You might not think much of the humble cardigan, but its actually got a much more exciting and dramatic history than your average knitwear. Its origins lie in the military, it was modelled after the knitted waistcoats that British Officers wore in the 19th Century, and was named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who lead the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ (remember that from school?) It made its name as a menswear staple in the 1930s but, despite all its history, all its longevity, public opinion seems to have relegated the cardigan to something only your granddad would wear.
It doesn’t have to be like that, you can wear a cardigan without looking like you’re a pipe smoker. It can be a versatile and stylish addition to your wardrobe, great for casual or smart casual. Maybe you’re just wearing it wrong…
The cardigan is a great thing because of its ‘thrown-on-ability’. For example: say you’re just heading out the door, but you suddenly realise it’s not quite t-shirt weather – what can you do? Simple: thrown on a cardigan. Paired with a crisp white tee, and a pair of slim fit jeans (when’s the last time you saw your granddad wearing them?), you’ve got the ideal no fuss, relaxed casual outfit.
The cardigan can really add something to your layering in the autumnal months. Fundamentally, it’s a great transitional piece – perfect for when it’s not quite wintry enough for your heavy winter coat, but you need something to add a little more warmth than your typical light jacket.
Wearing a cardigan over a shirt can be a bit harder to get right (thanks geography teachers…) So if you’re thinking of wearing one with a shirt, go for something sleek (not chunky) and make sure it fits your properly. If you feel the need to button it up, treat it like a blazer: always leave the bottom button undone.