Back when I worked full time on magazines, we had something called an office cardigan. I‘m not sure if that’s solely the domain of ‘fashion cupboards’, where random fashion samples routinely go unclaimed, but the – usually oversized, grandad style – cardigan would be duly summoned whenever the air con was a little over-zealous, or someone was feeling a bit
hungover under the weather. Working from home though, my very own ‘office cardigan’ comes into its own. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s the most versatile part of a stay-home wardrobe.
There are so many things you can do with a granddad cardi. Tie it round your waist; Tie the sleeves round your neck like a scarf (or let Le 17 September* do the job for you); wear it school uniform-smart buttoned over a shirt, or layer a plain one over a stripy tee (a very ‘me’ look – I’d opt for Joseph’s camel number*).
For the popularity of the cardi, we can thank sartorialist army general, James Thomas Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan. Famous for sporting a knitted waistcoat during the Crimean War, the look caught on, eventually morphing into the style we wear today. Also favoured by 1920s ‘garconnes’ (inspired by Coco Chanel in her beau’s sweaters), the V-neck cardi was adopted by Kurt Cobain and his unwashed ilk in the 90s, and even Her Majesty the Queen, teamed with a kilt and an Hermès scarf.
My preferred silhouette is the relaxed, deconstructed one. Particularly the Tara from & Daughter, and the Yao Knit from Studio Nicholson with its rounded shape and ribbed details. But if you’re short, you might prefer a fitted or abbreviated cut. This one by Le Kasha* is great with its cropped proportions and generous sleeves. Apparently, Le Kasha used to supply cashmere to the likes of Lanvin and Chanel in the ’20s, so there’s a nice back-story. Or this boxy cropped wool cardi from Thakoon* (top) is an all-round winner – good luck picking just one colour…
If you want to keep it really classic, head to the men’s department – Mr. Porter is a good place to start*. Or Crimson Cashmere. Linda V Wright is the queen of the V-neck cardi and found so many female customers shopping her men’s selection, she adapted the women’s cut to suit. Isn’t it perfect?
Or for the elevated grandad cardigan, look no further than the shawl-collared ‘Kennedy sweater’. Inspired by the style President Kennedy wore off-duty with Jackie and the kids, Crimson’s comes in 12-ply cashmere in four colours, with raglan sleeves, tan leather buttons and patch pockets – all made in Scotland. An ‘office cardigan’ made for the Oval office?
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
MAIN IMAGE: Thakoon*
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