A cardigan is a type of knitted garment that has an open front, commonly fastened with buttons or a zipper. Unlike a traditional sweater, a cardigan opens at the front, making it a versatile layering piece. Named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, James Brudenell, who popularized the style during the Crimean War, the cardigan has become a staple in casual and business casual attire.
Cardigans vary greatly in style, length, and material. They can range from lightweight, fine-knit fabrics perfect for a mild day or layering, to heavy, chunky wool knits that provide substantial warmth. The lengths can vary from cropped, waist-length styles to longer ones that reach the knees or even the ankles.
Design elements such as the neckline, type of closure, and the presence of pockets or a belt can significantly change the cardigan’s look and functionality. Classic styles often feature a V-neck and button front, but modern variations include round necks, shawl collars, and open fronts without any fastenings.
Cardigans are favored for their ease of wear and versatility. They can be dressed up with a button-down shirt and tie for a business casual look, or dressed down with a simple t-shirt and jeans. The cardigan’s adaptability and comfort make it a go-to garment for layering in transitional weather, offering a combination of warmth, style, and convenience.