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Cardigan Sweaters

Updated on August 28, 2013

A cardigan sweater is a type of sweater that buttons, zips, or ties down the front. They are usually made of wool or cotton, sometimes with pockets, though very often not. You know what I mean. Think your favorite third grade teacher, think your grandma or grandpa, think Mr. Rogers! But cardigan sweaters are not just for your Aunt Bess anymore. In fact, cardigan sweaters are remarkably fashionable. Not to mention warm and cozy and versatile. Cardigan sweaters are great for ladies, men, and the kids.

The design cardigan sweaters are known for.
The design cardigan sweaters are known for.

Great for Home, Office, Anywhere

One of the best things about a cardigan sweater is how many places you can wear it. Because it’s comfortable, made from soft wool or cotton, a cardigan sweater is great for wearing around the house. It’s good for reading or watching television. It’s great for working in the garden on a spring day. Because a cardigan sweater is easy to take on and off, it’s perfect for moving from inside to out as you do lawn work or putter around in the garage. You can button or unbutton your sweater as you get cooler or warmer.

Cardigans are also nice for the office. They can be used as a slipover when you are at your desk, and they look great with a business skirt or suit. Men can wear a cardigan underneath a sport coat or alone with a tie. Many office workers keep a cardigan on the backs of their chairs all year long. It’s great in the winter of course, but we all know how chilly it can get in an air-conditioned office, even at the height of summer.

Since cardigan sweater styles can be sleek and stylish or more casual and homey, these sweaters are good for an evening meal at a good restaurant or for a walk in the woods. Kids will like wearing a cardigan to school because it’s so easy to slip on and off and isn’t as bulky as a regular sweater or coat.

History of Cardigan Sweaters

The cardigan sweater became popular after James Brudenell, a Bristish hero of the Crimean War and 7th Earl of Cardigan, wore a knitted waistcoat into battle. Clothing makers began making the cardigan sweater in tribute to Brudenell. Of course, probably the most famous of all cardigan wearers was Mr. Rogers, the host of the children’s television show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Each week at the beginning of the show, Mr. Rogers would sing his famous song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” while tying up his sneakers and putting on his cardigan sweater.

Types of Cardigan Sweaters

It many be their association with Fred Rogers that gives the cardigan sweater its somewhat old-fashioned reputation. And although some cardigans do carry an air of the past, others are very contemporary in style and cut.

The V neck cardigan is one of the most popular designs, but there are many variations possible. The collar of the sweater can be plain and simple or can be embroidered to add color and style or can be lined with fashionable frills. The shrug is a type of cardigan that is cut away to accentuate the bust and can be a very flattering design for many women. When the sweater does not fasten directly up the middle, it is often called a surplice. You will often see women wearing a surplice cardigan out for a night on the town.

For men, the cardigan sweater is often a fashion statement expressly because it is a little old fashioned. Among young men especially, the button up cardigan is hip because it’s so square. A lot of contemporary rock musicians wear cardigan sweaters on stage.

Buying a Cardigan Sweater

Because cardigan sweaters for women as well as for men are so popular and because there are so many variations on the style of this sweater, almost every clothing maker offers cardigans. You can buy cardigans at Macy’s or at Target, from Joseph A Bank or Sierra Trading Post.

Some stores and websites focus exclusively on the sale of cardigan sweaters. One such website is the aptly named This website features cashmere cardigans, wool cardigans, colored and natural cardigans, rugged, outdoorsy sweaters, or sweaters for dinner parties and drinks with friends.

Another spot to check out for good deals on warm cardigan sweaters is This site offers clothing from many different makers at discounted prices. Each day lists different deals on cardigan sweaters and other items, so it is good to check in regularly to see the styles currently available.

Whatever style and make you are looking for, whether a bit of hip dowdiness or contemporary flair, the cardigan sweater is a comfy, practical, great looking part of your wardrobe. They offer many styles that can be accessorized in many ways. Dressing is up with pearl earrings or diamond jewelry, or dressing it down with some colored skinny jeans. The possibilities are endless!


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      Ivy 7 years ago

      V neck sweater will enhance the curvy look of the bustline. The deep V will divert people attention, used specially for apple and pear body shapes.