The 7 Best J.Crew Cardigans, Sweater-Blazers & Coatigans: A Review

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I treasure my luxe Vince sweater-blazer and cardigan-coat, but when it comes to searching for more budget-friendly cardigans, sweater-blazers and coatigans in classic styles and colors, J.Crew is hands-down my top retailer pick. Despite being at a lower price range than Vince, J.Crew offers a huge selection of top layers that still meet my picky requirements for a high-quality look, comfortable feel and smart, classic style.

Year after year, J.Crew gets the midweight, $100 to $200-ish cardigans, sweater-blazers and coatigans (some currently on sale for even less!) JUST right.

Keep scrolling — I’m giving you the nitty-gritty details of seven of the best sweater-blazers and coatigans at J.Crew right now.

A Deep Dive Into The Best J.Crew Cardigans, Sweater-Blazers & Coatigans: Pros + Cons

Last year, after a similar try-on and review, I landed on the Eloise sweater-blazer as the best top layer for adding instant polish to everyday pieces. It’s still absolutely fantastic for that purpose.

For this fall and winter, my top pick for a sweater-blazer is the Ella open-front, long sweater-blazer. I love the long lines and rich walnut color of mine (below), but it also comes in a beautifully subtle pale pink and, of course, the “never-go-wrong” classic black.

For this fall + winter, my top pick for a sweater-blazer is the Ella open-front sweater-blazer. I love the long lines & rich walnut color.

sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag

And the most exciting change to J.Crew’s lineup this year? More shades of brown and tan (love it!) and a wider variety of oversized styles (also love it!). 

left: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag
right: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (S) | pants (29P) | clogs | bag

Coatigans: My Fave Top Layer For Fall + Early Winter

As I discussed in my Vince cardigan post, I wear cardigan-sweaters, cardigan-blazers, sweater-blazers, cardigan-coats, coatigans…alllll the varieties, allll season long. They’re my go-to top layers basically until there’s snow (which can be pretty late in Philly).

The Vince sweater-blazers and cardigan-coats are undeniably special — and I have yet to find any “true dupes” for these Vince pieces — but J.Crew is absolutely a fantastic alternative if you’re looking for a classic sweater-blazer or cardigan-coat in a lower price range. AND J.Crew’s sales make these top-layers even more reasonable in price; several of the sweater-blazers and cardigans I tried are currently on sale!  

Despite these cardigan coats being in the $100 to $200 range instead of the $400 to $600 range, I’m still quite pleased with the styles and quality. I’ve gotten multiple compliments already on both the Ella and the collared sweater-jacket I’ve been wearing on repeat to school pickup. 

7 J.Crew Cardigans, Sweater-Blazers & Coatigans: The Nitty-Gritty Details

This year, I tried seven different J.Crew cardigans, coatigans and sweater-blazers, with three basic outfits each, to give you a look at how they compare. And, of course, I have some opinions about the fit, feel, colors and look of each…so I included those thoughts as well. 

1. The Best Longline, Midweight Sweater-Blazer: The Ella

I love how the longer lines of this J.Crew sweater-blazer make it feel like you're wearing a robe, but the pockets, lapel & gorg color make it a classic piece that pulls other basics together.

sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag

left: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag
right: sweater-blazer (XS)| top (Xs) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

Pros: The walnut brown is gorgeous! I love how this color pairs with tan, black, white and plum, but I’ve also been wearing it with brighter, more-playful colors as well like this belt bag. The Ella sweater-blazer also comes in a subtle pale pink and classic black. The soft cotton/wool/poly blend isn’t itchy at ALL (feels more like cotton than wool). And I love how the longer lines of this sweater-blazer make it feel like you’re wearing a robe, but the pockets, lapel and gorgeous color make it a classic piece that pulls other basics together. I’m a fan of the midweight heaviness because it’s comfortable over a tee on warmer days or inside, but it can also be worn over a thick sweater on cooler days.

Cons: If you’re looking for a super-cold-weather coatigan top layer to wear outside, this isn’t for you. It’s definitely midweight and not REALLY warm. Warm enough for me over a thick sweater on cold days outside, but I tend to run hot.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan-coats (5’2″, 138 pounds for reference). I’m wearing an XS here, and the fit is still oversized. Happy with my sizing choice (even with thick sweaters worn underneath).

2. The Best “Relaxed With A Polished Vibe” Sweater-Blazer: The Cecile

J.Crew's Cecile sweater-blazer is soft + comfy cotton/wool/poly blend, & it comes in a fab selection of colors.

sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag

left: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag
right: sweater-blazer (XS)| top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag

Pros: The Cecile sweater-blazer is similar to the style of the beloved Eloise, but with the fabulous addition of a clean, simple single button and patch pockets. Soft and comfortable cotton/wool/poly blend and a fabulous selection of colors. It comes in the Heather Walnut color I’m wearing in the Ella, the khaki I’m wearing above, as well as a beautiful navy, burgundy, Heather Dove and black.

Cons: The button doesn’t lie quite right on me when worn closed, but I’m 99% sure it’s a sizing issue. I definitely should have gotten a S for the more relaxed feel the Cecile is supposed to have.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). Wearing an XS here, but I should have gotten the S for the proper slightly oversized fit.

3. The Best Color Variety In A Sweater-Blazer: The Juliette

The style of J.Crew's Juliette sweater-blazer isn't too exciting, but it's a great, unstructured classic that's often the answer when you’re looking for a top layer on a slightly cool day.

collarless sweater-blazer (XS) | top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag

left: collarless sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag
right: collarless sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

Pros: Last year, the Juliette sweater-blazer was my top pick for most versatile. The style isn’t anything super-exciting, but it’s a great classic, unstructured sweater-blazer that’s often the answer when you’re looking for just the right top layer on a slightly cool day. This year, I’m most excited about the Juliette’s color options. I’m wearing the Cedar Wood, which is beautiful in person paired with other shades of brown, and I can’t stop thinking about the Evergreen. It also comes in classic Heather Khaki, Heather Dove and black. Soft, non-itchy (feels more like cotton than wool), midweight cotton/wool/poly blend. Great weight for inside or out.

