Best button-up cardigan


The cardigan was popularized in the 1920s. Before that, knit garments had been associated with sportswear for women and with workwear for men.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which button-up cardigan is best?

Cardigans are delightfully cozy, comfortable garments that can be worn any time, anywhere. Button-up cardigans in particular are extremely practical, versatile sweaters. They’re not always perfectly on-trend, but the right one never really goes out of style. Whether you like a cardigan with sequins, pearls and glitter, or you prefer something more minimalist, there’s one for everyone. A top choice is the Charter Club Button Up Cardigan.

What to know before you buy a button-up cardigan

Warmth vs. style

Button-up cardigans can come in a variety of styles that provide varying degrees of warmth. A thin acrylic cardigan is probably not going to be as warm as a thick acrylic cardigan. But a thin cashmere or wool cardigan will likely be very warm and function easily as a layering piece. Light cotton cardigans are great for year-round use, as they are comfortable in warm months and easy to layer in cold months.

Knit pattern

Some cardigans have a plain knit, called stockinette. Others might have lacework, cabling or ribbing. If you need a more practical sweater that is very warm, definitely avoid lacework. If you want a cardigan that is more decorative though, any kind of added texture will look beautiful. A plain knit can provide a great background for your outfit’s accessories.

Buttons vs. open front

Stylistically, a button-up cardigan is a very classic piece. They’re easy to incorporate into almost any wardrobe because they come in a variety of styles. From a practical standpoint, the buttons also help you stay warmer. They’re more versatile than a zipper because you can unbutton them as needed to help your body regulate its temperature. Open-front cardigans are nice as a casual, light garment, but if you would prefer something a little more practical, a button-up is a great choice.

What to look for in a quality button-up cardigan


Most likely you’ll want your cardigan to be versatile enough to be worn on its own or layered depending on the time of year and the weather. Think about what shirts you’ll want to layer your cardigan over. A button-up cardigan in a slimmer fit will not be very comfortable over any shirts with thicker sleeves, since they’ll get bunched up. If you plan to wear it over mostly sleeveless or slim-fit tops though, it can look very sleek and polished. However, if it’ll be worn over bulkier shirts, consider sizing up or getting a cardigan that is meant to be worn loose.


Knit fabrics are going to be stretchy even without any elastic, simply by the nature of the material. But some cardigans will have elastic added to help them retain their shape. Just be mindful that the elastic will lose its shape over time if you expose it to high heat in a washing machine and dryer. Otherwise consider getting a cardigan in a natural material like cotton, which will be very breathable.


Even button-up cardigans that are similar in style will have very different color options. Depending on what your wardrobe currently looks like, you might want to go with a straightforward neutral button-up or try a fun, bright color. Consider something that provides an interesting visual contrast to what you already own, especially if you’re feeling a bit bored with your clothes lately.

How much you can expect to spend on a button-up cardigan

An affordable button-up cardigan will cost $20-$40.

Button-up cardigan FAQ

How do you wash a button-up cardigan?

A. Check the instructions on the tag, as the care will depend on the materials. In general, though, cotton and synthetic materials can be washed in a machine, but gently and in warm or cold water only. Lay them flat to dry on a clean towel, as hanging them will stretch them out. Always wash them in lingerie bags so the buttons don’t snag on anything during the wash cycle.

What makes a sweater a cardigan?

A. A cardigan is just a sweater that is open in the front. As you can imagine, this means there are many different kinds. Button-up cardigans are open-front sweaters that can be fastened closed with buttons. 

What’s the best button-up cardigan to buy?

Top button-up cardigan

Charter Club Button Up Cardigan

Charter Club Button Up Cardigan

What you need to know: This cardigan, designed especially for Macy’s, is classic and minimalist enough to fit into any wardrobe.

What you’ll love: Made from a blend of nylon and rayon, Charter Club’s crewneck cardigan is designed to fit slightly large. This means you can size it up or down for your ideal fit.

What you should consider: It only goes up to size 2XL and some colors may not be accurately reflected online.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top button-up cardigan for the money

Yemak Women’s Cropped Cardigan Sweater

Yemak Women’s Cropped Cardigan Sweater

What you need to know: Yemak makes cute, affordable sweaters in a variety of fun colors.

What you’ll love: This cropped cardigan is meant to sit at the waist for a flattering fit. It’s perfect as a spring and summer cardigan to wear over fit-and-flare dresses. Size up for a more casual fit.

What you should consider: It only goes up to size XL and runs small.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Qualfort Men’s Cardigan Sweater

Qualfort Cardigan Sweater

What you need to know: Made of 100% cotton, this sweater is lightweight and soft to the touch.

What you’ll love: Qualfort’s cardigan is designed for comfort, but it can also elevate any casual look. It has two pockets and a V-neck, making it perfect for showing off a nice shirt.

What you should consider: It goes up to size 3XL but runs a bit small for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Eve Jones writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.