How cardigans became fashion's most wanted item (and where to buy the best)

A cardigan may make you think of your old school uniform, but it is now a fashion 'it' piece. Here is where to buy seven of the best

For me, cardigans are synonymous with my grandmother and primary school.

My grandmother had one in every colour, while I was subjected to wearing a grey version from the age of four until 12. The memories of Irish verbs and Alive-O singalongs are embedded in the seams of all cardigans for me. Maybe this psychological reasoning is why it took me so long to get on board with the trend.

Somewhere along the catwalks of the fashion capitals, cardigans were reinvented as a wardrobe 'it' piece. Gucci and Balenciaga created their own versions which brought the classic knitted piece back into focus. No longer dowdy or meant solely for uniform purposes, it's now a reasonable idea to wear one over a sequinned dress for a night out. Furthermore, it is a perfect partner to a pair of jeans (preferably while showing some element of a midriff).


And if you were to wear one with a wrap dress and a wicker basket, well you might as well shout "Allez Les Bleus" and move to France.


Cardigans had a similar renaissance during the nineties, featuring on films such as Empire Records and 10 Things I Hate About You. These movies quickly hit the consciousness of teenage girls everywhere and vóila, you have a mass trend.

In 2020, we are fiends for nostalgia. Certain aspects of past decades roll around on an orbit like our solar system and the nineties is our most-loved planet.

Adding to this, we have an unhealthy obsession with French dressing – both the condiment and the clothes. French women wear cardigans with aplomb. Fashion 'it' girl Jeanne Damas knew this when she created the clothing brand Rouje in 2016 because now the site is filled with wondrous knits which are a far cry from my uniform days.

Soon other retailers took note, particularly & Other Stories which has the best selection on the high street.

Wear yours with basically everything in your wardrobe. With cardigans, the versatility is endless.


Maybe my grandmother was onto something.

Billy cardigan, €165 at Rouje

Waffle knit wool blend cardigan, €89 at & Other Stories

Blue fluffy tie cardigan, €29 at Topshop


Puff sleeve cardigan, €89 at & Other Stories

Daisy Street plus 90s cropped knitted cardigan, €24.87 at ASOS

Cardigan Lino, €160 at Rouje


Cashmere knit cardigan, €359 at Ganni

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