Whether during the bitter cold of winter or even during the middle of summer when the air conditioning is maxed out, women often struggle to stay warm at work. Often losing the battle of the thermostat, ladies can find a women's sweater to be an office essential, even if it is simply draped over your chair to put on as needed. To narrow the options down to the go-to sweater type that every woman needs to stay warm in the office, it's arguably the trusty women's cardigan sweater due to its versatility, among other factors.
There's an unspoken rule that a cardigan is all it takes to turn a casual outfit into a more professional "business casual" outfit. Plus, there is such a wide variety of cardigan styles to choose from that you can easily find one to suit any outfit or personal style.
Just as it sounds, a drape cardigan "drapes" the body from the shoulders down, acting like a blazer in a way. Unlike a blazer, however, it is softer and less formal. Drape cardigans also tend to be "open" cardigans that don't button down the middle. These are great for people who don't want a sweater to hug them but instead fit loosely with a separate shirt or blouse underneath. They can be as long or short as you want, ranging from waist-length to ankle-length. Pair a drape cardigan with leggings or skinny jeans and boots for a polished yet comfy business-casual look. Or drape it over a blouse tucked into a skirt, along with some cute booties or pumps.
The cable knit is a classic knitting style that dates back almost a century. As the layers of knitted fabric are crossed over each other to resemble braids, cable-knit sweaters are generally thicker than others, making them super warm. The tradeoff, however, is that they can be a bit chunky. If you want to make a cable-knit cardigan look professional, you can incorporate it into an office-casual look with some skinny or straight-leg jeans or chinos. Still, you may be able to find one that is made of a thinner material and looks good under a blazer for those really cold days.
If you want something more formal, opt for the thinner, more-cropped version of a cardigan sweater that hugs the body a bit. These typically have smaller, see-through buttons for a more delicate look. They can be worn with a camisole or a turtleneck underneath for extra warmth. As far as bottoms go, anything looks great with a form-fitting cardigan: you can pair it with a skirt or pants or even drape it over a dress.
Not as common as the traditional cardigan style that's buttoned-down and proper, a zippered cardigan is a bit edgier, yet polished. Because they make such a great substitute for a traditional jacket, they also make a good substitute for a blazer at work. A zippered cardigan that is waist-length looks good with anything, but it can also provide a cool contrast to a leather pencil skirt if you're taking the look into the weekend. And the contrast of the zipper to the fabric provides just enough detail so you don't have to worry about accessorizing it with a necklace.
You can't go wrong with a women's cashmere sweater for its superior quality, ultra-soft texture and warmth. Because it is softer and less itchy than wool, it makes an ideal office sweater when comfort is a factor. They also make great gifts for the women in your life who may be difficult to buy for (or for yourself).
Just like it sounds, the cardigan vest is armless but typically has a nice collar and maybe even some pockets to embellish it. These are great when you're not too cold but want something additional over a plain long-sleeved T-shirt or blouse. They're commonly loose-fitting and of the drape style as opposed to a form-fitting style.
No matter what type of sweater you choose, be sure to be conscious of its purpose. If you want something to drape over your office chair when it gets chilly, you'll likely want a cardigan in a neutral color that matches most of your outfits. In contrast, if you want a variety to choose from for your daily work wardrobe, you may want a few cardigans in different styles at the ready in your closet.