The cardigan’s origin dates back to the 17th century as a piece of traditional fisherman’s clothing, but it was not until James Thomas Brudnell (the 7th Earl of Cardigan) lead a suicidal cavalry charge against a Russian canyon killing all of his men that the garment become famous. You see, James Brudnell wore it because he could slip it on and off without disarranging his hair and after that whole disastrous cavalry ride made him the talk of the town, the cardigan was adopted as a fashion craze in high society.
It was only after the Second World War that cardigans left the world of formal attire and became symbolic of relaxation. From here on they were adopted by golfers and singers alike, everyone from Arnold Palmer to Bing Crosby and even singers who like to golf like ol’ blue eyes, Mr Frank Sinatra, who was said to have dropped $30 000 a year on knitwear at his local club house.
It wasn’t until Kurt Cobain wore his cardigan in the 1990’s as part of his grunge look that the garment lost its grandpa stigma and became a piece of the modern mans wardrobe. For me, the cardigan still carries I like a little bit of both worlds, the ‘dapper granmps’ and the ‘urban trendsetter’ which makes it super versatile.
So, why do I consider it an essential, well, I just said, it’s super versatile, it works as well casually with some jeans and a t-shirt as it does layered under a sports coat with a tie, or even worn as a jacket on its own.
I reccomend getting a couple in different textures and weights, each of them will offer a different wardrobe solution.
The one above is my current favourite, Its nice and chunky and really nails the grandpa look with that roll (or shawl) collar. If you wanna get your hands on something similar, check out the options below in everything from “cheap and cheerful” to “you get what you pay for”
From top to bottom:
Get the Brave Soul Shawl Neck Cardigan here
Get the Vito Cable Cardigan here
Get the Lyle & Scott Vintage Cardigan with Shawl Collar here
Okay. Stay fancy.