Jess Cart­ner-Mor­ley

The best cardi­gan on the high street

The Guardian - Weekend - - Contents - Cardi­gan, £35, and heels, both mark­sand­spencer.com. Top, £85, kitris­tu­dio.com. Trousers, £36, top­shop.com

Cardis

It is ridicu­lous for me to even think of buy­ing any more cardi­gans. I have loads al­ready. There are cardi­gans hid­ing un­der coats on the hooks in the hall­way. There is a drawer stuffed full of cardi­gans squished up like cot­ton wool balls, from which when opened a heady scent drifts out of an­ti­moth laven­der oil mixed with the wood­i­ness that per­me­ates knitwear worn to watch an en­tire box set in the cosiest spot on the sofa right next to the fire. There is a cardi­gan that took up res­i­dency on the back of the bath­room door years ago and some­how never budged.

But all of those cardi­gans are wrong. They fall into two camps of equal and op­pos­ing wrong­ness. Half of them are crew-neck, fine-knit, waist-length cardi­gans, which I have in end­less colours. They have no shape on the hanger, be­ing es­sen­tially de­signed for shape­less arm-and­shoul­der cov­er­age over a dress or vest or T-shirt. They are un­de­ni­ably use­ful when you are a bit chilly but don’t want to wear a coat. But there is some­thing ir­ri­tat­ingly apolo­getic about them. They are cardi­gans for a bor­ing woman who puts a bor­ing cardi­gan on over her bor­ing dress to ward off goose­bumps at a bor­ing party. Who wants to be her? Let’s be Ri­hanna, who if she got chilly at a party would shoul­der-robe a mas­sive shiny padded jacket in­stead.

So that’s one half of my cardi­gans. The other half are over­sized, woolly mam­moths. These are ac­tu­ally quite fash­ion­able fash­ion­able, in a Prada-cat­walk kind of a way, but un­less you look as if you are on a Prada cat­walk you look, in­stead, like an awk­ward sixth for­mer hunched into their teenage angst com­fort blan­ket.

So yeah, I need a new cardi­gan. In fact, I need this one. Were money no ob­ject, I would be get­ting my new cardi­gan from Gucci, the source of mod­ern cardi­gan in­spo, but fail­ing that I have looked ev­ery­where else and de­cided this Marks & Spencer one is the best. It is neat enough to look smart, with­out be­ing sheep­ish; it is bold enough to be a fash­ion state­ment with­out look­ing mad.

But it’s not just about get­ting a new cardi­gan, it’s about treat­ing it prop­erly. I don’t just mean not leav­ing it hang­ing on a chair so it gets weird ind in­dents in the shoul­ders. I mean wear­ing it with an in­ter­est­ing pair of trousers, like this, so that it get gets to be part of an out­fit. I mean putting it with ah a high-neck blouse or a fine cot­ton polo neck rath rather than over a vest top. The new cardi­gan isn’t jus just a layer, it’s a look. If you have one, time to brin bring it out of hid­ing

1 Pink, £180, ganni.com

2 Red cropped, £22, riveris­land.com

3 Win­dow­pane check, £89.50, jcrew.com

4 Leop­ard, £19.99, zara.com

5 Caramel, £190, bim­bay­lola.com 1

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