Whatever happened to the shrug cardigan? I had a black one that was basically the cornerstone of all of my going-out looks in the aughts — it was sort of thin and drapey and just basically covered my arms and upper back — and then we all just stopped wearing them. And replaced them with…what?
GUYS. What replaced the shrug??
[S riffles through pages and pages of old articles….]
Pashmina? I think that one actually died first (and tragically — I’m still a fan).
The grandpa cardigan? Doubtful. For every dress that *might* work with a grandpa cardi, it ruins eight others, so…I’m going with no.
A leather jacket? Possibly, but I don’t want to wear the thing inside (faux-fur jackets have the same limitations).
One of those long and drapey Free People cardigans? I mean…sure. If you don’t need an actual jacket because then you’re stuffing all of that fabric into something much smaller or letting it trail beneath. Or you’re buying a coat for that very specific instance and I don’t see us all walking around in oversized duster coats.
But seriously…what have we been doing to stay warm and be fancy?
According to The Mom Edit archives, I’ve been wearing a turtleneck. Which makes sense, I suppose. I nursed for a total of almost 6 years (42 in dog years #wildlyunhelpfulmath), got a mad case of cardigan PTSD, turned to the turtleneck and never looked back.
Well. Until now.
An Argument For The Cropped Cardigan (aka Shrug)
Besides, it’s February which is The Month of Hating Everything In Your Closet Or More Accurately On The Floor of Your Closet Covered In Dog Hair And Despair (we don’t have a dog, but I included for dramatic effect, because, FEBRUARY)…so why not go back (wayyyy back) to a simpler time, when a girl could just wear a shrug and be done with it?
Warning: the shrug I’m wearing is almost sold out.
I told you guys to snap it up. I did, here. Proof. But if you didn’t quite listen, I found a few places that seem to have some sizes/colors in stock…along with one other shrug that looks like my old one, but in navy. (I’ve rounded up a few additional cropped cardigans at the end of this post which are NOT shrugs, I KNOW, but might work.)
The Best Shrugs For All The Dresses
One Shrug, Styled Three Ways
Just for fun, I’ve styled up this shrug three different ways, including over two trickier dresses. I think shrugs work so well because the shape lends them a bit more…elegance?…than the typical cardigan, but they’re still, fundamentally, a cardigan.
Outfit 1. Shrug + Slip Dress
I’ve been wearing this slip dress over — you guessed it — a turtleneck lately (or a white tee)…but I’m kinda loving the shrug. Sexier, for sure.
Outfit 2. Shrug + Swing Dress
Now THIS is where a shrug really shines. I absolutely adore this dress (in no small part because it is SO. COMFORTABLE. TO. WEAR.), but I’ve been wearing it alone, just under a jacket. I love that the shrug works, even over the statement sleeves.
Outfit 3. Shrug + High-Rise Jeans
I love how the shorter shrug so easily warms up high-rise denim. Graphic tees + mom jeans (of any kind) are my go-to pairing, but they never look quite as good if the waist isn’t shown off properly.
Shop Shrugs & Cardigans
A Few Other Cardigans That Aren’t Shrugs, But Might(??) Work Over Dresses
I did include the shrugs in here, too, for comparison purposes. But in general, for a cardigan to work well over *most* dresses, I think a cropped shape and a little more room in the arms (well, under the arms) is key.