Unsung Wardrobe Hero – The Cardigan

capsule wardrobe piece cardiganI remember many moons ago having my “style” analysed (not a memory I want to relive especially the bit where you got measured in your underwear – or leotard – yes really! Although I did have a 24″ waist in those days… but I digress) the lady had a name for that rather slouchy sack that passed as a knit – the “victim cardy”. And I’m sure from that description you can probably imagine the look she was referring to, rather politically incorrectly.

Well the humble knit that used to get thrown on to add an extra layer of warmth is having it’s time in the spotlight and I have to admit my collection of cardigans is far larger than my collection of jackets, because for my lifestyle (and body) they just work better for me.

In some cases they take on the role of jacket and even coat – like this gorgeous one from Jigsaw, left. So if your capsule wardrobe is lacking in the cardigan department I recommend you have another look at what I think is a wardrobe staple and I’ve given you some suggestions to get you started.

The cardigan masquerading as a Jacket:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

Pure Collection, Jigsaw, Fenn Wright Manson

This season many of the cardigan jackets are in the popular biker shape, which if you have a curvy top half will work better on you than the traditional leather biker. Often thicker than a traditional cardigan these are great outer pieces before the cold weather really sets in.

The Coatigan:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

Pure Collection, Nicole Farhi, LK Bennett

How cosy are these? If you work in a less formal office they will take you from work to weekend especially the classic wrap style on the right. Pick a neutral colour like the ones shown and they will be a capsule wardrobe staple for years to come.

The Workday Cardigan:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

Jigsaw, LK Bennett, LK Bennett

The more traditional style of round or v-neck cardigan is perfect for more relaxed office days teamed with a skirt, tailored trousers or over a dress. The middle option is the equivalent of a knit blouse – only warmer and would look great with a pencil skirt and high heels.

The Weekend Cosy:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

Pure Collection, Hush-Homewear, LK Bennett

These are the ones you reach for on those chilly winter days and evenings. Worn with jeans or leggings, cashmere socks and a cup of hot chocolate they are what weekend comfort wear is all about.

The Evening Sparkle:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

Jigsaw, LK Bennett, Phase Eight

Perfect for covering less than fabulous arms with velvet jeans, skirts or a dress. If the occasion doesn’t call for full on evening wear these cardigans add a bit of sparkle without being over the top.

The Waterfall:

capsule wardrobe piece cardigan, how to wear cardigan

East, Mint Velvet, Pure Collection

Finally my favourite style – the waterfall. Shorter, neater versions are work appropriate with tailored trousers, but are equally good at the weekend. Longer styles and casual versions with a hood like the grey one above are perfect for lazy Sundays. What I love about the waterfall though is it works so well on a curvy body and hides any figure flaws you want to keep under wraps.

Are you a fan of the cardigan? Which is your favourite style?