Looking for a breezy summer cardigan

I’m looking for a lightweight breezy cardigan or wrap to cover my arms in the summer, but still cool enough I’m not roasting in the 90 to 100 degree F heat. I would like to wear more tanks this summer and throw something on when I need it. 

I love this full length Ralph Lauren cardigan duster, but it’s beyond what I’m willing to spend, so I’m looking at this XCVI shorter version. What do you recommend for someone who likes to cover their arms, and have you seen anything in the stores recently that fits the bill? Do you wear cardigans, a light wrap, a scarf or something else in the summer?

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.


  • Sal replied 1 year ago

    Oh I do know the gap Lana and went around in circles for a couple of years. 

    I now wear mostly these jackets below, mostly the denim and gold. 

    I haven't got the right cardigan at the moment.  If it is simple tanks lots of cardigans and jackets will work but if you have woven blouses etc it can be harder to wear thin cardigans on the top.

    I have considered a poncho as well - I like wraps but I am a bit impatient and I find they move around and look a bit messy on me.  

    The white lace is very pretty!

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Thanks Sal, I wonder if the lace would look like I’m wearing a very large doily?!?! LOL. Maybe this linen jacket will work if it ever comes back in stock. 

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    I also have a light blue linen moto,  But in the heat I won’t want to wear either of these. 

  • Sal replied 1 year ago

    I think the shorter one would be easier to style than the longer.  I don't think it would look too doily like....but it's all the styling. 

    You could wear a cupcake print t-shirt as an inside joke....(just joking of course).

    I see this is similar to Janet's new and older crochet tops so you could check out her posts for inspiration.

    I don't wear my kimono as much as I used to (its about eight or nine years old) but it's a good piece to have for that very reason.  I added a second one a couple of years after the first but I decided that the first was better and donated the second after a couple of seasons.

  • Style Fan replied 1 year ago

    I have been looking for something like this. My denim and green field jackets are too warm in summer, but I can't find a lighter topper.
    Angie posted this poncho as a Top Pick. I am still looking at it. I need something with more structure because I wear loose pants.
    Anthro has some lovely summer toppers.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Hahahhha Sal that is hilarious!  I would love to find a kimono I loved but just haven’t yet. That would be a fun solution since I wear a lot of solids.  

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Style Fan I’ll let you know if I find anything, please do the same for me? I’ll check out anthro and free people too. I agree about the structure, I tend to wear looser fit bottoms in the summer too. 

  • slim cat replied 1 year ago

    I did white linen cardigan last summer but prefer to wear open rayon shirts over tank tops as a lightweight option ( short sleeves or longer sleeves rolled up ). Last time I found something useful  - it was from Marshall's.

  • kkards replied 1 year ago

    I have a linen cardigan similar to ths one from white and Warren 

    This one from Garnett hill looks promising 

    And this one looks arty but wearable 

  • Brooklyn replied 1 year ago

    I mostly just carry a large linen or cotton scarf and put that over my shoulders if needed. For me a topper in Summer would be more about adding sun protection than warmth, so lace wouldn’t work for me. It is pretty though!

    The other thing I wear is a loose, cropped linen shirt, tied at the waist. Or a cotton or linen shacket. Looks a bit like a denim jacket but is much lighter to wear. I have one like this. I had the collar removed and turned into a mandarin collar.

  • Indigoprint replied 1 year ago

    Cutloose has a cropped linen jersey cardigan in a variety of colors. I did not include a link as I buy mine locally, but you can find them avaiable online if you search "Cutloose"

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Thanks kkards and slimcat!

    ! Indigoprint I did find a store near me that carries cut loose so will take a look. 

    Brooklyn, the scarf might work for me. I have a gauzy white one. I think it’s most about covering my arms at times, and for warmth in the A/C. 

    I found this cotton woven shrug that might be good with tanks and dresses. 

  • RobinF replied 1 year ago

    I always carry some sort of sweater in the summer - AC is often just too cold. I really like some part linen ones I got from Nordstrom - something like these. They are the perfect weight for me. I use ponchos too but more for colder weather than summer.

  • replied 1 year ago

    To me, over 70 degrees is too warm for sleeves, but I like those lace ones! I have a couple of very thin cotton cardis that I'll put on in ac.
    Yes to the Cut Loose brand. I see it a lot at boutiques.

  • NancyW replied 1 year ago

    I have cropped, linen blend open cardigans from J. Jill and Nic&Zoe. Very conservative cuts, but also very useful in a/c.

  • Mary replied 1 year ago

    I just purchased a white cardigan from Nic and Zoe to go over a dress I'll wear at our anniversary dinner.  It is somewhat sheer and will cover my arms.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Nancy and Mary, I used to have a couple of Nic and Zoe cardigans— they were very light and breathable. Might need to take a look again at those. 

    Thanks Robin and Suntiger — it seems like after menopause I can’t regulate my body temperature, I’m alternating too hot or too cold. Linen would be nice because it’s breathable. 

  • cat2 replied 1 year ago

    I have some linen open front sweaters for summer. Mine are old, but came from Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren.

  • doggeh lover replied 1 year ago

    If anyone likes kinda Boho/Western/Owls/Birds/Native American shawls, http://www.shovava.com has beautiful ones in several designs and I've found the quality to be very good, across different materials

  • rachylou replied 1 year ago

    I have a lace cardigan in a similar vein, not with RL cool but similar. I found it at Ross of all places.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Doggeh, her shawls are gorgeous, I’ve been coveting them for a while too.

