WIW 11.21 [ensemble: the dramatic maxi cardigan]

After seeing Angie's fun ensemble post with the maxi cardigans this morning, I took one look at the gloomy wet weather outside and was all-in for the casual version. I've had this sweater for years and years, though it's not gotten much wear this decade; it's vintage (early 70s?) and is one of the few pieces I've just never been able to let go of. I have been thinking all season about how to update the collar of this sweater to make it feel more current, and today realized that I could just fold it underneath. Easy peasy! Of course today I popped a giant scarf over the top so that's moot. Styled with the scarf/tee/jeans/booties ensemble combo.

Now I do realize that this is just about Volume To The Max and that it won't be everyone's cuppa. Being careful about the structure locations is really key here; this combo could easily swamp me, and probably does to some eyes. I was perfectly happy in it but certainly understand if others wouldn't be. So! Structure: I chose my shorter BF jeans because I knew that by rolling them up higher and exposing a little ankle it would add some structure; I added black knee-high dress socks to draw particular attention to that (plus for all the bookending lovers, along with the heathered charcoal tee which you can barely see, it adds a little bookending flair). Very refined, pointy, heeled booties also adds some, and the higher contrast brings even more attention to that structure point. Putting my hair up adds some more, choosing a scarf that's somewhat stiff actually adds a little as well, and the stiffer angular clutch adds the last bit of structure.

The scarf is tied in the "Split Muffler" method but folded asymmetrically to start with and left much longer; I also pushed the ends underneath to help keep everything from moving around. Accessorized simply because, well, it kind of makes enough of a statement already: just oversized crystal studs for a little sparkle, rusty red-orange lipstick to add a little extra color pop, and my biggest sunnies to keep with the scale of the rest of the outfit. No coat necessary today as it warmed up considerably, plus this is super duper cozy.

  Newer: scarf, earrings, clutch
  Older: tee, cardigan (vintage), jeans, booties

FWIW I'm 5'3", so this look is certainly wearable by petites. You just have to find a cardigan that works on your frame. Of course, it needn't be as crazy-dramatic as this one, high drama is just part of my style ;) EDIT: This outfit also draws the eye vertically particularly strongly. The light bits (scarf, booties) sandwiched between the dark bits (hair, tee, socks) coupled with the scarf left loooong and the cardigan being loooong all go a long way (hah!) to help with optical length.

Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • tricia w. replied 8 years ago

    5'3" ! From all of your posts, I thought you were closer to 5'10"!  I'm really impressed with your styling skills.

  • deb replied 8 years ago

    Love this!

  • jackiec replied 8 years ago

    WOohoo!!! Super fun, Aida!!! Love this. Yes! The large scarf makes a grand statement, as does the uber long maxi cardi. Love the shot of white with the booties. FAB. Your hair tied back reigns in the flowiness and adds structure. Love.

  • Karie replied 8 years ago

    I love, love, love this! That vintage sweater is super fabulous. The light booties look superb with the light parts in the scarf. I would wear this in a NY Minute!

  • amiable replied 8 years ago

    Aak - Gorgeous!  I so want to copy (just need the giant scarf and the long sweater, haha!)

  • replied 8 years ago

    So fab and dramatic! Your structure tips all definitely work, because my eye is satisfied as I scan the outfit top to bottom. I have a length of knitted boucle fabric in a heathered purple and was thinking of making a long cardigan. Now I'm really inspired!

  • Aquamarine replied 8 years ago

    Yes, this totally works to my eye. You do manage to look very tall here :-) I am curious about the collar on the cardigan...

  • frannieb replied 8 years ago

    Love how you walk us through all the thinking in the outfit. Looks great to me.

  • crutcher replied 8 years ago

    I,too, thought you were taller...The dramatic look of the large scarf plus cardigan is just so chic...I would definitely see you coming and notice the entire outfit...Great choice...

