How the cardie became an ‘It’ knit
There’s nothing but toned-up about this season’s must-have. Frumpy it ain’t!
Ah, CardigaNS. Surely up there with slippers in the glamour stakes. as the favoured knit of crooner Perry Como and chilly oldies everywhere, it’s come to symbolise the ultimate comfort wear.
But the tide started to turn in august, thanks to actress Katie holmes and a certain taupe cashmere cardie slipping saucily off her bronzed shoulder to reveal a matching knitted bra. and now, it’s this season’s ‘it’ knit, with countless appear
ances on autumn/winter catwalks, from Christopher Kane’s crystal-trimmed V-neck to Miu Miu’s camouflage design.
The enduring Nineties influence on fashion has a lot to do with the cardigan’s resurgence. The ‘grandad’ cardie became a subversive style statement for rockers such as Kurt Cobain, whose green mohair knit (complete with cigarette burns and stains) sold for a record £260,000 last month.
The last time I had a dalliance with a cardigan was in the mid-Nineties, when grunge was all the rage. I would raid the Marks & Spencer menswear department for oversized cardigans to wear with my treasured bottle-green Levi 501s.
Perhaps the cardigan’s unsexy image stems from its practical origins. Said to have been invented as a knitted wool waistcoat by the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade, to improve movement on the battlefield, it was Coco Chanel who eventually put a stylish spin on it and turned it into the height of chic for women.
This season, the golden rule is to contrast a cardie’s uniform feel with feminine elements. If you go for a V-neck, flash a sliver of decolletage and team it with a slinky pencil skirt or silk pussybow dress. A boyfriend cardie looks fabulous with cropped cigarette pants and loafers, but keep it slouchy.
I’ll be living in Pringle’s chunky, belted cardie coat, paired with jeans, hiking boots — and the inner grunge attitude that’s been simmering untapped all these years.