The best black cardigan

Megan Oster

The closures on a black cardigan fall into one of two categories: zipper or buttons. A zipper closure has a more modern look and gives you the ability to open or close the sweater quickly. Cardigans with button closures are widely available and have a classic aesthetic.

While certain details have changed throughout the years, the cardigan sweater has become an item of clothing many people can’t imagine living without. These sweaters are especially handy for layering during the change of seasons or from day to night. Black cardigans in particular are versatile and a great investment because they complement so many clothing items. 

The most remarkable aspect of the Charter Club Button Cardigan might be how understated it is. This sweater has a classic aesthetic created by simple lines, a crew neck and slightly fitted silhouette. 

What to know before you buy a black cardigan

How it’ll look with your other clothes 

The large variety of cardigan styles for both men and women make it possible to find the sweater that’ll best complement your wardrobe. Before beginning your search, consider the look you’re striving for. Do you want to wear the cardigan as part of a casual or more formal outfit? What colors and styles of tops and bottoms will you wear under it? What’s your personal fashion sense? Since in most cases you’ll wear the sweater with a top rather than solo, your other clothing figures heavily into the equation. 

Don’t forget about keeping your feet toasty warm, too. Boots look great with a black cardigan. Frye boots are the perfect pick for your sweater. 

Patterns vs. solid colors

While the majority of black cardigans are designed in a solid color scheme, some include a pattern of some sort. It might be as subtle as contrasting details on the pockets or the neckline trim. Black patterned cardigans can be quite eye-catching; just make sure the patterns will work with the rest of your wardrobe. 

Open-front vs. closures 

Open-front black cardigans are designed to be worn open all the time. For this reason, they don’t have a zipper or buttons. An open-front cardigan allows you to show off the shirt or dress underneath to full extent. Keep in mind that closing these sweaters isn’t an option. If this bothers you, then a cardigan with a zipper or buttons might be a better choice. 

Black cardigan features


The material from which a black cardigan is made determines the level of insulation it provides. Acrylic, cashmere and wool are among the warmest used in the production of sweaters. Materials like cotton are lightweight in terms of warmth, making them more suitable for seasonal transitions or climates that are warm year-round. 


Women’s cardigans are designed with more length options than men’s, but men have some choices. Women can select from the following lengths:

  • Duster: hits at the ankles
  • Longline: hits at the thighs
  • Classic: hits at the hips
  • Cropped (also called a shrug): hits above the waist

The length of most men’s cardigans is hip-length or thigh-length. However, a small number fall to the knees. This length is a great option for men who prefer a modern, edgy look. 


The go-to sleeve length for the majority of cardigans is one that ends at the wrists. That said, some have three-quarter sleeves or short sleeves. 


The closures on a black cardigan fall into one of two categories: zipper or buttons. A zipper closure has a more modern look and gives you the ability to open or close the sweater quickly. Cardigans with button closures are widely available and have a classic aesthetic. 

Black cardigan cost 

You can expect to pay anywhere from $35-$125 for a black cardigan constructed of high-quality materials. 

Black cardigan FAQ

Is it OK to wear a black cardigan with navy blue pants?

A. Black and navy are rarely a complementary color pairing. In general, you should avoid wearing them together. The two colors are not similar enough to be considered identical, but too similar to complement each other. Lighter shades of blue look very nice with black. In fact, the lighter the shade of blue, the better it complements black. 

What’s the difference between a men’s cardigan and a women’s cardigan?

A. The fit of the sweater is the main differentiator between the two. Women’s cardigans are designed to fit more closely to the contours of the body. These sweaters are intended to highlight a woman’s curves. They’re also made for a dainty frame. Men’s cardigans, on the other hand, have a broad and boxy cut through the shoulder and chest. As a result, the fit is relaxed and tends to fit loosely. 

Which black cardigan should I get?

Best of the best black cardigan

Charter Club Button Cardigan: available at Macy’s

Our take: Get versatility and a polished look when you style this classic cardigan with your other clothes. 

What we like: Designed with simple lines, this understated cardigan sweater is timeless. It complements many tops, pants, skirts and dresses. You can push the long sleeves up or wear them full-length. The crew neck pairs well with a large variety of clothing styles. 

What we dislike: The fabric blend was the most consistently cited issue, with wearers reporting that the quality of the material deteriorated quickly. 

Best bang for your buck black cardigan

JM Collection Open-Front Cardigan: available at Macy’s

Our take: Decorative gold buttons on the sleeves and two pockets at the front elevate the style and comfort level of this chic cardigan.

What we like: Long, sleek lines create a streamlined silhouette that’ll help lengthen your figure. The hem hits at mid-thigh. A shawl collar lays neatly against the open front. Five gold-tone buttons on the cuff of each full-length sleeve add sophisticated flair. Two roomy pockets give you a place to carry small items. 

What we dislike: A handful of buyers say the material developed issues after just a few washes. 

Honorable mention black cardigan

Alfani Men's Ribbed Full-Zip Sweater, Classic Fit: available at Macy’s

Our take: If you’re searching for a cardigan sweater that has a tailored look and looks equally good with casual or dressed-up attire, this one fits the bill. 

What we like: Constructed of 100% cotton, this cardigan is made to last. It also has a polished aesthetic, courtesy of the streamlined full-zip placket and contrast tipping on the hand pockets. Ribbing on the front panel, collar, cuffs, pockets and hem add interest. The stand collar adds an element of sophistication. 

What we dislike: Quality and an unflattering fit were the two most common complaints.

Megan Oster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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