How To Wear A Long Cardigan Sweater With Confidence When Petite

brunette woman wearing a pair of white jeans, a fitted white tee and a grey long cardigan sweater over her shoulders as a coat

There are times of the year when it’s not cool enough to pull out a blazer or coat, but you need another layer on top of your blouse or top to stay warm. That is when a long cardigan sweater can come in handy. Yes, if you are like me and live in a warmer climate a longer sweater can effectively serve as a coat for that in-between season.

The issue as a petite is will the length of the sweater make me look taller and leaner or shorter? Well, as a petite (I’m 5′ 1/2″) I never want to look shorter. My goal is to always look as tall as possible as I am sure yours is. We’ll cover how to look taller and stay cozy in a long sweater.

Before we take a look at how petites can look fabulous in a long cardigan sweater there are some other petite fashion posts I have written that you might want to check out.

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Should Petites Wear Long Sweaters?

As a petite the last thing that we want is to look shorter. So many times when we wear long garments they can make us look shorter and a bit frumpy. Not a look that most of us want.

Petites can wear a long cardigan sweater and look great. There are just a few things to keep in mind as you put your outfit together. Remember it’s all about proportions to create the illusion of height.

Tips To Look Great In A Long Cardigan Sweater

Here are some tips that will help you navigate how to wear a cozy long sweater and feel great in it. Whether you are around the house lounging or off to a business meeting.

Wear A Fitted Outfit Underneath

A tailored shirt, t-shirt, or any type of fitted shirt with fitted pants looks best on petites when wearing a cardigan. You want your shape to show. So yes, tuck in your shirt. You may even want to add a thin belt to accentuate your waistline even more.

Wear It With High Waisted Pants

High-waisted pants are a short girl’s BFF. Yes, they instantly make our legs look longer. The other thing about high-waisted pants is that they will help define your waist.

Have The Sleeves Hemmed or Cuff Them

The one thing that you want to make sure of is that the length of the sleeves are not too long. Pushing up the sleeves will add more bulk to your arms and cuffing them can also add bulk. So when you are purchasing a sweater just look to make sure that it can easily be hemmed. I have my seamstress do this for me all of the time with sweaters. It just looks neater.

I’m 5’1/2″ and my sweater is 34″ long and hits just at my knees.

Make Sure It’s Not Too Long

I love the look of dusters on tall people and wish that I could wear one with ease and grace. When I have tried, even in a 3″ heel, it just falls flat and I look like a child playing dress up.

A long cardigan can hit anywhere from mid-thigh to your knees. I find that knee length is my sweet spot. I feel that it creates a long line versus stopping mid-thigh.

Shoes To Wear With Long Cardigans

I am a fan of flats and sneakers, but I will say that when I pull out a long cardigan sweater I pull out a heel. Even if it is just a small heel the illusion of an extra inch or two makes a big difference. Also, consider wearing nude shoes or shoes the same color as your pants so that the long line continues. You can check out some of my favorite nude shoes for petites in this post.

Long Cardigan Sweater Styles – Casual To Dressy

Just like any other category of fashion, long cardigan sweaters can be very casual to dressy. Yes, you can wear one over your leggings and workout top to a business meeting. A long cardigan can be defined as a cardigan that goes longer than your hip. You can find long cardigan sweaters that hit mid-thigh to mid-calf.

So just play with the length on your body type to figure out which one is the “sweet spot” length for you.


Yes, there are some great cozy long cardigans that are great for wrapping up in for a night at home. You can pair them with leggings or even over your pajamas. Others are just that cozy look that you want to pair with a great pair of skinny jeans or leggings with a tucked in tee or shirt.

Barefoot Dreams Cozy Chic Lite Cardigan

I love a good Barefoot Dreams sweater for around the house. They are always so cozy. You just feel like you are wrapped in your favorite blanket. Their sweaters are made of the softest lightweight knits. So easy to wash and reshape. I have a couple that I have had for years and wear them all of the time in the winter.

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MM LaFleur Frederick Cardigan – Fine Alpaca

I find MM LaFleur pieces to be petite-friendly. This sweater just looks like it wants to give you a big hug. Fine alpaca is always oh so cozy on a winter day. The fact that it is hypoallergenic is a big plus for many people.

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Loft Petite Ribbed Open Cardigan

First of all this color is amazing for fall. It is a lightweight sweater and has ribbing so it will help visually lengthen the sweater and draw the eye up. The bonus is that is it budget-friendly and comes in petite sizing. Get it while it is in stock. Also comes in black. So good with a pair of skinny jeans and booties for fall.

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It’s always nice to have some sweaters that can pull double duty. You can wear these sweaters casually with jeans, but you can also pair them with a pair of tailored pants for a business casual look.

Talbots Ribbed Duster in Blue Majesty

This sweater is available in petite sizing which makes it great for the short girls who love this color for fall and winter. It is a great layering piece that can be worn open or belted.

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Bloomingdales Cashmere Open Front Cardigan

Who doesn’t love the feel of a cashmere sweater on a chilly day? What’s even better is that this style is available in eight colors. The shawl collar isn’t too overwhelming for petite frames either.

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J.Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater

The length on this sweater is 34″ which is mid-thigh for many women. For a short girl like me, it hits at the knees. That is the length that I like to wear my long cardigan sweater. I like the fact that it is a cotton and wool blend so it is not so heavy for southern weather. It does run roomy. I take an XX-Small in this sweater.

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Macy’s JM Collection Petite Open-Front Cardigan

This is a true petite cardigan for someone who likes them to hit the mid-thigh area. I love the button detail on the sleeves which we can’t have unless it is truly petite sizing. This sweater is available in seven great colors.

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Dressy/Professional Dressing

Some days call for something a little dressier and more professional. This jacket is all that and still machine washable. Win, win.

Ming Wang Knits Vegan Leather Trim Textured Knit

Ming Wang Knits are known for their knits that are comfortable, classic, and stylish. Their pieces are made to travel well. This cardigan jacket has beautiful details. You can easily wear it with leggings, black coated jeans, or their coordinating straight-leg knit pull-on pant. Their knits machine washable, wrinkle-free, and fade resistant.

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Sweater Coat

Jenni Kayne Sweater Coat

I have a friend who raves about this sweater. She says it is so comfortable and cozy. I have tried Jenni Kayne sweaters and find that they run big. So big that I would need an XXS that they do not make. However, if you wear a larger size than me then give it a try. I just wish that they made XXS.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and read this post. I really appreciate it. A great long cardigan sweater is something that you will reach for over and over in your wardrobe. You just need to find the length and weight of sweater that suits your unique body. It may take a couple of tries, but with these tips, you should be able to find one that you fall in love with.

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