Fashion Fun Friday: The Humble Cardigan

As the temperature drops, I’ve noticed that the cardigan sweater has become a wardrobe staple of women working business-casual environments. A friend of mine commented on her growing collection of cardigans as a testament to the length of time she’s been working for the government. Office workers, especially government office workers, don the cardigan on a daily basis. Now that I find myself working in a business casual office, I am acutely aware of the number of cardigan wearing peers. The blazer is something I’ve fully gotten behind. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll confirm my love of a good black blazer. In fact, I currently have five black blazers in full rotation.  The cardigan however is not a staple in my wardrobe. Or so I thought.

Over the years the humble cardigan has evolved from its knitted beginnings with buttons; to zippers, different fabrics and, as I discovered, a more modern version that just hangs open by design. These I have in abundance (in black, of course), so imagine my surprise to discover I’ve been on the cardi-wagon all along! When done right, the trusty cardigan can look like a million bucks.

Here’s a couple ways to rock your cardi at work:

  1. Wear a skinny belt on a light-weight medium-length cardigan. Bonus Points: over a pencil skirt for a classic corporate look.
  2. Layer a longer cardigan under a cropped leather jacket.
  3. Pair a floor length cardigan with a short skirt and tall boots.
  4. Tuck a fitted, waist-length cardigan into high-waist skirt or pants.
  5. The draped open-front cardigan (my fav!) looks sharp when matched with skinny jeans, tank and kick-ass heels. Bonus Points: Add a statement piece necklace.

Now it’s time to rock our brains! When someone compliments your awesome cardi-look, segue into this history lesson:

The cardigan was named after James Thomas Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who introduced what came to be called the cardigan jacket in the mid-1800s. (Thank you Encyclopedia Britannica!) Cool right? It’s gets better…

Brudenell was also the British general who, in 1854, led the charge of the light brigade of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaklava. This battle was the memorialized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”


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