Cardigans vs. Jackets | On the Daily EXPRESS


Cardigans vs. Jackets

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of using jackets to complete a fairly simple outfit, as evidenced in my most recent Foolproof Outfit Formula post. But I think I might be in the minority in my preference of jackets to cardigans. Don't get me wrong, I do like cardigans too! I've posted plenty of outfits with those over the years, and they generally perform better on Pinterest than my jacket outfits. So maybe a better way to say this would be that I'm probably a little more drawn to jacket outfits vs. cardigan outfits than the average woman. For that reason, lately I've been trying to show an option for styling an outfit with both a jacket and cardigan option to complete a look.

These two outfits are exactly the same except for one detail: the completer piece! A black turtleneck, blue jeans, and boots...basic enough that most people probably have something similar to these in their closet. This combo would work with almost any cardigan or jacket layered on it, but I chose to wear it with my recent Christmas-gift-to-self, this Barefoot Dreams Cardigan in Rosewood. Since it was a splurge item I'm eager to start getting the cost-per-wear down while we have the weather that suits this type of thick and warm cardigan.

For a jacket option, I went with my utility jacket since it's a fairly common wardrobe staple. My exact version was a Maurice's find last year (sold out), but Amazon has a similar highly-rated option (with Prime Shipping of course!) for under $40. If I were shopping for this piece now that would be my first choice to try.

Since we're on the topic of Cardigan vs. Jacket outfits, I pulled a few additional outfits from the archives for comparison. These aren't identical-except-for-one-piece like the previous outfits since I didn't plan on featuring them in a this vs. that post at the time I wore them! They have a few more detail changes like the shoes and accessories.  But they feature the same basic outfit base so I think they still make for good side-by-side comparisons.

For both of these outfits I wore my all-time favorite Foolproof Outfit Formula of black-on-black with a contrasting outer layer. I even went with black for both of the shoe selections since it does help give a longer line, and at 5'4" I'll take all the help I can get! But choosing a cardi vs. a jacket topper totally changes the look outfit. In this case I think the cardigan gives a little more casual and relaxed vibe than the jacket, but they're both polished and complete.

Even though I'm wearing almost exactly the same things in both outfits, they still feel like two different outfits to me. And I love that because I don't feel like I need two completely different sets of clothes to make two different outfits. Just some basic staple pieces and a few statement completer pieces!

This next example came from a fairly recent post in December, but December was not a big month for blog traffic so I'm guessing these outfits will still be new to a lot of people. Haha! In this case I wore the exact same top and jeans, but I changed two pieces (shoes and completer piece) to take this from a daytime to a date night look.
RIGHT: Similar Jacket | Cami | Similar Jeans | Boots (c/o) | Earrings

While I've always liked leopard print, I don't usually wear this much in a single piece. I opt for smaller doses like a bag, belt or sandals. I was pushing my comfort zone a little with this top, but I found wearing it with a black layer on top (thus covering a good portion of the print) helped tone it down enough for me to be comfortable wearing it.

Switching the cardi and ankle boots for a moto jacket and OTK boots definitely changes the tone of this look! This next combo is strictly a date night look for me - not something I'd generally wear for a Target run! While I do wear OTK boots for daytime sometimes, I usually do it with more conservative pieces, like the cozy turtleneck outfit in this post
 Moto Jacket | Cami | Similar Jeans | Boots (c/o) | Earrings

My goal here is definitely not to state that one option is better than the other for any of these outfits. Obviously I like both cardigans and jackets and I wear them both for different occasions! It's really just seeing and sharing the difference they can make as a completer piece for a similar outfit, and showing how easy it can be to transition an outfit from day to night or from casual to a little more dressy with minimal detail changes.

