The versatile sweater, cardigan!
The cardigan is a collarless sweater or a jacket that opens full length down the front. It is such a common piece of clothing that you might not have given much thought to when it was invented and how it became popular.
Its beginning goes back to 1868, and it is named after James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army Major General. The name ‘Cardigan’, by the way, is an anglicized variation of the Welsh, Ceredigion. It is modelled after the knitted wool waistcoat that British officers supposedly wore during the war. The term originally referred to a knitted sleeveless vest. Generally made of wool, these are front open with buttons or zippers.
Among women, the cardigan was popularized by Coco Chanel
, because she hated ‘how tight-necked men’s sweaters messed up her hair when she pulled them over her head!'
The cardigan is also associated with college culture of the 20s and early 30s, and did not lose its popularity during 50s, 70s and 90s. Although it did fall out of favor after that, it is back again with a bang this decade. Even famous personalities have worn the cardigan as a fashion statement. Kurt Cobain, of band Nirvana, was known to wear “grandpa style cardigans”. In fact, the cardigan he wore during 1994 MTV Nirvana concert sold for $137,500 in November 2015. Fred Rogers, Star of TV program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
, wore a cardigan in every episode which went on to become an icon in the coming days. Hollywood veteran Jeff Bridges wore his iconic light brown patterned cardigan in the 1998 film, The Big Lebowski. There’s also this interesting story in which a cardigan prevented an assassination attempt against a Bulgarian radio editor. It is said that a foe tried to inject this person with poisonous ricin. The pellet apparently couldn’t get through the skin as the cardigan he was wearing was made of very thick wool!
The cardigan is a very versatile sweater to pair with. Good for both, men and women, it can be worn in a casual or formal setting. Plain cardigans can be worn over shirts or inside suit jackets. Wear it under sport jacket with jeans or dress slacks and you’re ready to seize the day.
Find more cardigan styles at Beverlyheels.com.