While styles come and go, some clothing items endure and remain a popular wardrobe staple from generation to generation. Cardigan sweaters for women definitely fit into this category. From the 1800’s when the Earl of Cardigan’s knitted waistcoat was catapulted to fame due to his heroics in the Crimean War, to Lana Turner displaying her assets in a tight sweater, the cardigan sweater has been a part of cultural icons for decades.
While cardigan sweaters come in many styles, the basic elements of the garment remain the same: a knitted sweater that is either buttoned, zipped or tied in the front. The cardigan’s initial purpose was to add extra warmth during the frigid winter campaigns of the Crimean War.
Today, cardigans are not worn on battlegrounds; however, they make a common appearance in everyday settings such as work and school. This is partly due to the ease with which the sweater allows the wearer to layer clothing for warmth and remove it when not needed.
Another reason for the enduring popularity of this sweater type is the fact that it is so versatile and comes in so many styles, ranging from casual to formal. The 50’s saw a huge surge in popularity of the cardigan with twinsets which featured an underlying sweater shell with a matching outer cardigan.
Some of these twinsets were made of luxurious materials such as cashmere and were elaborately decorated. They were beaded, embroidered, embellished and applicated. Beautiful examples of this wardrobe item are featured in many fashion museums.
Today there is more of a variety than ever in cardigan sweaters. One would be hard pressed to find a fashion designer, from couture to ready-to-wear, that has not included a cardigan in at least one line.
In fact, many designers feature cardigan sweaters in every line they produce, sometimes multiple styles in every collection. Designers love the versatility of the sweater which can be combined with multiple pieces in the collection.
The cardigan sweater is a fashion favorite for women in all walks of life. From the struggling college student throwing on a Target brand basic to ward of the chill while walking to class, to the career woman that adds a cardigan to mix and match in her wardrobe, to the socialite with a twinset for her weekly lunch, it is a clothing style that works for all. Whatever your life situation, a cardigan sweater is an essential basic to any wardrobe.