Outfit Ideas: 5 Cool-Weather Alternatives to Cardigans

Step away from the sweater set, ladies.

Brr—it’s (finally) cooling down outside! Dressing in layers is about to be a necessity, and who wants to see you in the same ol’ cardi you’ve been wearing for the past five years? To get your shopping juices flowing, we assembled five fall-ready outfits, each centered on a more creative topper than a button-up sweater. From painterly kimonos to Southwestern-style ponchos (yes, we said ponchos), here are a few alternatives that are both cozy and cute.

Add warmth (and worldliness) to your distressed jeans with a luxe silk kimono and a simple tank for an avant-garde casual look.

Athena Procopiou silk kimono, $495 at Net-a-Porter; yellow tank top, $29 at SheInside; Blank NYC cropped leather jeans, $88 at Pink Mascara; Mini bag, $395 at Loeffler Randall; Sam Edelman D’Orsay pump, $120 at Shopbop; Commando sheer tights, $32 at Bergdorf Goodman; Danielle earrings in green, $55 at Kendra Scott; and pyramid ring, $5.50 at Wet Seal.

Nothing keeps you comfy quite like a turtleneck. Make it look chic by wearing it under a sleek sheath dress paired with some amazing leopard pumps.

J.Crew stripe turtleneck, $45 at Net-a-Porter; shift dress, $84 at Topshop; leopard pumps, $146 at AsosCommando sheer tights, $32 at Bergdorf Goodman; Orla Kiely wallet, $224.99 at Modcloth; Warhol glasses, $10 at OC Shades

Trade your cotton sweater for a cropped jacket—it’s perfect for work and looks fresh paired with a peplum top, a pencil skirt, and bright heels. 

Cropped jacket, $158 at SheInside; bouclé peplum top, $50 at Topshop; Graphic No. 2 pencil skirt, $158 at J.Crew; Steve Madden fuchsia suede heels, $89.99 at; Cambridge patent leather satchel, $140 at Asos; and Amrita Singh 18-karat gold-plated and resin bib necklace, $250 at Endless.

An oversize cashmere wrap is a cold-weather staple—it works as a scarf, sweater, and blanket (and even a pillow on long flights), and is an easy way to warm up your outfit without much planning. This neutral silk-and-cashmere-blend shawl pairs perfectly with a turquoise dress.

Oversize silk and cashmere Bajra shawl, $325 at Marissa Collections; turquoise silk dress, $97 at Choies; wedges, $49.99 at Modcloth; oversize sequin clutch, $36 at Windsor; opaque tights, $20 at Armani Exchange; and Social Anarchy 14-karat gold moon and star earrings, $220 at Ahalife.

Ponchos are a good bet for polar temps—and worn with the right mix of basics, they look fresh, not dated. We love the draping and pattern on this faux-fur-and-knit version (and the guilt-free price). It adds the right amount of personality to skinny jeans and red mocs.

 Faux-fur-trim poncho, $68 at Accessorize; Minnetonka Kitty moccasin, $39.95 at Nordstrom; Pamela Love spike earrings, $207 at Shopbop; Nep Casey jeans, $120 at AllSaints; leather backpack, $248 at Madewell; Neppy tee, $28 at Topshop.

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