  • kellygirl replied 8 years ago

    Love this! Way to show us shorties how to wear the maxi sweater! Great light footwear here too. I'm taking notes :)

  • replied 8 years ago

    Nice!  I like the idea of light boots with dark socks - a lot.  I 'd wear this - and the only thing I would do different for me would be to do a much smaller scarf and wear it more inside the sweater rather than on top. But, that's a totally personal visual thing.  That's a perfect, great cozy sweater and I don't think it overwhelms at all!  

  • Astrid replied 8 years ago

    I love this look! You look great, I really like the big scarf with the long cardigan.

  • Marilyn replied 8 years ago

    Nice!  Great lesson in volume and structure.  This petite is inspired.

  • Louise replied 8 years ago

    I love this, the white booties with black socks is wonderful though when I read it I was unsure but the picture shows it to be fab x

  • milehighstyle (Linda) replied 8 years ago

    So so great and I never would have thought you were 5'3" either. I need to try this look.

  • Jaime replied 8 years ago

    So well done, including your explanation of what is adding to the visual length of this outfit. You really finessed the scarf big, bold sweater combination wonderfully here Aida! The shoes are perfect to bookend the scarf. Impressive!

  • Lisa replied 8 years ago

    What a dramatic long cardigan, you should sport it more often!

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thank you for all the lovely comments and feedback! I expected this to be a less loved look, I'm pleasantly surprised. Quite enjoyed wearing this outfit, but was unprepared for how totally warm and toasty it was; I'll definitely be pulling this combo back out once winter really sets in! Thinking of picking up another one these gigantic scarves -- it was like wearing a warm blanket all day ^^

    Diane, a maxi purple boucle cardigan sounds wonderfully cozy!

    Aquamarine, I managed to dig up an old photo that shows the collar.

  • rachylou replied 8 years ago

    Too cool for skool. Fabulous cardigan. Fabulous scarf.


  • Sveta replied 8 years ago

    Such a nice vintage save! Excellent thought about the collar styling to modernize it too.
    I was surprised how much I like this look on you Aida. You make it totally cool and totally you!
    Rocking it, little sis! :-)

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thank you Rachy and Sveta! :D

  • replied 8 years ago

    And here I thought that cardigan was going to be sweeping the ground! It's very much in scale for your height, and I think it looks very good on you. Great job mixing vintage and modern, while throwing in a cutting edge trend!

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    You look amazing in this! What a clever save of the sweater -- it looks so cozy. This is not at all too much volume to my eye -- you have reined it very nicely with a bit of ankle and the taper of the jeans. Sensational with the oversized scarf! 

  • Beth Ann replied 8 years ago

    Oh, I do remember those sweaters!  I love the color play between the scarf and cardi.  The fit in back is nicely drapey.  That's the sticking point (literally) for me.  My booty can look like it's dancing underneath my sweater as I walk.  Sigh.  I just ordered a cocoon long sweater from Nordies.  That shape tends to curve out over the dancing behind.  I'll have to try it with a big scarf like yours!

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thank you Claire, Suz, and Beth Ann!

    Claire, I thought that when I first read the blog post title too! Some of them certainly are that long, but the shortest length (at the knee) is a safe option for a shortie like me. Actually, I think this length is probably going to be the "most flattering" for this style of long sweater across the board, but if one has the extra real estate to wear the longer styles that'll be more fashion forward.

    Beth Ann, hah actually I also have that issue ^^ It's a big part of why I almost never wear tunics, and why nearly all of my jackets are hip length or shorter. The knit on this sweater is just so heavy that it seems to pull itself down and hang nicely; my thinner gauge long cardigans stick the way you described. I've found that the super gauzy type doesn't stick as much because it's busy floating around behind you ethereally ;)

  • replied 8 years ago

    Nice to know the tips for getting these long cardigans not to cling. I'll look for you in your ethereal cloud!

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    This is a very fun dramatic sweater look. I would not guess that the sweater was vintage, as the shape seems to be right on trend. I'd like to see the collar that you covered up, since you mentioned it. But you can show us again, because I hope you'll wear the cardigan again this season. I really love the clutch with this outfit--something about that pattern just plays so well with the scarf and cardigan.

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