I love a good cardigan! Personally, I feel like a cardigan is the perfect balance of style and comfort all while keeping you warm. It also helps that they can be taken on and off without having to worry about pulling your shirt up over your tummy!
But as a plus size gal, I also know that a cardigan is really easy to mess up.
Because of the shape of a cardigan, if you end up with something that is too tight, too thick, or has a funky closure you can end up looking bulky or oddly shaped. Then there are the cardigans that fit your shoulder but not your curves, and those aren’t much better.
That’s why I’ve done the research to find the best darn cardigans for plus size ladies along with everything you need to know about picking the perfect one.
But if you just want to skip ahead and see what made the list you can check out my favorites here:
- Best Overall: Woman Within Plus Size Long-Sleeve Shaker Cardigan
- Best On A Budget: Amazon Essentials Women’s Plus Size Lightweight Cardigan
- Best Super Long Waterfall Cardigan: IN’VOLAND Plus Size Long Sleeve Open Front Drape Cardigan
- Best Elbow Length Cardigan: Woman Within Plus Size Elbow-Length Sleeve Cardigan
- Best Cold Weather Cardigan: Shiaili Classic Plus Size Cardigan
- Most Unique Option: Woman Within Plus Size Open-Front Pointelle Cardigan
Now let’s get started!
How To Find A Good Plus Size Cardigan For Women
You already know that shopping for plus-size clothing is hard and it’s no different when it comes to cardigans. To make things easier, let’s look at some of the features curvy ladies should look for when it comes to finding the perfect cardigan.
Stick With Regular or Longer Length Cardigans
There’s a surprising amount of length options out there when it comes to cardigans but most curvy women will do best with the regular length or extra long options. Longer cardigans can help elongate your body and accentuate your best features.
This might sound a little counter-intuitive at first as the usual advice is for shorter women to wear short clothing to look taller (and guys get the same advice when it comes to shorts). But as a plus size woman, we’re usually more concerned about balancing out our curves and longer can help here.
Still, if you’re not sure or worried then stick with regular length cardigans and these will still look great on plus size bodies.
However, it’s usually best to avoid cropped cardigans (these end at about your belly button) since not only do they not keep you very warm, but they also aren’t very flattering to any woman with any kind of tummy. In other words, because of how these fit plus size or curvy bodies, short cardigans can end up accentuating your belly more than anything else.
We won’t include any cropped cardigans on this list but we will include plenty of regular lengths and long lengths.
Focus On Big Closures
By definition, cardigans have an open front but many can be closed with buttons, a latch, or some other type of closure. Regardless of the type of closure, it’s usually best for bigger gals to rock cardigans with big features.
Typically, you should have accessories that match your body size and it’s the same reason why bigger people can get away with bigger watches, glasses, or even suspenders. But that also means tiny buttons on a curvy gal’s cardigan can just look a little off. So stick with big buttons and big latches and luckily this is easy to find when it comes to cardigans- even if you never plan on actually closing your cardigan!
While they aren’t as common, you want to avoid zipper closures. As a big gal myself, I’ve noticed that the zipper can follow the shape of my stomach, which I don’t exactly love. Also on the list to avoid are belt cardigans and while these can look great when they’re open, they aren’t quite so flattering for the plus size body when they’re closed.
Understand The Basic Styles and Sleeve Options
While cardigans are usually categorized by length, that’s far from the only style factor. You have belted versions, cardigans with hoods, vest-style, slouchy cardigans, and everything in between.
I personally prefer and recommend slouch-style cardigans. These are a bit oversized and don’t cling to your body. However, they’re not the only ones on this and there’s nothing about being plus size that requires you to hide under loose-fitting clothing!
Tunic styles cardigans are another one of my favorite styles of cardigan. This style goes straight up and down and will hug all of your curves! If you want to show off your thickness, a tunic-style cardigan will help!
Sleeves are another big style factor and we’ll be focusing on longer sleeve cardigans.
Stick With Warm But Breathable Materials
The material of the cardigan you choose should be ideal for the reason you wear it. If you are wearing a cardigan to add layers to an outfit, choose something lightweight. Materials such as cotton or a synthetic blend such as polyester are lightweight and breathable and won’t make you too hot. Semi-synthetic blends such as modals are also popular choices for lightweight cardigans.
If you are wearing a cardigan to keep warm, you can choose thicker material such as wool. But if you run hot, synthetic options may suit you better than wool because they can cause you to become sweaty and uncomfortable.
As a plus-sized woman, I wear clothing made of lightweight and breathable materials during the cooler months. Once I am hot, I become quite uncomfortable and would much rather feel a little chill than to be basking in my own sweat!
What Do You Wear Under A Cardigan?
