How to Style: Basic Cardigan & Pencil Skirt Combo for Work

The J.Crew chiffon cardigans that almost every petite blogger ordered on sale have arrived, and I liked them but didn’t love them. Elle said it simply – the arms are snug but the torso is not fitted.

Worn plainly, it’s nothing to write home about: 
Cardi: J.crew Chiffon-Placket Cardigan sz XXS in “weathered wood” – buy here (sale extended)
This is what one size up (XS) looks on me (XXS sold out in Gold while in my cart…gah!):

I am returning this as it’s too big all around. See the same color in XXS on Vicky.

In the spirit of “making it work,” I spent an hour rifling through my closet for possible pairings, and ended up recording the following video:


Variation # 1 – Tuck it In


Variation # 2 – “X” then Belt




Belt: Ann Taylor Perfect Patent Skinny Belt in Granite, sz S (extra holes punched)
Vintage “Peri” Cameo pendant: eBay
Read Kelly’s analysis of the “X-shape” for cardigans.


Variation # 3 – Open & Accessorized



Readers – Which version is your favorite? Please share your own tips on how to style the cardi & pencil skirt combo : )
When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Kriscq wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 9.6.14 Reply
  2. Johanna wrote:

    So well done! I recently discovered your blog and have had a couple of Ah-ha! moments already! I am very very particular about the fit of my clothes, for the same reasons that you are, and I was so thrilled to learn a couple of your tricks. Thanks so much!

    Posted 5.15.14 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have many ideas to remix my dresses and cardigan after reading this. 🙂 I am loving #2

    Posted 9.3.13 Reply
  4. Ceren B. wrote:

    Thank you ..I add pencil skirts my blog.Please visit.

    Posted 10.17.12 Reply
  5. I love your pencil skirt and I really like the necklaces that complement it. I will probably wear mine all of these ways. Great job styling these!

    Posted 9.13.11 Reply
  6. Rosie wrote:

    Hey! I just noticed this cardigan is still in stock on in 4 colors in XXS for $30.

    You've inspired me to try look #2 tomorrow.

    Posted 2.2.11 Reply
  7. Christina wrote:

    I bought this cardigan in weathered wood as well and wasn't really impressed with it. Unfortunately, it was final sale + I was stuck with it (I considered giving it to my mom!) but now I think I'll keep it!

    I tried #1 this morning and it looks great! I'm just as curvy as I am petite & I think this is a good look/fit for my frame. #3 also looks like a classic look. Thanks!! 🙂

    Posted 1.26.11 Reply
  8. Justine wrote:

    I think my favorite is #3 then #2
    The pictures aren't showing up on my screen. I only see the Flicker in place of the pictures

    Just Better Together

    Posted 1.9.11 Reply
  9. C. wrote:

    Wow, the video tutorial is so informative, thank you! Really appreciate the thorough explanations, and I'm fascinated by the "X" approach. New fan! 🙂


    Posted 1.3.11 Reply
  10. unee cakes wrote:

    the belt and over accessorize are great ideas! i always have trouble as to how to wear a skirt properly.. especially pencil skirts! i need to go invest in more belts now! 🙂

    Posted 1.2.11 Reply
  11. Sandy – it will probably go on sale further in the less popular colors

    Jamie – thank you for reading! I'm glad it was helpful : D

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  12. @Rainy Days and Lattes Glad you liked it, Jen!

    @Anonymous Hi there! Apparently this depends on what city/town you live in, but in NYC and Boston it's quite common for women to commute in boots and flats, then change into pumps which are left at work. If it's snowing/raining I wear wear black rainboots (from Dav, frequently found on sample sale sites). If it's just plain cold I'll wear uggs, or if it's normal weather I'll wear tory burch flats (which I find at the end of seasons on sale) for commuting. All the women I work with do the same, but apparently in non-city places it's quite unusual to commute in certain shoes then change into nicer ones later. Hope this helps!

    @I am Khatu Welcome back! It's in early – mid Jan, hosted by Cynthia of Shorty Stories. Check the AlterationsNeeded forum for exact details : )

    @Gjee Aww, you are a sweetheart but NOT TRUE at all ; )

    @*ms.angela89* Ah I can see your point…I'm not too shrewd on finding colors that match my skintone lol : ) Hopefully this will look a little better with some summer glow! I had to stay out of the sun for about one year and it was painful to do…

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  13. @yuri chung Hi Yuri! I'm very sorry but the XS in gold is gone…maybe one of the other petite bloggers may be selling it!

