Most cardigans that basic menswear followers admire fall into certainly one of two camps.
First is the cardigan to be worn beneath a jacket, incessantly sleeveless. That is typically fairly skinny, and is sensible as a further layer for heat. It might probably look just a little old school with out sleeves, however capabilities higher beneath a jacket that approach.
Drake’s in its early years did so much to indicate how this model could be artistic and enjoyable, notably when loosely buttoned and in additional uncommon colors.
The second is the shawl-collar cardigan. Relatively than being designed to put on beneath a jacket, this can be a jacket substitute itself, with its distinguished collar and chunky knit. That model has grew to become perennially widespread as a result of it’s so flattering, notably on a slim man. It helps that Daniel Craig wears them once in a while too.
I really feel just like the dominance of those two is a cause why one other model is typically regarded down on.
After I mentioned the cardigan pictured above – the ‘Artwork Cardi’ from Connolly – one reader mentioned “the outsized match jogs my memory of days when cardigans had been virtually solely worn by OAPs”. One other commented “the dishevelled lower is unflattering bordering on ugly”.
Honest sufficient. Such a cardigan will not be flattering like a shawl-collar – which appears to offer all of us greater shoulders – and is not fitted like a sleeveless cardigan, which is flattering in hiding the waist, notably beneath a jacket.
However it could actually have nice model. It’s relaxed, simple, even louche. It isn’t fitted, however as a substitute in the proper material it drapes superbly.
A number of issues make it totally different from the cardigan your grandfather may need worn – and right here we’re into the refined artwork of knitwear design.
One is the burden. Typically that old school cardigan was a skinny factor, actually designed to be worn beneath a jacket just like the sleeveless mannequin described above. That by no means had sufficient good materials to drape properly.
In fact it’s not simply the burden, however the density, the ply and the fibre, which decide how straight or softly it falls, how liable it’s to crease and wrinkle.
Then there’s the lower. A looser cardigan is best with a beneficiant sleeve. Not so broad that you’d discover, however sufficient to maintain it in proportion with the physique, and persevering with the sensation of luxurious measurement.
With Connolly’s Artwork Cardi, this aesthetic is echoed within the straight lower on the entrance (ones for tailoring typically have a kink above the primary button); the low place of the buttons; the turn-back cuffs; and the saddle shoulder, which creates a clean run from shoulder to sleeve.
I really like studying and occupied with design like this. It’s so refined, a lot much less apparent than discussions of material weights, patterns or fibre. Typically it eludes even shut examination – like an artwork, it requires schooling, somebody to level issues out to you.
And it’s very arduous to place a value on, in the way in which males with their logical minds typically need to.
All credit score right here to Connolly’s knitwear designer Lorraine Acornley.
Personally, I like this drapier look most when the remainder of the ensemble is sort of straight or cinched.
For instance on this outfit, I’m carrying tailor-made flannels in my regular mid-to-high rise, with a belt. A extra normal low-rise trouser would look sloppier, as would a non-tailored trouser. The belt emphasises each, creating a spotlight and a specific tied-up neatness.
Connolly do and have completed totally different colors on this cardigan, however the cream fits me notably because it goes with virtually any tailoring – brown linen or olive flannel, navy serge or black wire. White is often the very best color of blouse, however that may be an oxford, poplin or polo.
I don’t assume it’s at its finest buttoned, and maybe this detracts from its practicality. However it doesn’t cease it being one thing I attain for on a regular basis at dwelling.
One factor it does require, on me, is a shirt. Others can put on them with a T-shirt, nevertheless it turns into too unflattering on me and not using a collar.
The mohair cardigan from The Actual McCoy’s I featured just lately is similar, though there’s additionally a complete different aesthetic with mohair cardigans, which have grow to be modern once more just lately and are sometimes worn with only a T-shirt beneath.
Nonetheless, for me it all the time regarded finest on Kurt when he had that comfortable shirt on – undone, with denims.
As famous in this 12 months’s Spring High 10, I additionally purchased Connolly’s ‘knit waistcoat’ (under), and the purpose about its free, drapey look is similar.
If you happen to didn’t do this on, or maybe look intently, it might appear the identical as that basic sleeveless cardigan we described earlier. However all the pieces past the floor is definitely totally different – the physique form, the ribbing rigidity, the shoulder width, the ribbing, the placket measurement, the collar top.
This, once more, is what design is all about.
In reality the Connolly vest is sort of lower extra like a workwear piece than a tailor-made cardigan. It’s horrible beneath a blazer, however nice worn like a gilet, over a shirt on a heat day, or layered beneath a chore jacket.
It jogs my memory just a little, really, of the waistcoats I keep in mind seeing males in north Pakistan put on over their shalwar kameez, once I travelled there years in the past. Thick, straight lower, and infrequently worn free in the course of the day. It was a extremely trendy look – sensible and straightforward.
So in the event you really feel prefer it, maybe rethink the slouchy cardigan. It may be pretty, elegant, even different.
And given how a lot the super-tight, super-short, stretchy-fabric look appears to be hanging round in menswear, I believe it is vital to speak about how enticing draped material could be.
Beneath are photos of the black Actual McCoy’s talked about, the Connolly knitted vest, and the Artwork Cardi layered beneath my suede belted jacket from Fred Nieddu.
Studio images, James Holborow. Different inside photographs, Jamie Ferguson.