If you follow us on Pinterest or Tumblr, you can probably tell that we hunt for fresh style inspiration on the daily. Whether we find a bold ensemble that inspires us to wear more color or a new take on basics that changes the way we see our closet, we’re always curating images that intrigue us. So when the FYI Network approached us about partnering up in honor of its new series, “Style Unzipped,” we were over the moon!
To catch you up if you’re just tuning in, “Style Unzipped” is a TV series that takes its viewers through the history of clothing and fashion trends with a dash of humor. (Did you know that thongs were originally created for men? Our jaws are on the floor, too!) Today, we’re taking a closer look at the cardigan. Read on for a fun mini-history lesson, plus some tips for taking this cozy essential from day to night.
Although we love pullover sweaters, we don’t love frizz-infused hair, which is often an unfortunate side effect of wrestling into them. Cardigans, on the other hand, manage to combine cozy and cool in one chic silhouette—we appreciate that they can be very gracefully pulled on over just about anything. You may be surprised to learn that this style actually began with a British Earl!
We can thank James Brudenell—the 7th Earl of Cardigan—for this nifty wardrobe staple. A British Army officer, Brudenell was reportedly often seen in a knitted version of an Army waistcoat during the Crimean War. The cardigan has basically been a popular wardrobe staple ever since, transitioning from classic sweater sets into collegiate-inspired options into boyfriend- or grandpa-style sweaters. It’s received sartorial updates nearly every decade, which we certainly can’t say about many other trends of eras past (we’re looking at you, polyester parachute pants!).
While the mention of a “classic” cardigan may remind you of preppy poodle skirts from the ’50s or Sandy’s good-girl ensembles in “Grease” (great Halloween costume ideas, P.S.), we’re giving this sweater a modern update. To prove that this vintage-inspired style is perfectly hip, we paired a black cardigan with high-waisted shorts, velvet loafers and a bowler-style tote adorned with a silk scarf. For an #IWokeUpLikeThis feel, we put some loose waves in our hair and threw on some aviators. This combo ensures retro flair and contemporary coolness.
To take this look from day to night, we switched out our black tank for a gold sequin top, and kicked off our loafers to make way for a pair of black pointy-toed pumps. A vintage metallic clutch completes the outfit—no other accessories or jewelry needed!
Forget any affiliations with Mister Rogers! The slouchy, oversized cardigan has been back in style for quite a while; it’s worked especially well with the revival of ’90s-style leggings and skinny jeans. We find that this kind of cardigan functions wonderfully as a lightweight coat during seasonal transitions, too.
For a heading-into-fall outfit, we paired a camel-colored cardigan with a chambray shirt and denim cutoffs. Note: The trick to successfully wearing denim on denim is to make sure that the shades of denim are distinctly different. Finish off the look with a pair of classic sneakers and a structured purse.
Think you can’t take your oversized cardigan out at night? Think again! Ditch your denim for bold black leather pants or leggings, then add a pair of leopard pumps. A sparkly clutch or piece of statement jewelry will give this outfit a bit more pizazz.
In spite of its seemingly ancient origin, the (modern) cardigan is totally on-point for your on-trend closet!
Make sure to catch new episodes of “Style Unzipped” on the FYI network every Thursday at 10/9c.
This post was brought to you in partnership with the FYI Network. We appreciate your support of sponsored work—it allows us to bring you fun, free content all week long!