The Cardigan: Winter Primer

The holidays have come and gone, leaving us with little to distract us from the bitter cold of the remaining winter months. As the temperatures drop, it creates a situation where you need to be comfortable and yet not look like the Bermuda Winter Olympic team. Fortunately, as it becomes unbearably cold, layering becomes the perfect remedy.

One of the most versatile options when it comes to layering is the cardigan. For most,  “cardigan”  triggers an immediate flashback to Mr. Rodgers singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” But if worn properly, a cardigan can  provide a unique look with a hint of depth that perfectly blends practicality with high-fashion when the mercury falls. Whether it’s  a cool night in L.A. or a harsh winter in Scotland, cardigans are  adaptable for any occasion or climate.


As with any sweater, be sure to check the tags for the recommended wash settings.


J.Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan - $89.50

This cardigan is a day in, day out choice that will earn its keep from the early months of fall until the late months of spring. Merino cardigans are a bit warmer than their cotton or cashmere-cotton counterparts and tend to be more durable as well. J. Crew created a enduring look with this cardigan by holding off on all the frills found on some of the other cardigans on the shelf today, making it perfect for almost any occasion short of your next ugly sweater party. You can pair this cardigan with anything from a plain t-shirt to a button-down and tie. In addition to the featured J.Crew sweater, the ASOS Merino Cardigan ($24.64) and the Club Monaco Merino Cardigan ($69.00) also get our vote.


Banana Republic Navy Shawl-Collar Cardigan - $98.00

Layering is a great way to overcome the wrath of winter, but too many layers can transform you into the real-life Michelin man. Some days, it may get too cold for the all-purpose cardigan, forcing you to break out the heavy attire. Enter the chunky cardigan. While  maintaining the fashionable stylings of the all-purpose cardigan, the added thickness and warmth of the chunky cardigan is ideal for those times when it’s too cold to be outside, but you have to be. Banana Republic’s navy shawl-collar cardigan above is a prime example of combining form and function . All sizes are available as of posting. Use the code BRTIME to get 40% off. Other chunky cardigans we recommend include the J.Crew Italian Wool Shawl-Collar Cardigan ($128.00) and the Charles Tyrwhitt Grey Shawl Collar Cardigan ($110.00).


Suit Supply - Blue Cardigan - $99.00

Sometimes you just need a cardigan for the sake of adding a layer for variety. If you’re in Southern California, there’s no need to wear a cardigan constructed for the brisk mornings in Chicago. On the  opposite end of the spectrum from the chunky cardigan, you have the lightweight cardigan. Instead of being woven from heavier wools, these cardigans are usually cotton-based, giving them a breathable exterior. Suit Supply isn’t known for their knitwear, but if you can takes your eyes off the suits for a second you’ll notice they make some desirable sweaters. Similar to their suits, Suit Supply’s sweaters have a very fashion-forward and tailored design. This blue cardigan a bit of a guilty purchase at $99.00, but it pays for itself because it can be worn year-round with nearly any outfit combination. Make sure to double check their size guide as their sizes tend to run small. Some other light-weight cardigans that we like are the Bonobos Grey Cotton Cashmere Cardigan ($88.00) and the E-Spirit Grey Cotton Cardigan ($54.96).




A lifelong Washingtonian save for a stint at the great Pennsylvania State University, Eric now resides in the D.C. area. While not one for sound financial decisions, Eric enjoys the lifestyle and the appeal of the gentleman. He loves the curiosities of life, nothing interests him like traveling to a new place, a well-made suit, house music, or unexpected adventures leading to memorable stories, that is, if he remembers. He’s also the resident bartender for What Is A Gentleman and has the bartending school certificate to prove it.