CARDIGANS are a hot fashion item. No, do not adjust your reading glasses. The humble knitwear garment is enjoying a sartorial moment as evidenced by its growing prominence and popularity among social media influencers.

That sounds intriguing?

It is certainly interesting. Curiously, the current trend seems to involve a mid-buttoning technique to create an hourglass shape and, in many cases, to show off toned abs. 

Did you say abs?

Correct. The "styling hack", as it has been dubbed, sees only two to four cardigan buttons being fastened – roughly around chest level – with the remainder left undone.

Is that how cardigans work?

Not usually. They are more typically something that you pop on when it gets a tad nippy, say when taking an evening stroll along the Blackpool Promenade while on holiday (remember those?). And, as every granny knows, the sleeves can be a great place to tuck a tissue if you are without pockets.

What if you don't have toned abs?

There is no reason why you can't still showcase your midriff, although the idea of cardigans is that they are meant to be comfortable and cosy. Getting a chilly navel is neither in my book.

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Has anyone cottoned on to that?

Some, it would seem. A recent article in Harper's Bazaar has hailed "the rise of desk cardigan," describing it as "the most comforting WFH piece you'll ever own".


Work from home. According to the feature: "Harper Lee's was drop-shouldered; Michelle Obama wears hers with pearls and dresses; and Toni Morrison likes hers with a shawl collar.

"Elsewhere, Carrie Bradshaw's was fluffy and fabulous, Bridget Jones wore hers with big pants and fancy PJs, and Jessica Fletcher was fond of alphabet and farmyard-animal intarsia."

Who invented cardigans?

The cardigan is named after Lieutenant-General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army officer who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War.

Brudenell, or so the story goes, coined the idea after noticing that the tails of his coat had accidentally been burnt off in a fireplace.

The cardigan, as we know it today, was modelled after a knitted wool waistcoat. Over time, the term has been applied to sleeved styles.

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Anything else?

Fashion designer Coco Chanel is credited with popularising cardigans for women in the 1920s because she disliked how tight-necked jumpers messed up her hair when she pulled them over her head.

What happened to ne'er cast a clout till May be out?

Quite. Keep that cardigan buttoned up to the neck until at least mid-June.