Cons: Especially in the neutral colors, it’s not very exciting…but as I said, it does its job well as a classic go-to top layer. Not super-warm if you’re looking for a top layer for truly cold days.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). The XS fits well, but I’m liking a bit more of an oversized fit this season, so I wish I would’ve at least tried the S to see if it gave me more drape and movement.

4. The Best Sweater-Blazer For A Classic, Darker Look: The Eloise In Black

J.Crew's Eloise sweater-blazer polishes any look you’re wearing & makes even the most basic pieces look more put-together.

sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

left: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag
right: sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag

Pros: This guy INSTANTLY polishes any look you’re wearing and makes even the most basic pieces look a little more put-together. Soft and comfy cotton/wool/poly blend that’s not at all itchy (again, feels more like cotton than wool). J.Crew’s Eloise sweater-blazer is the perfect structured (but not too structured) shape for those of us who don’t typically wear blazers. Nice weight for inside.

Cons: It is what it is — a standard, classic sweater-blazer. Nothing TOO exciting about this one, but it’s still a great closet staple. I only wear this as a top layer outside on warmish fall days…not warm enough for colder days.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). I’m wearing an XS here, and I could have gone with a S for a more oversized fit, but I’m happy with the feel and look of the XS.

5. The Best Sweater-Blazer For A Classic, Lighter Look: The Eloise In Khaki

J.Crew's Eloise sweater-blazer is oft + comfy cotton/wool/poly blend that's not at all itchy (feels more like cotton than wool).

sweater-blazer (XS)| top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag

left: sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag
right: sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

Pros: This guy INSTANTLY polishes any look you’re wearing and makes even the most basic pieces look a little more put-together. Soft and comfy cotton/wool/poly blend that’s not at all itchy (feels more like cotton than wool). J.Crew’s Eloise sweater-blazer is the perfect structured (but not too structured) shape for those of us who don’t typically wear blazers. Nice weight for inside.

Cons: It is what it is — a standard, classic sweater-blazer. Nothing TOO exciting about this one, but it’s still a great closet staple. I only wear this as a top layer outside on warmish fall days…not warm enough for colder days.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). I’m wearing an XS here, and I could have gone with a S for a more oversized fit, but I’m happy with the feel and look of the XS.

6. The Warmest Sweater-Blazer: The Cocoon

The Cocoon sweater-blazer is thicker + warmer than many of the other cardigans + sweater-blazers in J.Crew's line this year.

cocoon sweater-blazer (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag

left: cocoon sweater-blazer (XS) | top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag
right: cocoon sweater-blazer (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

Pros: The Cocoon sweater-blazer is thicker and warmer than many of the other cardigans and sweater-blazers in J.Crew’s line this year — good for colder days or cold offices. And it has a warmer, cozier feel than the Eloise. I liked the Muslin (cream) color in the Cocoon sweater-blazer more than I thought I would! It’s a fun addition if you’re tired of blacks, tans and grays. Also comes in a pretty Mushroom, Graphite and black.

Cons: I wouldn’t say this sweater is itchy, but if you’re at all sensitive to the feel of wool, this is definitely “itchier” to my skin than the other blends. Feels more like wool than the “cottony,” thinner, lighter-weight sweater-blazers. I personally don’t like the style of the Cocoon as much as the others… I can’t decide how best to wear the collar — folded over, up, halfway? — so it feels a little too fussy for me.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). I’m wearing an XS here, and I’m happy with the fit.

7. The Best Sweater-Blazer That Looks Like a Coat: The Collared Sweater-Jacket

I love that the pockets & button detailing give off the vibe of a jacket, but it still has the comfy, unstructured, soft-&-flexible feel of a sweater.

collared sweater-jacket (XS) | top (XS) | denim (29) | clogs | bag

left: collared sweater-jacket (XS) | stripes (XS) | denim (29) | sneakers | bag
right: collared sweater-jacket (XS) | top (S) | pants (28P) | clogs | bag

Pros: I love that the pockets and button detailing give off the vibe of a jacket, but it still has the comfy, unstructured, soft-and-flexible feel of a sweater. Nice midweight that’s similar to the others with the cotton/wool/poly blend, and it can be worn on warmer days over a tee or on cooler days over a thick sweater. This collared sweater-jacket comes in Dark Camel (deeper and richer than my other regular camel sweaters) and Dove.

Cons: This style has been going off and on final sale. I hate final sale. Boo.

Sizing Notes: XXS to 3X available. I typically wear an XS or S in cardigan-coats (5’2, 138 pounds for reference). I’m wearing an XS in these photos, but I exchanged it for a S, which I like better for a more oversized relaxed fit. In the photo at the top of this post, I’m wearing the S.  


Now that my cardigan-coat and sweater-blazer game is totally set, I’m changing gears to start researching puffers. Looking for some easy-to-wear but slightly interesting puffer coats this year as an alternative to the basic Uniqlo puffer that’s been a favorite for years (although, the Uniqlo puffer DOES come in a pretty new blue this year).

I’m definitely a fan of the Everlane ReNew Long Puffer, but my plan is to search and see what other slightly interesting, but not too wild, gems I can find. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Happy coatigan-wearing season to you all!

-Linzi

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Sweater-blazers, cardigans, coatigans are my go-to top layers for fall & winter outfits, & now I'm doing a major deep dive into the fit, feel & colors. Settle in.