Once beloved of nerds, the cardigan has become this season’s most necessary knit
WORDS BY RYAN THOMPSON
There used to be a quick way to tell if someone was into fantasy board games and sci-fi fiction - they wore a cardigan. These days, not so much. In fact, cardigans have well and truly shed their nerd status to become one of the most versatile pieces in a man’s wardrobe. Intarsia graphics, luxurious fabrics, asymmetric cuts and longline styles have turned what was once a conservative piece of clothing into the hellraiser of knitwear. Had you said 10 years ago that the cardigan would become an integral part of streetwear kit, you’d have been laughed at and sent back to your Dungeons and Dragons game, but the truth is that brands from Gucci to Rick Owens have taken the cardigan to places geeks would dare to tread. It’s time you jumped on the cardigan wagon with these 7 styles:
The Hero Cardigan
Wallflowers look away now: these cardigans are bright, bold hero pieces that form the centrepiece to your look. Wear with neutral colours to avoid overkill - there’s a time for clashing prints and this isn’t one of them.
The Tailored Cardigan
Want a tailored look but don’t fancy donning a blazer? This one’s for you. A hybrid cardigan with a classic lapel (smarter than the shawl option) that will dress up a pair of jeans or dress down some suit trousers for a relaxed after-work vibe.
The Gothic Cardigan
Think long-line with an edge. Alexander McQueen’s distressed cardigan is the perfect expression of this dark aesthetic, but also look to Rick Owens and Julius for unbuttoned flowing styles.
The Long-line Cardigan
A favourite of Rick Owens, the long-line cardigan takes its cue from the classic coat. Much less formal, it’s been appropriated by streetwear heads as a great layering piece, particularly on monochrome looks.
The Colour-block Cardigan
The way that cardigans are constructed makes them the perfect vehicle for colour-blocking. From multicoloured hems to contrast sleeves and bright chest panels, these bold casual knits that will brighten up everything from jeans to a pair of track pants.
The classic three-button cardigan will always have its place, but for more creative thinkers there’s a host of experimental styles by the likes of Issey Miyake and Daniel Andresen. They cleverly play with the cut to create a whole new drape which lends itself well to a modern wardrobe.
The Belted Cardigan
The belted cardigan has just the right amount of louche. Chunky styles are perfect to wear as outerwear pieces, and a chic way to replace a more formal long coat.