So now it's your turn! Did you find that you preferred one option over another in these outfits almost every time? Or do you like them both about the same for different occasions? Do you tend to purchase more cardigans or jackets? I love chatting fashion and outfits with you all so I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

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  1. I think I honestly like both - cardigans and jackets equally! On me (lately) it seems the longer cardigans work better because my mid section is not as slim as it once was so the longer the better! On you, however, everything looks great! I love the date night look with the moto jacket and leopard cami. The color of your new Barefoot Dreams cardi is soooo pretty, can't wait to see all the ways you style it! That shade looks great with olive. Hope this week is going well for you Gina!

  2. Great post Gina. For me these two options depend on my mood. The boho in me turns to cardigans more times than not, but I like an edgy feel of a utility jacket. Coincidentally, I'm styling a jacket today. lol That barefoot dreams cardigan looks like a dream! Love the color and the cut. :)

  3. I'm with you! Cardigans are great, but jackets are even better. I think I feel just a bit more polished when I pick them as a topper. Also there's such great variety out there for jackets, that you can have one for every mood! Love that olive green one over a black turtleneck - so easy, but so chic.

  4. You wear all of these so well! I used to favour jackets a lot more over cardigans, then I had kids and with me constantly holding and cuddling them cardigans made more sense! So I tend to wear more cardigans than jackets now, although jackets are better if it's colder!

    Thank you for the link up!

    Hope that your week is going well :)

    Away From Blue

  5. I am in the minority with you - I prefer a jacket over a cardigan. For years, I wore so many cardigans, but I have transitioned back to my favorite - jackets. (And, I am glad I am not alone that traffic was down in December.) I hope you have a great Wednesday! It is midway through the week - and I hope this is a better week for you.

    Daily Style Finds

  6. I love a cozy cardigan but a jacket is always better if you want a sharp outfit.

  7. Love these looks. I think I like both as well but jackets may inch out just a little bit. You can never have enough and they create such a sweet silhouette. Happy Wednesday friend. xo

  8. These are all such great looks. I am definitely more partial to a jacket as a completer piece because it just seems a bit edgier and more put together to me. But then a cardigan is so much more comfortable. So I probably tend to go with cardigans more than jackets since I spend most of my days sitting in my home office where comfort is key!


  9. I definitely have more cardigans than jackets but have been wearing jackets as a completer piece more and more lately. I love seeing how this layer changes up the look! I'm also loving the color of your Barefoot Dreams cardigan!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  10. They both look so good on you. I think I find myself reaching for a cardi more than a jacket because of the cozy factor. Jackets are a little more structured and not as comfy for me. I have quite a few that I don't wear nearly as often as I should. Thanks for the inspo. Pinned several of these as a reminder. XO

  11. I love both looks on you! Jackets are more flattering on me I find so I usually opt for those!
    Lee | LegalLee Blonde

  12. You look great in both a cardi and jacket Gina and I love these examples you featured. It really helps to see how having each piece can change a look of an outfit. As for me, until recently, I was not a big fan of cardigans. I like them enough to own a few but they do sit in my closet for a long time before I wear them again.

    Maureen |

  13. For many years, I've worn strictly cardigans except for the coldest days because they were more practical for FL weather. Also, being big busted, a cardigan had fewer fit issues. Now that we've moved to a different climate I am able to wear jackets more (I also had breast reduction surgery a couple of years ago.) . I'm definitely wearing jackets more frequently these days. Good subject to look at.

  14. You really rock the jacket and have such a nice selection! They are flattering on you too! I just prefer cardigans because they fit under larger coats which we need where I live! It's amazing how different a structured piece versus an unstructured piece can make an outfit look!

  15. I think you are a poor example for comparison because both look really good on you, and it doesnt really help with decision making.

  16. I love both on you, but I think that my favourite has to be jackets - I'm not a big cardigan girl!

    Have a good week! :)

    Amy x Wandering Everywhere

  17. It's funny how changing one piece can completely change the entire outfit. Talk about a capsule wardrobe. Mind-Blowing really in the side by side photos of the outfits. I love this idea.
    Thank you so much for the awesome post, thexglitterbox


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