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.

You might also like: 

How to Layer Summer Wardrobe Pieces for Fall

15 Actually Affordable Leather-Sleeved Jackets

Our Fave Fast Fashion Sites That Are Not Forever 21

Keep Up on DC’s Latest Fashions with Our Shopping Newsletter

Fashion finds and deals, and the latest trends for you and your home.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.