    Rachylou, I’ll have to check out Ross.

  • Jessikams replied 1 year ago

    I used to have a long lace cardigan like what you’ve posted, and my husband says it looked like a tablecloth …… worse, it snagged on everything and I was always getting hooked onto doorknobs. It did not stay in my closet for long!

    These days I often wear an unbuttoned linen shirt— with long or short sleeves— as a “cardigan.”

  • Bijou replied 1 year ago

    Lana, I love the look of the RL long cardigan, but like Jessikams had a lace cardigan which did not last very long as it tore when a sleeve hooked onto a door handle and ripped. I would avoid a crochet cardigan with long bell sleeves, as that is what was the problem with my cardigan. Summer toppers are tricky, I often wear a denim jacket as a light topper or the items below.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Bijou, I really love that openwork top!  Is it soft or crisp and have you worn it as a jacket? Did you get your regular size? I saw one on Poshmark and am thinking about putting an offer on it. 

  • texasgal replied 1 year ago

    Just bought Ruana from Talbots. I have the white and the champagne. Have yet to try them on with a bunch of things but on first pass they look like they’d be something I could easily wear with blouse/pants and dresses.

  • Jessikams replied 1 year ago

    Wow Bijou that sheer floral jacket is a showstopper!

  • Jenni NZ replied 1 year ago

    Lana I can’t help with where to get any items from the other side of the world but I have had 2 light lace summer cardigans which I bought in 2013. I wore the white one so much it became tatty/scruffy and I donated it, I still have and wear the red one. I also have a light cropped knit cream bolero cardigan with pretty floral appliqués. Here are 2 pics. They are really useful if the evening has a slight chill.

  • Bijou replied 1 year ago

    Lana, I wear the top as a shirt and as a jacket, bought in November 2021 from Zara. It is cotton, so so has a bit of body to the fabric, but being so light weight, I would say it veers soft. You could add starch to make it more substantial. In terms of sizing, in JCrew tops I am a US size 4, this top is a Zara size small. It is one of my favourite summer shirts, sometimes Zara really delivers.

    I did notice that US Zara has a crochet cardigan on their site.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Texasgal, a fauna or kimono is something I constantly look for, but I’m so picky about patterns that I just haven’t found the right one yet.  I never thought about a solid one, thank you. 

    Bijou, I just bought the top from a seller on Poshmark! I hope you don’t mind.  I went with Medium since that’s my normal size, so fingers crossed. It seems the perfect solution. 

    Jenni, I used to have a turquoise cardigan just like your red one.  It was very open weave and cool.  

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    Great ideas! 

    Gauzy and open weave cardigans are a fab idea! So is a kimono jacket in a blouse weight.

    This is a VERY THIN jacket:

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 1 year ago

    Are you still looking? Here’s a white open work cardi with sleeves that won’t catch on things, made of organic cotton.

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Thank you Stag, good option! Always looking, I’ve ordered 3 contenders and If one of those doesn’t work, I’ll try some others. 

  • Roberta replied 1 year ago

    I have 3 of the very light weight Nic and Zoe cardigans and I can't recommend them enough. They are perfect for an air conditioned restaurant in the middle of summer, or to throw over a sleeveless dress if you're going somewhere a little more formal. Mine are all 3/4 sleeves. I wash them in a lingerie bag in the machine, no problem. Plus they're on sale right now!

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    Roberta, where did you find them on sale? Thanks.

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Fabric can make a big difference.  Look for linen.  I have a black and a pale pink cardigan of the Halogen brand from Nordstrom’s that are great summer toppers.  I also have a navy blue and a peach linen cardigan from EF that I have used for years with sleeveless tanks that work well.  I like ponchos too but have to watch the size.  One size does not fit all.  And I make sure that they are not polyester which is hot on me.  Again, linen or silk is better and cooler

    I second Robin Fs pictured Nordstrom cardigan in a linen blend.  It.looks like mine.  I wash it on gentle, hang to dry.  They have offered them two years in a row and I hope they will be back in a variety of colors.  

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Angie’s post reminded me that I have an EF handkerchief white linen jean jacket that makes a great summer topper.  I hope they make a blue denim colored one.  They did have one but I was waiting for a sale and missed it.  Now I am watching Eileen Fisher Renew for one in my size.

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 1 year ago

    A little breezier https://www.lilysilk.com/de/la.....matchtype=

  • Roberta replied 1 year ago

    Lana, at the Nic and Zoe website! Not the full range of colors, but still some good options. They have an acid green that I really like - I own red, white, and hot pink.

  • rebekahphoto replied 1 year ago

    you might take a look at Chicos--they actually have a few open weave eyelet toppers. 

    I have a couple of light linen cardigan (Nic & Zoe,  & Eileen fisher) and some linen button down shirts that I wear in the summer evenings over a dress or tank




  • MidwestrnChic replied 1 year ago

    I found this on Evereve and it looks promising!  

    SANCTUARY Beach Side Crochet Cardigan | EVEREVE

  • replied 1 year ago

    This linen cardigan caught my eye on garnethill.com.  Love the colors!

  • Lana replied 1 year ago

    You are all such a wealth of knowledge, thank you so much for sharing your picks and what’s worked for you — I’ll try a few of these and let you know what I decide on.

You need to be logged in to comment