I ordered Naadam’s sustainably made Balloon Sleeve cardigan, and I know what you’re thinking: “S? You feeling OK?”
I get it. My long-stated position is that I’m NOT a cardigan girl (I think it was the combined six years of nursing that did me in), so why on earth would I buy a cardigan? In a soft lilac color no less?
Well. Have I mentioned the matching shorts?
We’re also going through that annoying spring transition weather over in Philly where one minute it’s hot, the next it’s freezing, so layers are pretty crucial. As I *may* have mentioned before, we are doing some renovations on our house that have–unexpectedly–taken much MUCH longer to finish than planned, with the net result being that I’ve been living out of the same suitcase I packed FOR VERMONT in JANUARY.
So yeah: pretty spring layers were not packed for a Northern Vermont winter.
How I’m Styling This Lavender Balloon-Sleeve Cardigan (Hint: It Works Like A Neutral)
Which brings me to Naadam’s Textured Balloon Sleeve cardigan. It was part impulse buy (matching shorts!) and part necessity (sick of turtleneck sweaters!) but has been a pleasant surprise. Not only is the cardigan soft and cozy (like most of Naadam’s pieces), but it can be worn as a shirt OR a cardigan, giving it a bit more life.
I tried on a few of the colors, but the light lavender, especially when paired with the shorts, was just more fun (and flattering on my pale, still-winter skin). The lavender was a welcome break after months (and months and months) of the same black turtleneck sweater. Surprisingly, the light purple works more like a neutral than I expected. There’s something about the icy, lilac color that looks especially good with gray and black, making it a really solid choice when transitioning a winter wardrobe into summer.
The cardigan is also sustainably made from a blend of cotton and modal (with a bit of cashmere thrown in). I machine wash it on cold, lay flat to dry.
The sizing is pretty TTS. I’m wearing my usual size small.
Cardigan Outfit 1 | Add Matching Shorts For An Elevated Lounging-At-Home Outfit
cardigan (small) | shorts (small) | birkenstocks
This whole outfit feels like a welcome break from the two pairs of black joggers I’ve been wearing allllllllllllll winter. This outfit is enough to wear all day, but easily cute enough to run to the grocery store in.
Fit Notes: These shorts are just loose and easy, and fit is TTS. You can’t tell from this pic, but the colorblocked Birkenstocks have a cool, black detail on the sides that ground the lighter colors, and make them really versatile.
Cardigan Outfit 2 | Style As A Cozy Shirt (Tucks In Nicely, Too)
cardigan (small) | jeans (26) | bag | shoes
If there’s any sort of need to look cute, this look has become my go-to. Obviously I swap out sneakers for heels for everyday, but if Mike and I are grabbing drinks around the corner…this is usually what I’m wearing. I LOVE the sexy deep v.
Fit Notes: The jeans are my longtime favs, rag & bone Mayas. I’m wearing the ‘Aquarius’ wash, which is almost sold out, but this classic (yet distressed) wash is also really good, and on sale. Also, can we take a moment to note that lavender is absolutely gorgeous with the oxblood bag? This color combo is my new favorite spring pairing.
Cardigan Outfit 3 | Wear It Stylishly Open, Without Looking Dowdy
cardigan (small) | cami (s) | jeans (26) | bag | shoes
If I do, however, want to show off a silky little cami, this cardigan does function nicely as…a cardigan *gasp*. The deep v-neckline works to our advantage, giving almost that slinky, slipping-off-the-shoulder vibe.
Fit Notes: I’m a longtime fan of Cami NYC’s 100% silk camis, and this banana print one is great. There’s something so versatile about a black-and-white print. Mine is almost sold out, but there’s also a b/w gingham silk cami, or try Equipment’s b/w star cami. The jeans are some of my new favs: sustainably made Re/Done (which explains the perfect wash and cool knee-rip). This is Re/Done’s ’70s straight-leg jean, and I’m wearing a size 26. The fit is TTS.
Cardigan Outfit 4 | Layer It Lightly Over A Boyish Tee
cardigan (small) | tee (similar) | jeans (26) | bag | shoes
Frankly, this fact was the one that sealed the deal. When I realized that the cardigan layered–beautifully–over my bulkier Anine Bing tee, I was SOLD. I love wearing it with one button to better show off the graphic tee detail.
Fit Notes: My Anine Bing tee is sold out, but her classic tiger tee will always be in stock. I love the boyish fit, and am wearing a size small.
Cardigan Outfit 5 | Knot It Over A Dress (It’s Long Enough)
cardigan (small) | dress (size 1) | bag | shoes
It’s tricky to get the proportions right when layering a cardigan over a dress, but I find that most of the time, shorter is better. In general, if you can show off the waist of a dress, it’ll work. (For tent-shaped dresses you’ve gotta go either really long or cropped.) In any case, for this dress (Good American’s ribbed midi dress), which is body-hugging, knotting the cardigan at the waist results in a perfectly proportioned (and practical) look.
Fit notes: Good American’s ribbed midi dress is almost sold out at Nordstrom, but is also available at Shopbop (in extended sizes, too). Obviously, the best size selection is on Good American’s website, here. I found that it runs TTS. I’m wearing a size 1, and it’s a bit snug, but holds me in nicely (comfortable, too).
Cardigan Outfit 6 | Make Workout Gear Pass As A Real Outfit
cardigan (small) | tee (small) | leggings (4) | birkenstocks
I’ve been throwing this cardigan on over my workout gear and running out the door to dance class. I give this outfit a big ol’ GOOD ENOUGH.
Thoughts? Since we’re still basically suitcase living, I’ve been mostly just ordering new stuff for spring and summer and then, once inevitably disappointed, returning it. I literally have no room to keep anything that’s not going to get routine, weekly wear, and I’m finding that most of my purchases lately have been…a bummer. So back they go. This cardigan, however, has been an easy win. I have a feeling it’ll work at the beach over a swimsuit (for the cooler nights in June, at least). Has anyone else found a clear winner recently? SPILL.