the J Crew white cotton cardigans that serve as my second layer from Spring through Fall (when I’m not wearing a denim jacket or utility jacket). They’re especially great for summer because you can tie it around your waist and just have it handy when you walk into a cold business. I always roll the sleeves to bracelet length or 3/4 length to give them more style. This year I bought the same basic style cardigans, but in a cotton blend, in black and white from Lands End in Tall for a slightly longer option. They’re a little warmer but hold their shape better and look a bit dressier. So these very basic cardigans go with everything from cropped jeans and a striped tee to a dress and strappy flat sandals. Very easy! Hope that helps you out.
I try to consider what other style toppers I already have in my closet when selecting a new addition. Having different styles makes me feel like I have a bigger variety of outfit options from fewer clothes hanging in my closet. I tend to have toppers in all my neutrals and just one or two in accent colors.
Amy in Indy says
I wear button up cardigans, mostly crew neck. If I button them, I leave the top few undone. I’m short and sturdy, and I’ve found that long and/or open cardigans just look kind of sloppy on me. Most of my tops also have low necklines with no collar (collar, crew necks, and turtlenecks make my DDD chest looks even bigger), so I don’t have to worry about matching necklines. My go-to is the Land’s End cashmere cardigan: https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-cashmere-cardigan-sweater/.
This linen dress and beige cardigan…I must have this!!! I would’ve worn something like this to my daughter’s high school graduation last week; but, with nude heels to dress it up a little more since I was presenting her diploma to her (home educator – parents present diplomas to their students). I always love seeing what you put together! Thank you!
Yes! Isn’t it beautiful?!
Love the sandals with the navy JCrew outfit, but couldn’t wear them; I pronate too much. Does anybody know of a sandal brand that does arch support that doesn’t shout “orthopedic shoe”? I’m in my 40s and trying to hang onto the delusion that I can wear nice shoes…
I find Vionic has some sandal styles that don’t scream “Orthopaedic Shoe”. Even their flip-flop styles have arch support.
Book Goddess says
I have foot issues and have been rotating several pairs of Aetrex sandals. I also like Wolky.
Elena Rose says
The hotter it gets, the more clothes I have to wear… for sun protection! By the time August arrives with temps in the 100s, I’m sporting a long sleeve white blouse, calf length skirt (thank you xcvi!), giant hat and Keds with ankle socks. Toe sunburns are no joke! I call my style “Edwardian Botanical”. I’d love to see how you would style it!
I’m currently looking for a cute, lightweight linen jacket for summer, in case I want to wear short sleeves.
You recently inspired me to buy a light coloured cardigan (it arrived at the weekend) and I think it will take my summer wardrobe to a whole new level. My clothes have become so dark over the last decade that it’s been hard to put together a really summery outfit. Put on an ivory cardigan and bosh! Summer’s here :) I’m looking forward to discovering all the new outfits I can create.
Diane Smith says
Janice, ordered those Talbot’s indigo and white wrap earrings as soon as I saw them!
Thank you for the hint! ;)
I wear cardigans on and off all summer. It’s nice to have a Charming Cardigan (sorry, I love Talbot’s), because they can fold up nicely, inside-out, in a handbag/tote.
NATALIE k says
Sally from Sr. Paul, I buy cardigans for my ardrobes by color, For my summer clothing I have one dark (navy), one light (hite), to colors (arn pink and coral). My summer neutrals are navy, khaki and hite. My accent colors are arm pink and coral. You need to think about the necklines you ear.
Beautiful capsule and your choices. But how about a side-discussion about cardigans?
I really detest open front cardigans; they just flap around when walking around and make us large chested gals look fat (even if we wear size 6 pants). It’s hard to find a good, non-open front, cardigan that isn’t bulky or boxy or looks like it came from grandma’s closet, either. Plain solid color jewel-neck cardigans are versatile, but so aging. Special request for some more modern looking, fitted and sleek, non open-front cardigans!
Amy in Indy says
Seconded. I’ve done pretty well with the Land’s End cashmere button ups, because they’re soft enough to drape. But in any other fiber, cardigans tend to look boxy on me unless they’re cut to curve in at the waist.
Linda P says
Hi Janice and Everyone! Thank you Janice for the post. I have a beige/tan cardigan in a jersey knit (I think) that is just warm enough to handle glacial a/c, but light enough that wearing it outside won’t make me overheat.
I am thinking of either a core of blue, or a core of beige for next month’s 21 piece wardrobe challenge. I have a good number of both in my closet.