Cardigans have almost endless style options and this can sometimes feel a little overwhelming! But my girl Justine Kay put together an awesome video that will help you figure out how you want to style your cardigan:
Best Plus Sized Women’s Cardigans
Now that you understand the different types of cardigans and all of the factors that make the best cardigan for plus-sized women, let’s discuss our favorite options for each type!
Best Overall: Woman Within Plus Size Long-Sleeve Shaker Cardigan
- Available in sizes up to 6XL
- 19 color options to pick from
- More than 1,000 five star reviews
- Runs big so consider ordering one size down
Our best overall pick checks every box when it comes to finding a great cardigan. To start with, we have a lot of size inclusivity and this cardigan is available up to a 6XL in plus size.
Then, we have 19 colors to pick from and they cover a wide range of super bright and vibrant to more neutral colors so everyone can find what they want. I can also tell you that the bright colors on these cardigans are really vibrant and I haven’t noticed a change even after a handful of washes.
I also love having tons of color options in case I want to pick up more than one because once I find something fits I generally stick with it!
At 32 inches, this will be a slightly longer cardigan for most women and that’s just what we’re looking for: not too long and definitely not too short.
The buttons are large enough that they won’t look strange on bigger bodies and I love that they run down the entire length of the cardigan. Not only do I think this looks great, but it also allows me to level up the warmth if I need to which makes this cardigan even more functional.
I’ve had two of these for several months and haven’t had any problem with pilling or flaking on the material. I also find the cotton and acrylic blend to be just the right balance of warmth without getting too heavy which is just want I want from a cardigan.
Even though they aren’t prominent, I also love the pockets and I think they really make this cardigan even cozier since you can keep your hands warm too!
Overall, this simple cardigan covers everything we’re looking for but you should consider ordering one size down- especially if you’re in between sizes. I’ve found that it’s not just this cardigan but just about everything from Woman Within tends to run a little large.
You can read more reviews from plus size ladies, check out all 19 colors, and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best On A Budget: Amazon Essentials Women’s Plus Size Lightweight Cardigan
- Available in sizes up to 6XL
- 6 color choices to choose from with all the classics
- More than 5,000 five star reviews on Amazon
- Easy on the budget
This affordable cardigan keeps things simple, affordable, and of course super cute. You aren’t going to find any special features or anything fancy but this is still a great-looking cardigan that can add style to just about any outfit. It’s also very lightweight which makes it a great option for cold offices or cool weather.
While the plus size color choices are a bit lacking, you still have 6 to choose from and I have seen the color choices rotate somewhat so there could be more of a selection by the time you read this.
It’s always a little confusing figuring out what’s considered plus size, but if your waist is around 40 inches then you won’t have a problem with the XXL size which will give you even more color options. Because we’re talking cardigans, it’s usually not a big deal if you’re on the edge of a size.
Still, even if XXL isn’t going to work (and it doesn’t work for me) there’s still good size inclusivity here with plus size options up to 6XL. Just remember that the 2XL on the plus size is not the same as the regular 2XL and always check the size chart if you’re not sure! Since this is an Amazon product, the size charts are usually very accurate.
There’s a bit of a deeper v-neck on this cardigan but I’m totally here for it and I think it gives a very feminine look to an otherwise very simple garment.
The material is comfortable, flexible, and just warm enough. It’s made from a nice blend of 55% cotton, 25% modal, and 20% polyester which is a blend I’m very happy with. The cotton keeps it super comfortable, the polyester keeps it light, and the modal balances the two. If you’re not familiar with modal, it’s a semi-synthetic fabric made from beechwood trees and popular thanks to it’s affordability and comfort.
If you’re looking for the classic cardigan look at a great price this one is worth checking out. You can read more reviews, check out all the colors, and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Super Long Cardigan: IN’VOLAND Plus Size Long Sleeve Open Front Drape Cardigan
- Available up to 5XL
- 30 colors and patterns to pick from including leopard print
- More than 4,500 five star reviews including many from plus size ladies
Sometimes called a maxi length or drape cardigan, this stylish and cute cardigan is designed to go down to your ankles! For taller plus size ladies, this will obviously fit higher on your body but the look is still pretty much the same.
This cardigan is also unique in that it’s designed to be left open and without buttons, it has an even more flowy and fashionable look. The loose, flowing design combined with a good deal of size inclusivity up to 5XL means that this will work for a wide range of curvy or plus size ladies.
Another big plus is the 30 colors and patterns to pick from! You can go with all the classic colors like black and blue but you can also mix things up with leopard prints or even flannel patterns.
