5 Non-Boring Alternatives To The Basic Cardigan You Keep On The Back Of Your Chair

Many of us keep a trusty cardigan around in anticipation of temperature fluctuations this time of year. But you can do better.
Publish date:
October 13, 2014
vintage, blazers, cardigans, denim jackets, Shawls

It’s that time of year again: when you wake up and check the weather and see that the autumn sun will be burning bright when you climb out of the jaws of the subway. You make sure your sunglasses are packed, as well as the travel-sized deodorant.

But as soon as you’re inside out of the sun, the goosebumps rise, whether it’s your office cubicle or the local Target. You can’t win.

Most of us have that trusty four-button, almost-threadbare cardigan for this very reason: to hang on the back of our chairs or shove in our totes in anticipation of air-conditioning woes. But the basic cardigan is boring, and you can do better.

Here are five interesting fall transition pieces to update your wardrobe (all vintage, of course, since that’s my passion, but you can find similar styles in stores now if secondhand is not your thing):

Beaded/Embellished Cardigan

Yes, it’s still a cardigan, but it’s special. Check out the beautiful handbeading on this piece (I promise you, it won’t be falling off after only a few wears). And when you buy vintage, you can treat yourself to cashmere for a fraction of the cost.

Non-vintage alternative: Garnet Hill's Beaded Decadent Cardigan.

Jean Jacket

I have owned a series of jean jackets in my life, ever since elementary school. It makes sense because the denim jacket is a classic.

Right now, I’m on the hunt for the perfect worn-in '70s Levi’s jacket (though I also love Wrangler and Lee, as far as vintage brands go).

Non-vintage alternative: Levi's Classic Trucker Jacket.

Buffalo Plaid Flannel

No, you don’t have to tie this around your waist to relive your awkward '90s grunge phase -- you can actually wear it as a shirt.

I love the idea of knotting a flannel at the waist with a black pencil skirt (bonus points for leather/leather-look). Don’t be afraid to check your dad’s closet (or the men’s section on Etsy or your local thrift store).

Non-vintage alternative: Canyon River Blues Women's Flannel Shirt.

Silk Blazer

A great-fitting blazer is an essential part of any office wardrobe, and silk is the perfect lightweight fabric option when the weather is in flux. I love it in bold colors like red and magenta! Cuff the sleeves for added style.

Non-vintage alternative: Rebecca Minkoff's Becky Silk Jacket.

Piano Shawl

If boho is your vibe (like mine), a piano shawl can add the perfect retro touch to your cold shoulders.

The one featured here is admittedly pricey (but it’s an antique!). I’m seeing similar modern styles in store this season with sleeves and kimono-shapes. Look for the pairing of fringe and embroidery.

Non-vintage alternative: ASOS's New Look Vintage Embroidered Fringe Kimono.

Which of these pieces will you be adding to your wardrobe (or already have and love)?