    @Ping Lol! The secret is low-quality videos uploaded on to Youtube. On my computer the hair does not look silky…after it is pixelated from being uploaded onto YT there are suddenly new dimensions of shine.

    @Cat at UW Sure did…I think a skinny-med might be the winner. I added on a wide belt and it looked a little too segmented…like top, middle, and bottom.

    @Anonymous Hi there! I reviewed the jackie cardigan a while back in regular XS (I can see how the XXS would be a perfect fit on tiny petites) and it was small. It's just a bit plain…I'm hunting for pieces that have more punch but are still semi classic, like this ruffle cardi. I wear plain skirts and plain pants, and sadly don't have too many print/patterned tops, so another plain Jackie cardigan would send it over the top to plain-dome.

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  14. @Cee Done and done…pearls & belt with tucked in sweater : )

    @samanthaloves Thank you Samantha! It really depends on the cardigan length too..easy to be come overwhelmed by longer cardis or stumped by shorter cardis.

    @PetiteXXS Can't wait to see them on you…the Gold wasn't exactly like mustard yellow…if you like the GOld you must continue looking for a true mustard yellow cardi…my favorite!

    @Annapurna Enjoyed your commentary as always. You should have started that blog earlier…come March-April you will be back in the grind of non-pregnant clothes. Have you tried F21 maternity online? I know it sounds awful but it seems like a nice economical option for the latter months of pregnancy.

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  15. @Elle lol!!! I love your mom. According to Sydney those sweaters are now an extra 50% off lol…so probably $10. I wanted to buy for my mom too but couldn't find anything bigger than an XS regular.

    @Callandra Can't wait to see how you style yours! It should definitely be more fitted on you, but then the arms might be too slim.

    @Ada Thank you for your comment, Ada! Happy to help and have fun slowly building up your wardrobe and adding fun pieces to it.

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  16. @Petiteélégant I have yet to find a fitted pencil skirt that doesn't need alterations of some sort. The 00P was too big in the waist and hips.

    @Kellie haha…in HS I loved tiny panties…now I gravitate towards boy shorts and spanx-like…gotta combat gravity!

    @AubreyOhDang! Jess/stylepint suggested that too…I definitely agree a belt spices it up but I wanted to save that tip for #2 and #3 lol. So glad you got the puncher. I wasn't sure wehther you did or not so I punched your j.crew belt for you…hope that's ok!

    @Petite Mom Good idea! And little peanut looks adorable in your profile pic : )

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  17. Thank you guys for all your lovely comments and suggestions!

    @Vicky That's strange…it has to be where you're standing relative to the sun. The sun does not pour in through my windows so there are no shadows.

    @R this R or RL? Sorry I was confused : ) And ah, yes it would be very hard to wear a long sleeve top under this cardi. I never do tho…always sleeveless shells. I'm sorry it didn't work out!

    @Yvette Hi Yvette! Sorry for my late response but yes the sleeves of the XS were a little longer than the XXS (I laid them on top of one another to compare), but you can scrunch it up easily because the sleeves are so fitted/slim, it will stay up.

    @Stylepint Great tips Jess…I agree with the belt added for #1. I had it there but wanted to save the belt tip for #2 and #2 to not be too redundant…lol! I'll have to be more keen about where the long pearls end. I see what you mean : )

    Posted 12.22.10 Reply
  18. jamie wrote:

    Thank you so much for this WONDERFUL post. <3 It gave me lots of good ideas and solutions, things I've never thought of before.

    Posted 12.21.10 Reply
  19. i love love love #2 and #3!!! i think belts are such a great accessory!! and that cardigan is super cute… and cheap too!! i might just have to buy myself one!!

    Posted 12.21.10 Reply
  20. That color cardigan doesn't match you. :/ I think you look best in lighter warm colors like purple,pinks,and blues. That orangey color just washes out your face. But that's just my opinion. You always know how to work your pieces of clothing together. 🙂 You give me tips to dress up my skirts with tops.

    I like style number 2. Cute with a simple belt.

    Posted 12.21.10 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?