The sleeves are long with plenty of room for longer arms or just ladies that want to feel extra cozy. Even though it could feel like there’s a world of difference between our best overall cardigan and this elegant design, they’re both definitely still cardigans!
If you haven’t worn something like this before, don’t be intimidated and this maxi length cardigan is super easy to style. The simple plus size jeans and heels combinations that the Amazon model uses is a perfect example of how to pull this look off! However, you can really level up your look by combining this with some nice dress pants too!
Just keep in mind, that this isn’t going to keep you warm in cold weather and this cardigan is very thin. It will obviously keep you warmer than if you weren’t wearing it but it’s more of a style piece than anything else so just make sure you know what you’re getting into!
You can take a closer look at all the colors, read the pile of reviews from other plus size ladies and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Elbow Length Cardigan: Woman Within Plus Size Elbow-Length Sleeve Cardigan
- Available up to size 6XL
- 32 cute colors and patterns to choose from
- There are hundreds of positive reviews and a great brand behind this cardigan
I’m a big of elbow-length sleeves and it’s a style I’ve already written quite a bit about so I had to include an elbow-length cardigan on this list!
Not only does this super cute cardigan have shorter sleeves than usual it also has a crew neck design which is somewhat uncommon in the world of cardigans. The combination of shorter sleeves and crew neck gives this cardigan a light and breezy look that I love.
With 32 colors to pick from, you can also really mix things up and choose between some very light patterns or classic cardigan colors like black or blue.
There’s also plenty of size inclusivity with options up to 6XL. Women Within is also known for their plus sizes and their cardigans usually run a little large (as mentioned in our best overall pick) so that just means there’s even more room for curvy bodies.
I also love that this cardigan is made from 100% cotton for an extra light feel. Of course, that may mean you need to be a little more careful when it’s time to wash it (or just size up when ordering) but it makes the cardigan super comfy.
Pair this cardigan with any outfit for a finished look year-round and as with most other cardigans on this list, this isn’t going to keep you warm in a snowstorm it will be perfect for a chilly office.
You can read more reviews, see all 32 patterns and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Cold Weather Cardigan: Shiaili Classic Plus Size Cardigan
- Available up to size 5XL
- 4 classic colors with a fashionable knit design
- More than 1,000 five star reviews with many from other plus size and curvy ladies
Even though they are a type of sweater, cardigans aren’t usually going to be your first choice for snowstorms or serious weather. At least that’s the case when it comes to women’s cardigans and men’s cardigans are actually a lot more heavy-duty!
So while this cardigan from Shiaili isn’t going to keep you toasty in Alaska, it can keep you warm during mild winters and cool falls in most places around the world. All while looking great, of course!
The cable knit design gives this sweater a super-stylish look but it also makes it functional too. There are several reviews across the internet that describe wearing this cardigan as similar to being wrapped in a blanket and I’d have to agree!
The large pockets add even more warmth and style and there are also buttons so you can close the cardigan to get extra cozy.
That being said, there’s no lining in the cardigan and it’s still light enough to wear indoors so you aren’t going to need to treat it like a winter jacket or anything. But if you want a great looking cardigan that isn’t just a style piece and will actually keep you warm then this is worth checking out.
Of course, it also has a good amount of size inclusivity with sizes available up to 5XL.
You can check all the reviews, take a closer look at the cable knit design and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Most Unique Option: Woman Within Plus Size Open-Front Pointelle Cardigan
- Available up to size 6XL
- 10 colors to choose from
- Unique open knit design makes this cardigan super cute and super interesting
We just looked at a cardigan that’s ready for winter weather so now let’s look at the opposite! This cardigan uses an open-knit (also called pointelle) design to create a unique look that also allows plenty of airflow. That makes this cardigan a great style piece for a unique look but not the best option if staying warm is your priority.
And it’s not just the open-knit design that gives this cardigan and unique look and its flowing and unusual cut also make it stand out. Just to be clear, it’s not for everyone so take a close look at the design before making the leap into something this unique!
The sleeves are also three-quarter length but can easily be buttoned to an elbow length if you prefer. This cardigan is light enough that it can be even be worn during a cool summer day and could be paired up with a pair of capris for a super cute look!
I also love the colors on this cardigan and you’ll see some lighter and brighter pastels that you won’t find in most other brands. You can take a closer look at all 10 colors, read more reviews and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Cardigans are a great way to complete your outfit. They can help give you confidence, add style, and also help keep you warm on a chilly day. Cardigans are a necessity to add to your wardrobe and are great for plus-sized women who want to feel comfortable and beautiful in the clothes they wear!
The next time you leave the house, you don’t have to reach for your old frumpy hoodie, you can go out in style with one of these modern and attractive cardigans!
What do you think? Did you find your new favorite cardigan?