Mister Rogers did not take exclusive rights to the cardigan with him.

Now the venerable sweater is less fuzzy-wuzzy and more sexy-cozy.

"The cardigan is definitely a new style staple in that it's sequined, it's striped, it's belted," says Jorge Ramon, Teen People's fashion director. "It's not your granny's sweater."

Totally the opposite of that. But you've gotta follow the Cardigan Rules.

First, says Ramon, it's gotta be a little oversize. "And you can't be too precious about it." It's not a letterman sweater or a '50s sweater set. "It's the next step up from the boyfriend sweater. It's feminine, it's fitted, it's romantic, and it'll heat things up for fall."

Also, the cardigan works well with others. Try pairing it with a brightly patterned fall dress -- to help break up design overkill. Or wear it with a voluminous skirt to give yourself some shape. It's also a great way to update an old tee and jeans, Ramon says. "Get a cardigan -- throw that over your jeans and tee -- and wear knee boots. It's a totally rad outfit."

Remember, warns Ramon, if you're wearing a coat over your cardigan and tee, make sure there is plenty of room for each item to breathe. You don't want to be a "little stuffed sausage," he says. (Gosh, no.)

-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond

Wellesley cropped cable-knit cardigan in aquamarine ($78) at J.Crew. Charlotte Tarantola black camisole ($62) at Betsy Fisher, 1224 Connecticut Ave. NW.Left: Juicy Couture tea-dye cashmere wrap with gold lurex ($220) and ballet-neck shirt with lace and chiffon sleeves ($92) at Neiman Marcus, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW.Top left: Two-pocket cardigan in light heather gray ($19.50) at Old Navy, with Charlotte Tarantola green sparkle camisole ($62) at Betsy Fisher, 1224 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Above: Charlotte Tarantola "Freebird" cardigan ($108) and silver camisole ($80) at Betsy Fisher, 1224 Connecticut Ave. NW.