According to my most recent (and somewhat unscientific!) poll, the item most of you can’t live without for fall is…. the perfect cardigan! I can’t say I’m surprised because I am a huge fan of cardigans of all sorts.
The cardigan is such a versatile piece – you can shrug it on when you’re cold at the theatre, tie it around your shoulders if you get warm at a tailgate, dress it up with a silk scarf for work or throw it over a cotton sundress for the weekend.
This history of the cardigan as we know it today is somewhat surprising. According to Wikipedia, “The cardigan was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army major general who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. It is modelled after the knitted wool waistcoat that British officers supposedly wore during the war. The legend of the event and the fame that Lord Cardigan achieved after the war led to the rise of the garment’s popularity – supposedly, Brudenell invented the cardigan after noticing that the tails of his coat had accidentally been burnt off in a fireplace.”
Flaming coattails aside, the cardigan has become a staple in the modern woman’s wardrobe, thanks to none other than the infamous Coco Chanel. She is credited with popularizing cardigans for women because, “she hated how tight-necked men’s sweaters messed up her hair when she pulled them over her head.”
Due to their enduring popularity, today there are no shortage of options available. One of my personal favorites is the “boyfriend cardigan.” Worn in the same spirit as the boyfriend blazer or boyfriend jeans, this cardigan reminds me vividly of 1950’s Varsity letter sweaters, brilliant autumn leaves and college football games.
Other great looks include:
- The wrap cardigan: Chic enough for work. Fun-loving enough for happy hour.
- The granny: Lightweight, mid hip, possibly with pearl buttons. Wear ir ironically… or not!
- The long cardi: A mid-calf skimming sweater is like wearing a hug.
- Cropped and cabled: My top pick is at Ralph Lauren, but variations abound. Goes everywhere.
- The twinset: Matching pieces could easily look old fashioned. But, in a completely monochromatic ensemble (head to toe camel-colored, for example) a twinset is right on trend.
- The cardigan/Fair Isle hybrid: The former prep in me can’t get enough of this retro look.
These are just a few of my ideas and I am curious. How do you wear your favorite cardigan?
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