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Cropped cardigans are a cute style, perfect for when you need a light layer. These sweaters fall between the base of the ribs and waistline and pair well with high-waisted pants or skirts. The short length is also ideal for throwing over a dress. Some styles are dressier than others, and cropped cardigans can be worn casually or with evening wear.  

Because of the short hemline, cropped cardigans accentuate the waist and flatter the curves. And you don’t have to just wear them in chilly months. Short-sleeved and lightweight cardigans can be worn in the spring and summer or in air conditioning. 

In this article: Urban CoCo Women’s Button-Down Crewneck Cropped Cardigan, Romwe Women’s Plus-Size Waffle Knit Cropped Cardigan and Floria Women’s Solid Button-Down Three-Quarters Sleeve Cropped Cardigan.


Affordable cardigans are made from a variety of knit materials, many of which mimic the look and feel of wool:

  • Cotton: A natural fiber, cotton is lightweight and breathable. Cotton cardigans are perfect for spring and summer. Be aware that cotton can shrink in the wash so be sure to follow the care instructions. You may want to air-dry your cotton or cotton-blend sweaters. 
  • Acrylic: A synthetic fabric, acrylic knit can feel like wool without the itchiness. It’s also durable and easier to care for than wool, though not as warm. Acrylic sweaters are often machine-washable. 
  • Polyester: Polyester cardigans are soft and durable but not as breathable as natural fibers, such as cotton or wool. Many polyester cardigans are machine-washable on a gentle setting. 
  • Synthetic blends: There are many affordable cardigan options that are made from a blend of synthetic materials, including nylon, rayon, viscose, polyester and acrylic. Blends that contain a small percentage of spandex or elastane offer stretch and added comfort. 
  • Wool: Wool is the traditional material for cardigan sweaters and is warm, breathable and long-lasting. However, there aren’t many options of wool cardis for under $100. Cashmere is an expensive type of wool known for its softness. You can find some wool blends that are affordable. 


Traditionally, cardigans have button-up fronts. Some may have zippers or toggle closures. Open-front cardigans have become popular in recent history and have no fasteners, leaving the front open in a casual, easy-breezy style. Open-front cardigans are also called boleros or shrugs. This style is great for showcasing a dress, top or jewelry. 


While most cropped cardigans have long sleeves, you can find ones with three-quarters sleeves or short sleeves. These are better for warmer weather. Puff sleeves and balloon sleeves are an on-trend style that you can find on select cardigans. 


Cropped cardigans come in women’s sizes, typically XX-small to 3X-large. Not all brands offer an inclusive range of sizes. You can also find plus-size cardigans up to 5X. 


Cardigans may have a chunky texture, such as cable-knit, while others offer a smooth, less bulky texture. Waffle knit is a good in-between knit. Choosing the texture of a cardigan is up to personal preference and style. 

Best affordable cropped cardigans 

Best Urban CoCo Women's Button-Down Crewneck Cropped Cardigan

Urban CoCo Women’s Button-Down Crewneck Cropped Cardigan

This solid-colored cardigan is a wardrobe staple. The viscose-polyester blend is soft and doesn’t shrink when you hand-wash it. Just don’t toss it in the washing machine. You’ll be tempted to buy it in more than one color because the basic style is so versatile. 

Sold by Amazon 

Best Romwe Women's Plus-Size Waffle Knit Cropped Cardigan

Romwe Women’s Plus-Size Waffle-Knit Cropped Cardigan 

For a waffle-knit cardi, this cropped style is cute and flattering for curvy figures. It’s soft and lightweight but still manages to feel cozy. It comes in plus sizes large to 4X-large. 

Sold by Amazon 

Floria Women's Solid Button-Down Three-Quarters Sleeve Cropped Cardigan

Floria Women’s Solid Button-Down Three-Quarters Sleeve Cropped Cardigan

This short cardigan fits nicely and the acrylic blend offers some stretch. Lightweight, it’s perfect for work environments or spring/summer weather. You may want to size up in this snug style, and it comes in plus sizes.

Sold by Amazon


Floerns Women's Tie-Front Ribbed Knit Cardigan

Floerns Women’s Tie-Front Ribbed-Knit Cardigan

This ribbed cardigan ties in the front and can be worn with or without a top underneath. The acrylic fabric is soft and doesn’t feel cheap. The style is cute and flirty. 

Sold by Amazon  

Love Tree Women's Color-Block Cropped Cardigan

Love Tree Women’s Color-Block Cropped Cardigan

For sweater weather, this soft cardigan offers the coziness of cashmere without the high price. It comes in solid colors and two color-block options. The cut is oversized but still cropped, and overall drapes nicely. 

Sold by Amazon 


Urban CoCo Women's Cropped V-Neck Button-Down Cardigan

Urban CoCo Women’s Cropped V-Neck Button-Down Cardigan

This solid V-neck cardigan completes any outfit. The cropped length is perfect and isn’t too short. The viscose-polyester blend is machine-washable and doesn’t shrink. It also comes in open-front options. 

Sold by Amazon 

Ssoulm Women's Three-Quarters Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan

Ssoulm Women’s Three-Quarters Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan

This cute bolero offers a formal fit and a lightweight coverup for dressy events. The cut keeps your shoulders warm in spring or summer weather. It’s popular for layering with a sleeveless dress or tank top. 

Sold by Amazon 

Grace Karin Women's Cropped Cardigan

Grace Karin Women’s Cropped Cardigan 

This simple, V-neck style cardigan is a closet staple. The button-down style is classic and it comes in long and short sleeves and inclusive sizes. It’s lightweight viscose-acrylic material is suitable for layering in any weather. 

Sold by Amazon 

Belle Poque Women's Three-Quarters Sleeve Open-Front Cropped Cardigan

Belle Poque Women’s Three-Quarters Sleeve Open-Front Cropped Cardigan

This soft, open-front cardigan is the comfortable choice for a coverup. The bolero cut can be worn with evening wear or with more casual dresses. The stretchy fabric is breathable and lightweight, perfect for spring.  

Sold by Amazon 

Auslook Women's Plus-Size Three-Quarters Sleeve Cropped Cardigan

Auslook Women’s Plus-Size Three-Quarters Sleeve Cropped Cardigan

For a plus-size cropped cardigan, Auslook offers this cute shrug in sizes 1X-5X. The polyester blend features good stretch and feels silky on the skin. It fits well is comfortable. Plus, it comes in a wide array of colors. 

Sold by Amazon 

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