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What Are Cardigans?

by XiaoBo 21 Sep 2023

A cardigan is a type of collarless sweater with a deep neckline. It can be buttoned and tailored or not buttoned at all.

A classic cardigan is a knitted jacket without a collar that fastens with a row of buttons and has two pockets in the front. It usually has a V-shaped neckline, but a rounded neckline is also common.

Modern cardigans have moved somewhat away from this framework, now they can be both with and without buttons, may not have pockets, and their shape can vary. Often the length of the cardigan reaches mid-thigh, but it can be shorter or longer. Therefore, today's cardigans can replace a jacket, jacket or even a coat.

It is a universal garment that can be used both for every day and for business and official meetings.

The composition of the fabric from which the cardigan is made can be different. Especially popular are models made of tweed, mohair, neoprene, cashmere, jersey, angora, as well as futer and bouclé. Cardigans made of wool - relevant in the winter season, this material will provide coziness, as well as warmth and protection from the cold. A good solution will also be these products made of suede, fleece, as well as mink and leather. The most popular models will be those that include mixed materials - a successful combination of natural and synthetic fabrics. They are very practical, durable and elastic, look great in different styles and are suitable for everyday use.

History of Cardigans

Today, in the closet of most men and women, there is a cardigan. This clothing has a deep V-shaped neckline, fastens with buttons almost the entire length, can have pockets and, unlike the jacket, does not have a collar. This type of clothing got its name from the name of Count Cardigan.

Such a sweater with a V-neck had been in his closet fishermen of the northern seas in the IX century. General James Cardigan for almost 8 centuries, this clothing was worn by ordinary people from France and Great Britain. But the familiar name, this type of clothing received only in the XIX century. It is associated with the name James Thomas Bradnell, Lord Cardigan. General James Cardigan was a real fashionista and connoisseur of taste. He wanted his troops to look as elegant as himself. This was especially noticeable during the Crimean War of 1854, when at the Battle of Balaclava the whole regiment was dressed like a needle. The soldiers wore a knitted jacket under their uniforms. It warmed well, and because it was without a collar, it was not visible under the uniform, and the uniform was not broken. When the war ended, the soldiers began to call the knitted jacket in honor of the count.

The very name "cardigan" first began to be mentioned in 1868.During the war, the U.S. Army was allowed to wear a special cardigan with epaulettes and buttons. It was mostly worn by generals or officers, but the sweater was not included in the list of military uniforms, so it was purchased at one's own expense. Cardigans were also popular in the post-war era in the UK. The sweaters were loved by students and teachers. After a while, cardigans became almost the main element of clothing in men's closet.
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Coco Chanel in 1918 created the first suit for women. The fashion designer believed that a cardigan was best worn with a straight cut skirt.

Due to the growing popularity of knitwear in the 60s of the twentieth century, cardigans are in demand almost all over the world. The most appreciated were hand-knitted cardigans. Even U.S. President Carter, very fond of wearing it.

In the 90-ies in fashion came a completely new sweaters. They were no longer knitted, but on the contrary sewn from silk or cotton.Men's cardigan Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain almost never took off his cardigan, which could not help but affect the tastes of young people. Long cardigans began to appear, which reached the knees or calves of the legs.

The XXI century did not become the sunset of this clothing. In our time, in fashion cardigans of wide and free forms, with asymmetry or multicolored coloring, with geometric prints of bright colors. Fashion designer Donna Koran decided that a collar in the chest area would not be superfluous, and cardigans similar to coats came out. It was very unconventional to add a collar made of mink, but today such a cardigan finds itself in closets.

The fame of the cardigan around the world is not only the merit of public personalities, women's cardigans, which could be seen on television, but also due to a number of advantages. The cardigan is quite lightweight and provides free movement. The materials from which sew cardigans are very practical. The sweater can be put in a bag or thrown on your arm. It is worth noting a very large selection of this clothing. Because of the rich palette of colors, shapes, materials of manufacture, a person will easily choose any favorite. This closet item will give you coziness and comfort, warmth and aesthetic pleasure.

Different Types of Cardigans

However, the great variety of models and styles of this type of clothing can confuse anyone. To help you distinguish between them, I will introduce 6 different types of cardigans.

1.Fashionable shortened cardigan with buttons

Cardigans with buttons are classic. The style is optimal for tall slender girls, because it is cut to fit the figure. For ladies of low height, it is necessary to assess the proportions of figure and height when trying on fashionable clothes. The model can be worn without accessories, effective additions are often large or compact buttons, decorative stitching.

