Best gray cardigan

Outerwear

If you’d like to give a gray button-down cardigan a modest makeover, upgrade the buttons to a more unique set. Opt for buttons with fun colors or different finishes, or consider using a mismatched set for an edgy look.

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Which gray cardigan is best?

Cardigans remain a favorite layering essential for their versatile designs and comfortable fits. If you’re looking for a wear-anywhere style, gray cardigans match most outfits, whether you’re dressing up or down.

Grey is a popular alternative to darker neutral colors such as black and navy. That said, there are several gray shades you’ll encounter, from light heather to charcoal gray. If you’re looking for a mix of both shades, Perry Ellis Windowpane Print Cardigan is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a gray cardigan

Styling

Gray cardigans are one of the easiest layers to style, including for work or casual wear. Not only is the color neutral, it’s an easy way to add a lighter color to darker outfits. Gray cardigans for kids are lightweight, versatile layers they can wear to school instead of bulkier options, such as fleece jackets or chunky sweaters.

Length

Cardigans are available in various lengths, ranging from cropped styles to floor-grazing duster cardigans. Many cardigans are classified as mid-length styles when they fall somewhere between the natural waist and mid-thigh. Where a cardigan’s hemline actually falls, however, depends on the wearer’s height.

Size

For kids and adults, most cardigans follow progressive sizing such as small, medium and large. Men’s cardigans typically run from M to 2XL, and big and tall sizes start at 3XL. Women’s cardigans are sizes from XS to XXL, and plus-size is 1X and above. Men’s and women’s smaller sizes, including XXS and S, tend to be the hardest to find in most styles.

Closure style

By definition, cardigans are open-front sweaters. Some styles have plain openings whereas others have closures. Button-down cardigans remain one of the most popular styles, followed by those with ribbon, tie or hook-and-eye closures. Several kids’ cardigans have snap button closures, as well.

What to look for in a quality gray cardigan

Materials

Cardigans materials are categorized in two groups: natural and synthetic. However, many cardigans are made with a blend of both.

Wool, cashmere and cotton remain the most popular natural materials for cardigans. Wool is warm, hypoallergenic and wicks away moisture. However, some people find wool fibers coarse and irritating. Cashmere is an extremely soft alternative and naturally wrinkle-resistant. It’s also one of the most expensive materials. Cotton is lightweight, breathable and gentlest on sensitive skin. Unfortunately, it’s prone to shrinking and fading.

Many affordable cardigans are made with synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic and rayon. These materials are designed in all weights, ranging from very thin to thick and chunky. They’re colorfast and shrink resistant, although they often lack the aesthetic and soft feel of natural materials. These fabrics are often blended with stretch materials such as spandex or Lycra.

Pockets

Many gray cardigans have pockets located either on the sides or at the front. They’re considered classic cardigan details, including in traditional styles. However, because cardigan materials are somewhat flimsy and flexible, filling pockets with items such as a phone or keys ends up weighing down the entire sweater.

How much you can expect to spend on a gray cardigan

Lightweight cotton cardigans cost $25 and less, while blended styles typically run $30-$100. Gray cardigans made with premium materials and blends, including those from popular designers, cost $150-$500.

Gray cardigan FAQ

Can you wear a brooch with a cardigan?

A. You can, but it largely depends on the weight of the cardigan and brooch. Heavier, thicker cardigans may be strong enough to support certain brooches. Lightweight sweaters, on the other hand, are often too thin and may get unrepairable holes from most brooches.

What is the difference between a sweater and a cardigan?

A. A sweater refers to any knitted garment with long sleeves. A cardigan is a type of sweater with an open front. While you can wear some sweaters on their own without base layers, cardigans typically require shirts or tops beneath them.

How do you wash cardigans?

A. It’s best to refer to the care tag instructions, including for unique material blends that may require special care. As far as drying is concerned, cardigans are usually hung or laid flat to reduce wrinkles.

What’s the best gray cardigan to buy?

Top gray cardigan

Perry Ellis Windowpane Print Cardigan

Perry Ellis Windowpane Print Cardigan

What you need to know: This cardigan has a timeless style and is a popular pick for capsule work wardrobes, featuring a V-neckline and button front.

What you’ll love: The sweater is made with soft cotton and modal blend. It has a fitted cut but there’s enough room to wear a dress shirt or T-shirt beneath it. A charcoal-gray contrast hem gives the cardigan a contemporary look.

What you should consider: The cardigan may shrink in the wash because it’s made with blended cotton.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top gray cardigan for the money

MEROKEETY Women's Long-Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan

MEROKEETY Women’s Long-Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan

What you need to know: The chunky waffle-knit sweater lends itself to plenty of wear as a cold-weather layering essential.

What you’ll love: Made from acrylic, the cardigan is soft against skin and holds its shape and color well. It has oversized pockets that accommodate phones and small wallets. The hem has side openings to prevent the cardigan from riding up during walking.

What you should consider: It’s not a heavyweight cardigan, so warmer base layers may be necessary.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Jumping Beans Girls' Ribbed Cardigan

Jumping Beans Girls’ Ribbed Cardigan

What you need to know: This neutral gray cardigan has a simple ribbed design and matches most bottoms, from jeans to leggings. =

What you’ll love: The lightweight design can be worn in multiple seasons. It’s made with cotton and polyester, making it more resilient to regular wash and wear. Sleeves are on the longer side to accommodate growing kids. 

What you should consider: Because it’s a fitted style, many people recommend sizing up. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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