Fashion / Shopping

5 Great Men’s Cardigans and the Best Ways to Wear Them

The Versatile Look is Trending as Work-From-Home Style Continues to Reign

BY // 01.08.21

When COVID lockdown began in mid-March, I turned to the cardigan. It was the perfect way to appear dressed for the day when slipped on over a t-shirt or pajama bottoms.

When you think of cardigans your mind may go to Mr. Rogers or perhaps Kurt Cobain a la the grunge years that glorified Nirvana. In fact, an olive-green one that the Seattle singer often wore for performances sold last year at auction for $334,000. It truly is an item that can be styled in an ultra-conservative or punk rock manner. It’s also an item that actually looks good either fitted or extremely loose.

If you are looking for some perfection options for the chillier months ahead, might I suggest the following:

Brooks Brothers

This tried and true old school brand has oh-so many options. I like the idea of staying in that classic lane and going with their cable knit navy blue shawl collar version.

BEST WORN: In the cozy living room of a friend from college’s (probably Dartmouth or UVA) well-appointed Darien CT home. Pairs well with “one-up-manship” conversations regarding second and third homes over a glass of Glenfiddich.

brooks brothers
For dipping your toe in the water with cardigans go with one from Brooks Brothers. ($169.50)

John Smedley

This British brand markets itself as “the world’s finest knitwear” and I would actually agree. Established in 1784 they are still the oldest manufacturing factory in the world. I am a fan of their merino-wool indigo cardigan.

FERN FREEMAN

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BEST WORN: After a season of dedicated time at the gym. The Italian fit is not at all forgiving of any love handles that may have come from COVID lockdown. However, if your studly physique is in need of admiration, then slips this on over a slim fitting t-shirt and you’ll likely get lots of attention.

Eleventy

I fell for this line earlier this year when I scored one of their white blazers. The fit is tailored, but also slightly forgiving (read: snug but not tight). Hometown hero Stanley Korshak has a fairly wide selection. I came across a great camel version that is done in a lightweight cotton that can be perfect for when the temps are only dipping into the lower 50s in Texas. Or layered below a peacoat if we ever see snow again.

BEST WORN: To impress someone’s parents. If you are going to visit your partner’s father for permission to propose to their son or daughter. You’ll look completely respectable — perhaps the illusion that you might need of having a great job and driving under the speed limit —  but not boring (who wants to invite someone to join their family that will be a snooze fest at holiday celebrations).

Comme des Garçon PLAY

This playful line from the iconic Japanese label is known for its heart logo. Their prices are far from cheap and likely due to the calvacade of celeb devotees. Pharrell Williams being one of them who elevated their polka dot cardigan to wait list-only status.

BEST WORN: Anywhere that the fashion flock congregates.

Uniqlo

If you want an affordable option that will allow purchasing in multiple colors, I’d suggest this other Japanese company.

BEST WORN: After a long night of drinking and dancing at a dive bar. No need to worry about getting stains on this since you can throw in the wash (no dry-cleaning necessary) or just buy another one.

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