As additions can be a string of pearls, thin chains. Products are combined with universal jeans, skinny pants, pencil skirts or sun style.
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2.Classic version without a collar of medium length

The collarless model of mid-thigh length is a universal classic addition to the outfit in cool weather. The cut of the model is loose. Clothing can be combined with blouses, business dresses. Modern models are made of materials of bright colors, do not provide clasps, products can be arbitrarily puffed and draped. For manufacturing is used knitted fabric, woolen yarns, dense fabrics. Knitted products can be with different textures and ornaments. Woolen models can be combined with leggings, jeans on the figure, skinny pants to create a stylish set. In some cases, you can complement the image with a thin belt.


A beautiful and practical model is a cardigan-coat. Products are made of dense fabric material (tweed) without lining. Fall and winter versions are complemented with fur, creating an original accent in the outfit. The color scheme, in addition to universal restrained tones (sand, brown, blue) can be saturated (red, burgundy, the color of autumn leaves). In addition to monochrome options, models resembling the cut of the coat, the original will look from the material with a cell, herringbone, diagonal pattern. A comfortable model is a jacket with a V-neck, the product is combined with blouses, shirts, thin knitwear.


Popular in the fashion season cardigan-poncho cardigans. The model is dressed over the head, does not have a standard neckline, can be supplemented with clasps for draping the product. The style is suitable for outfits in boho, sporty, casual, grunge styles. Products can be knitted or made of dense materials, comfortable for draping. Outerwear is optimal to combine with jeans and T-shirt, knit dress, long skirt, wide pants.


Cardigan-cape is characterized by a laconic cut, combining a cape and a coat. The length of the product is medium, the fabrics for manufacturing are recommended dense to preserve the shape. From the standard model, it is distinguished by an emphasized shoulder line, the absence of sleeves, which replace the slits for the hands. When selecting a set, it is important to take into account that the style refers to a subspecies of outerwear.

Products are combined with narrow pants, high boots or women’s boots and knit dresses. Cape in a casual style can be complemented with jeans, knitted leggings.

Cardigan-cape does not cover the hands, so it is complemented by long gloves. The outfit looks original with wide brim hats, and is also combined with spectacular brooches, metal clasps.


A stylish addition to the outfit can be a sleeveless cardigan in the form of an elongated vest. Elongated models help to visually lengthen the figure, suitable for women of different ages and folds. Clothing is optimal for summer, spring, fall.

Products allow you to create original youth images or stylish layered outfits for offices. Clothing is used in combination with pants, leggings, skinny jeans.

For cool weather, we recommend knitted vests. Products can attract attention with large textured knitting or large clasps. Openwork vest is suitable for creating romantic images, sets of outfits in the style of ethno, boho. For a business style suitable products knitted in the techniques of smooth, elastic band, supplemented with lapels.

Beautiful cardigans in the form of a vest are complemented with hoods, voluminous pockets, ties. Classic options can be without buttons and fasten with a brooch, original pin.

How to Style a Cardigan

Below I will introduce ways to match three different types of cardigans.
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For a short cardigan:

1. With pants, skirt or shorts with an exaggerated waist. You will get a laconic and elegant image.

2. A linen top or combination in combination with a cardigan creates a very romantic and fragile image. In this case, it is important that things were similar in shade and in no case contrasting.

3. A cardigan with a t-shirt or shirt is the perfect solution for the office or for every day. The only thing to remember: the shirt or T-shirt in this case should not be overloaded with details, drawings and other decor.

For a long cardigan:

1. Long cardigan + white T-shirt + jeans = universal, comfortable and at the same time stylish image for every day. And the style of the latter can be any. However, if we are talking about a cardigan for large knitting, it is best to favor skinnies.

2. A long cardigan is perfectly combined with dresses made of light flowing fabrics - as if in contrast. It is important that the cardigan was longer than the dress. An excellent solution would be a belt at the waist.

For a cardigan with buttons:

1. Cardigan on buttons is perfectly combined with skinny pants and jeans. Simple and stylish at the same time. Today, grey cardigans are especially in fashion: they go perfectly with blue jeans.

2. It can be tucked a little into jeans, emphasizing the waist.

3. A buttoned cardigan will emphasize your femininity in combination with a vintage blouse or shirt.
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