What Are the Best Lightweight Cardigans for Layering Over Summer Office Wear?

March 10, 2024

As the seasons shift and summer begins to make its triumphant return, a common conundrum for the fashion-conscious professional woman arises: how to maintain style and comfort in the office setting. The solution is both fashionable and functional: the lightweight cardigan. Easy to throw on over your summer work wear, a great cardigan is an essential addition to your wardrobe. But with so many styles, colors, and fabrics to choose from, where do you start? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll delve into the best lightweight cardigans perfect for layering over summer office wear.

1. The Classic White Cardigan

There’s just something about a crisp, white cardigan that screams sophistication. This timeless piece of fashion is not just versatile, but its lightweight nature makes it perfect for that office air conditioning that often works overtime.

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The white cardigan lends itself to a multitude of outfits. Wear it over a bright, summer dress to mute the colors while still allowing them to pop. Pair it with a classic black and white ensemble for a sleek, professional look. The white cardigan is the ultimate blank canvas, ready to elevate any outfit you pair it with.

One of the best options for a white cardigan is a classic cotton knit. Breathable and lightweight, cotton is perfect for those hot summer days when you still need a cover-up in the office. A white cotton knit cardigan will keep you looking fresh and feeling cool.

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2. The Bold and Bright Cardigan

Summer is the season of color, and your office wear doesn’t have to be an exception. A bold, bright cardigan can inject some much-needed fun into your work wardrobe, giving you that summer feeling even when you’re stuck indoors.

Choose colors that complement your existing wardrobe. If you’re a fan of cool tones, consider a light blue or mint green. If you prefer warmer colors, a coral or mustard cardigan could be a great addition.

When it comes to material, a lightweight knit is a good option. It’s warm enough for the office chill, yet breathable enough to avoid overheating. A bold, bright, knit cardigan is not just a statement piece but a functional piece of clothing that will work hard for you this summer.

3. The Longline Cardigan

Longline cardigans are a great way to add some sophistication to your office attire. Falling just below the hips or even lower, these cardigans can create a long, sleek silhouette that is both flattering and modern.

When choosing a longline cardigan, consider the style of your office wear. If your outfits tend to be more fitted, a loose, flowy cardigan could be a great contrast. If you prefer loose, airy clothing, a fitted longline cardigan could provide some structure and balance.

As always, choosing lightweight materials is key for summer wear. Cotton blends are a great choice, offering breathability while still maintaining shape and style. A longline cardigan is a fashionable and functional addition to your summer work wardrobe.

4. The Patterned Cardigan

Who says office wear has to be boring? A patterned cardigan is a great way to inject some personality into your work attire. Whether you prefer stripes, florals, or geometric patterns, there’s a cardigan out there for you.

When wearing a patterned cardigan, it’s best to keep the rest of your outfit fairly simple to avoid clashing. Consider pairing it with a simple, solid-colored dress, or a white blouse and black trousers.

Lightweight materials like viscose or silk blends are a great option for patterned cardigans, as they offer a beautiful drape that accentuates the pattern. A patterned cardigan is a fun and fashionable choice for your summer office attire.

5. The Textured Cardigan

Last but not least, the textured cardigan. Whether it’s cable knit, ribbed, or features other unique knitted details, a textured cardigan is a great way to add interest to your outfit without relying on color or pattern.

Wear your textured cardigan over a simple, fitted dress for a look that is both professional and stylish. Or, pair it with a blouse and trousers for a chic, layered look.

When choosing a textured cardigan for summer, stick to lightweight materials like a thin wool blend or cotton. These materials will give you the warmth you need in an air-conditioned office, without making you overheat outdoors. A textured cardigan is a subtle yet stylish addition to your summer office wardrobe.

6. The Open Front Cardigan

An open front cardigan is a modern and chic option for your summer office wardrobe. Sleek and practical, this cardigan style effortlessly drapes over your outfit, displaying what you’re wearing underneath.

The absence of buttons or a zipper gives the open front cardigan a relaxed, flowy feel. It’s a versatile piece that can be worn over both casual and formal office attire. Consider pairing it with a blouse and pencil skirt or a fitted dress for a polished look.

Open front cardigans come in a wide range of colors and materials, so you can select one that best suits your style and comfort needs. A popular choice for the warmer months is a lightweight knit cardigan. It offers just enough warmth to combat the office air conditioning without making you feel too hot when stepping outside.

Amazon Essentials offers a range of high-quality open front cardigans that are perfect for summer. Their pieces are made from breathable, lightweight materials like cotton blends, making them a perfect addition to your summer work wardrobe.

7. The Short Sleeve Cardigan

For those really hot summer days, a short sleeve cardigan is your essential wardrobe piece. It provides a touch of warmth for cooler office temperatures, yet won’t leave you sweltering when you step out for lunch.

Short sleeve cardigans are versatile, allowing you to dress up or down depending on the occasion. You can wear one over a sleeveless dress or a blouse and skirt combo. It’s a cardigan style that adds a layer of sophistication without the added heat of long sleeves.

When shopping for a short sleeve cardigan, look for lightweight, breathable materials such as cotton or linen. These fabrics will keep you cool and comfortable all day. Retailers like Banana Republic offer a great selection of high-quality, stylish short sleeve cardigans perfect for the summer season.


Choosing the right lightweight cardigan to layer over your summer office wear doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you prefer a classic white, a bold and bright color, a longline style, a fun pattern, a textured design, an open front, or a short sleeve cardigan, you can find a summer cardigan that suits your style and meets your needs.

Remember, the key elements to look for in a summer cardigan are lightweight materials like cotton, knit, viscose, or silk blends that are breathable and comfortable. Consider your existing wardrobe and think about how different styles, colors, and patterns will work with what you already own.

Brands like Amazon Essentials and Banana Republic offer a great variety of high-quality cardigans perfect for the summer season. With a little research and some savvy shopping, you’ll be ready to face the summer in style without sacrificing your comfort in the office.