How to Wear Cardigans for Your Body Shape


Dear Imogen,

I’ve got some summer cardigans from H&M. My body is an I body shape.
What would you suggest for wearing underneath cardigans? (basic shirt or a blouse or a tank top..)
And how should the different body types wear cardigans, opened or buttoned? (buttoned gives a deep V, which perhaps looks lovely only for women with fuller breasts). When opened it doesn’t create a waste.
Perhaps you can give some tips on how to wear cardigans?
thank you for all the inspiration!
With love,


Cardigans for your body shape

What to wear underneath?

How to wear a cardigan

The easiest garments to wear under are slim fitting knits, tees and tanks or soft blouses that don’t add bulk.

Ideally, buttoning should enhance your shape. Larger busts need lower closures, whilst smaller busts are flattered by higher buttoning options.

If you have a waist, then you will want your cardigan to button through the middle or have a belt (or you can add a belt over the top).

If you don’t have a waist (H, O and some V shapes), avoid belted cardigans, or belt them to the back. Instead you can wear those lovely waterfall cardigans that bypass your waist.

There are so many ways to wear them, options on shapes and styles, try on a few and try buttoning them at different heights, you don’t have to button all the buttons, you can leave some open at the top and/or bottom!


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    • Hi Lily,
      If you look further down on my home page you will find lots of information about body shapes and how to work out what yours is.

  • This is a great post, especially because I love to wear layers as I am always cold! I didnt know that I could wear the peplum style (I’m an I shape). Good to know! and I love chunky belted cardigans for winter, so I am happy they suit my shape. I hadn’t thought about high button closures, but I will try it out!

  • I enjoyed reading this, however I am an H shape and also a petite. The waterfall cardigan that is good for H shapes isn’t considered good for petites – please help!

  • Hi Imogen, I previously tried asking a question here but the anti robot stuff eluded me. Would you mind doing a post on guidelines to wearing fake fur vests? I am a short H with average (b) bust endowment and many vests just make me look like an Ewok. Thank you. I love you website and find the way you present body shape info is the clearest around, especially with the use of Polyvore. Thanks
    Yummy mummy

  • All these visuals are helpful. Thanks! The right cardigan shape can really make a difference in an outfit.

  • Imogen, I am a V/H shape hybrid and I have trouble with those classic scoop neck button down cardigans. My neck, bust and top half looks stumpy in them despite my efforts to wear them. Should I just not bother with this style. The waterfall style is way more flattering as is any longer, open style.

    • Just don’t bother with anything that has a high neckline – they will box you up. Lower necklines – waterfalls, Vs are way more flattering and easy to wear

  • I don’t know what happened to cardigan designs these past 5 years but it looks like the classical styles are gone. Now they look like cheap rags, either too short or too long. Just look at some old knitting magazines and you will see a big difference.

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