Summer Sweater Goes Year-Round Stylish

Mid-tone cardigan/shell combos, made in breathable fibers, can be 12-month wardrobe staples in almost any climate.   This rich, deep pink set from Chicos was a summer favorite – shading my arms from extreme sun outdoors and balancing out extreme air conditioning indoors.  Now it’s the basis of several cool-weather outfits … with the added benefit of no itchy wool against sensitive skin.

A beautiful tie-dye silk scarf – a gift from a client – was the inspiration for pairing the sweater set with my  charcoal gray ponte pencil skirt.  Of course you could substitute a pant if that’s more your style.  I opted for a relaxed look with tights and suede booties, but could easily dress it up a notch with a nude leg and pumps instead.

Gray tights and suede booties continue the skirt color all the way to the bottom and dark areas within the scarf repeat gray at the top, giving the outfit a vertical flow.  The light buttons are mother-of-pearl, so they don’t read jarringly white within a darker combination.

TIP #1: Tuck in the shell and wear the cardigan open so the sweater color and skirt color meet at the waistline in the center and a few inches lower at the sides.  That sidesteps any jarring horizontal color break that could otherwise break the vertical flow.

TIP #2: Choose cardigans with open, V-shaped necklines instead of round ones. They look more modern in general, and leave space to showcase a great scarf or necklace.

TIP #3:  Take a cardigan from sloppy to snappy by adding removable foam Shoulder Shapers to lift the look and avoid any droopy drag lines.  You won’t believe the difference!

TIP #4: Push up the cardigan sleeves for a taller and spunkier look.  Sleeve Bands will keep them comfortable in position all day.

A polka dot  silk scarf, banded in the identical pink, inspired this pairing with my decades-old short glen plaid  skirt.

The pattern mix – typically a stretch for my uber-Classic personal style – feels safe yet playful because the plaid, dots and stripes are all geometric and the colors align so perfectly.  Plus the creamy white in the plaid and the scarf tie right back to those lighter buttons.

Over-the-top collage-type pattern combinations are a major trend on Fall ’21 runways, and a toned-down interpretation like this allows a mature woman to look modern without going all-out trendy.

What favorite cardigan in your closet can you re-mix for a fresh Fall outfit?


About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Trish on October 20, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    So timely for me, Nancy! Thank you for igniting the thought process in my quest to create a seasonless wardrobe, in lighter colors, to compliment my shiny new silvers!

    I’ll look forward to more thoughts and comments on this process as many women have decided to become silver foxettes!

  2. Sherry on October 21, 2021 at 8:59 am

    A light bulb moment has just occurred ! Your suggestion of using v -neck sweaters in tip #2 just gave me “ permission” to pass along a too dark brown , round necked cardigan that I have been struggling with for years ! My intention for keeping it was to wear it with collared shirts, but I haven’t actually been doing that , so it’s time to share it and others like it with round necklines to others ! So deep thank you ‘s !

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 21, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Further evidence that V-neck cardigans are ever so much more wearable – thanks for sharing your experience on the topic.

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