What is the Best Way to Style a Longline Cardigan to Avoid Looking Too Relaxed in the Office?

In the past few years, the longline cardigan has transitioned from a comfy, loungewear staple to an everyday wardrobe essential. It can be an elegant, versatile piece that elevates an outfit from ordinary to chic in seconds – provided it is styled right. However, turning up to the office in an outfit that looks too casual may raise eyebrows. Hence, mastering the art of dressing up a longline cardigan to maintain professionalism is a must. Let’s give you some tips and tricks to ensure that your longline cardigan transforms into a business-appropriate attire without compromising on style and comfort.

Choosing the Right Longline Cardigan

Before we delve into styling, it’s essential to select a suitable longline cardigan. This choice will significantly influence how "dressed up" or "relaxed" you appear. In an office setting, it’s key to select cardigans that are the right mix of comfort and sophistication.

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Opt for cardigans with a structured silhouette. They offer a more defined shape, making the outfit appear more pulled together. Plus, go for good-quality fabrics. A longline cardigan made from a luxurious, sturdy material such as cashmere or merino wool can instantly make your outfit look more sophisticated. Also, sticking to neutral colours like navy, black, grey or beige can lend a more professional air to your ensemble. Avoid excessively bright or pastel shades, as they may come off as too casual.

Pairing with Dress Pants

An excellent way to ensure your longline cardigan doesn’t look too relaxed is to pair it with dress pants. Dress pants bring a level of formality to any outfit, making them an ideal choice for office wear.

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Opt for well-tailored, straight-legged or slim fit pants. These styles pair beautifully with the flowing lines of the cardigan and create a balanced silhouette. You can choose classic black or navy pants, or branch out a bit with dark greens, maroons, or even a subtle plaid. Pair this combo with a neutral, fitted blouse or a crisp button-up shirt tucked in. Complete the look with court shoes or pumps for that extra touch of professionalism.

Layering Over a Dress or Skirt

Another fabulous way to dress up your longline cardigan for the office is to layer it over a dress or a skirt. This combination can create a cohesive, chic, and professional look.

When opting for a dress, stick to ones with straight or A-line cuts. These styles can maintain the professional vibe while complementing the cardigan. For skirts, pencil skirts or A-line skirts are a great choice. Remember to keep the hemline office-appropriate – knee-length or just above the knee works best. You can pair your skirt with a fitted blouse or a turtleneck, depending on the weather. Pair this ensemble with ankle boots or classic pumps, and you’re good to go.

Accessorizing Correctly

Accessories can make or break your outfit, and when it comes to styling a longline cardigan, they play a critical role. The right accessories can instantly elevate your outfit and give it a more professional edge.

Choose minimal and elegant pieces that enhance your look without overwhelming it. A long, delicate necklace can work beautifully with the vertical lines of your cardigan. Alternatively, you can opt for statement earrings or a chic watch. When it comes to handbags, choose structured ones over slouchy styles, as they add a touch of formality. Lastly, a thin, sleek belt can help define your waist and give your cardigan a more tailored appearance.

Dressing According to Office Dress Code

Last but not least, your office’s dress code plays a vital role in deciding how to style your longline cardigan. Understand the level of formality required and dress accordingly.

If your workplace has a strict business formal dress code, you might want to reserve your longline cardigan for casual Fridays or less formal days. For a business casual or casual dress code, you can experiment more with your cardigan styling, but always remember to maintain a level of professionalism. Remember, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed in a professional setting.

In conclusion, styling a longline cardigan for the office requires a thoughtful combination of the right cardigan, outfit pairing, accessories, and adherence to the office dress code. With these tips, you can rock your longline cardigan at the office without looking too relaxed.

Considering the Office Temperature

The temperature in offices can fluctuate, and it’s essential to consider this when deciding to wear a longline cardigan. While they are perfect for layering, they can also make you feel too warm if not paired correctly.

If your office is usually on the cooler side, layering your longline cardigan over a long-sleeved blouse or a lightweight sweater can be a good idea. This will keep you warm while still ensuring you look professional. On the other hand, if your office tends to be on the warmer side, consider pairing your cardigan with a sleeveless blouse or a light t-shirt.

Choosing the right fabrics is also crucial. Opt for lighter, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen during warmer months and heavier fabrics like wool or cashmere in the colder months. Also, don’t forget to take into consideration the color of your cardigan. Darker colors tend to absorb heat, making you feel warmer, so it might be better to stick to lighter shades during the summer.

Understanding the Art of Balance

Styling a longline cardigan for the office is also about understanding the art of balance. While longline cardigans are typically loose and relaxed, it’s important to balance them with more structured pieces to avoid looking too casual.

Pairing your cardigan with tighter fitting bottoms like pencil skirts, tailored trousers, or fitted dresses can create a balanced silhouette. Also, consider the length of your cardigan. If your cardigan is too long, it can engulf your frame and make your outfit look sloppy. A cardigan that hits mid-thigh or just above the knee can work best for most body types.

The same rule applies for the volume of your cardigan. If it’s too loose or oversized, it can seem too relaxed for an office setting. Instead, opt for a cardigan that skims your body without being too tight. This will allow you to maintain a professional appearance while still staying comfortable.


Styling a longline cardigan in an office setting doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right approach, you can make this versatile piece work for you. From choosing the right cardigan and pairing it with suitable bottoms to accessorizing appropriately and balancing your silhouette, each step plays a vital role in ensuring that you look professional and put-together. Don’t forget to consider your office’s temperature and adhere to the dress code. Remember, the goal is to look stylish and comfortable without crossing the line into overly relaxed territory. With these tips in mind, you can confidently embrace the longline cardigan trend in your workplace.

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