PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 February, 2009, 12:00am

A cardigan is one of the most versatile items of clothing I own. It can layered in many ways for the winter, and also comes in handy as spring approaches. Most people prefer shorter, fitted styles, but a well-cut longer cardigan looks great in both casual and formal situations. For a relaxed yet stylish look, wear it belted with skinny jeans and a tight-fitting top a la Kate Hudson; or go for dark jeans, a V-neck mini sweater dress and a pair of well-worn black Converse sneakers, like Drew Barrymore. Despite the fact that celebrities have made long cardigans must-haves, I have also spotted a few locals who have used simple cardies to create a look that is cool and special.

Tired of being wrapped in a heavy winter coat, Monica (left) has opted for a long black cardigan with denim shorts and a tight, printed tee. It fits loosely around her frame, allowing her to show off her legs and the layers underneath. It also keeps her warm while balancing her boyish denim shorts and T-shirt combo. I love the way she has contrasted her coal-grey thigh-high stockings with forest-green leather boots, revealing just the right amount of skin. Accessory-wise, her burgundy patent leather bag is feminine and mature and completes the outfit. If you want to be dressier, pin on a vintage brooch or add a wide belt around the waist to add shape. For a streetwear edge, ditch the boots and go for Jazz shoes or Dr Martens, like Agyness Deyn and Kate Moss.

When I first spotted Tingting (right), she was wearing her cardigan buttoned up, making it look casual but cosy. It's only when I took her picture that I noticed the feminine dress she wore underneath made from white draped chiffon and decorated with ornate bows and lace trim. The feminine dress and white leather boots combo immediately balanced her slightly masculine, preppy-knit long cardigan. The slim cut of the cardigan is also flattering, giving her some added curves.

Cardigans are easy to find, but I love the navy, knee-length knitted style with wooden buttons at Chemistry (shop 172, Island Beverley, 1 Great George Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2504 1682). For something more luxe, Sly (G/F, 50-56 Paterson St, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, tel: 2895 1020) has a cashmere zip-up hooded long cardigan in black, grey and green. More wintry pieces, such as a burgundy belted style, can be found at Rebecca Taylor (Shop 2507, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, tel: 2175 0080).