I love cardigans. So much so that the first inspiration album I ever put together was themed around cardigans. But in the past five years, my perspective has changed some. So I thought it would be worthwhile to put together a new album to share some new perspectives. And I broke it out to five sections:
- Classic ribbed shawl-collar cardigans, which, in the classic styling—solid colors, thick ribbed knit, fit nicely into the casual end of a classic menswear wardrobe, but can really be worn in a wide variety of ways.
- Cowichan cardigans and similar patterns, particularly the brilliant work of RRL, which, as an indigenous American style, fits into western themes exceptionally well, and are just generally... so damn good.
- Mohair cardigans, which I think look cool in funky prints and colorful styles. This can feel like a hypebeast option, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
- Coogi Cardigans, a short section but an interesting one.
- Other textures and patterns, like cable knits, patchwork, argyle patterns...
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Classic Shawl Collar Cardigans
as cozy as they come
So, generally speaking, over the past five years, I've sort of rejected minimalism and accepted that funky and interesting clothing can just be great. But that's not to say that all clothing needs to be funky.
The thick ribbed knit shawl collar cardigan is simultaneously simple and beautiful. It is the essence of coziness in its quintessential format. The main reason I want to be wealthy is so that I can afford to wear $1000-12-ply-cashmere-shawl-collar-cardigans around the house all day, every day, and not have to worry about pilling or anything like that. That's my goal in life.
Where to get shawl collar cardigans
- Spier & Mackay. 4-Ply merino wool for $200 is hard to beat. Use referral code E4HPYF to get 20% off your first order.
- Colhays, with good options for both lambswool and cashmere.
- Dreyden which... doesn't have anything listed on its website yet, but you're gonna want some, trust me. 8-ply cashmere.
- The "Indulgent Shawl Collar Cardigan" from Permanent Style and Anderson & Sheppard. 12-ply cashmere.
- For a somewhat different option, North Sea Clothing makes a low-gauge version without the thick ribbing.
and similarly-patterned cardigans
A piece of indigenous American heritage, the Cowichan-style cardigan fits neatly next to western themes, and also brings that feeling of... Good classic casual style. Cool, meaningful, not minimal or experimental, time-tested but bold nonetheless.
Some cowichans are cable knits. Some are buttoned, or belted, or zippered. Sometimes the patterns are used in different contexts.
Where to get Cowichan-style sweaters
- Kanata Hand Knits.
- Pendleton, as a relative budget option,
- RRL handknit cardigans. That's "Double R L," if you're saying it out loud. You can sometimes also find good ones from Polo Ralph Lauren, but the RRL handknits are absolutely the move.
- Chamula, which has a variety of styles
and stuff that looks like it
Mohair is an opportunity, in my mind, for fun. Solid mohair cardigans are fine, but I'm not going to list them here as inspo. The fuzziness and shoulder-seasonness and slight sheen and hype culture around them just makes them such a good opportunity for the funkiest patterns you can find.
Mohair is good for spring and fall. It's breathable and cooling in a way that's hard to explain if you haven't tried it on. Some find it itchy, but I don't think that's quite the right way to describe the experience of wearing it. There is a certain coziness to it.
Where to get mohair cardigans
- Supreme, although given their drop patterns, linking to their website feels futile.
- Nepenthes brands such as Needles and South2West8.
- Todd Snyder, although their current selection of mohair cardigans doesn't speak to me... I much prefer this Argyle Mohair Polo. They also have alpaca options which are kind of reminiscent of mohair.
- Marni comes out with something new every season.
and Coogi-style cardigans
This will be a short section. I'm not always a fan of these maximalist sweaters, but I appreciate them when used well. As with madras, I believe they look best when layered thoughtfully. I also think they speak to a certain sense of nostalgia for reasons that... aren't entirely clear—no, Bill Cosby never wore Coogis.
Where to get Coogi Cardigans
all cardigans are special
some more places to get cardigans
- A Kind of Guise
- Chamula, again, for a variety of styles
- ts(s) easy cardigans, although there's not a lot in stock at the moment (here or anywhere). They tend to make for good casual summer layers.
- Story Mfg. for the vegans and hippies in the crowd.
- Filson's handmade full-zip shawl collars are fun.