Let me start by saying this: No, this is not one of those “essential” articles that the menswear industry tends to use just about every other month. Your life will not suddenly change because you, after reading this article, decided to go out and purchase one of the garments mentioned below. See, I think the industry honestly overuses its “wear this, not that” card way too often. Here’s a point: Wear the clothes that speak to your individuality. If you like J.Crew and the way it fits, looks, feels—have at it! By no means am I going to suddenly look away because you resemble a J. Crew mannequin. Fashion, in the real scheme of things, is about expressing yourself.

The real reason I wrote this article on cardigans is because I truly enjoy wearing them. I think the reason comes back to my great uncle, who even at his late age in life, still consistently wears his. No, he doesn’t have the Internet and could care less that they are “in style” (whatever the hell that means). It’s a classic piece, one that no matter what age, will only get better in time. I’ve matched up, in my mind, five of the most versatile cardigans that you can wear whenever you’d like (although I don’t recommend wool in the summer, that is unless you live in Antarctica).

Michael Bastian Cable Knit Cardigan

I truly admire everything about this piece. This is that Bentley that comes gently down your street that we just wish for one ride in. One big look this season is the belted fabric. Michael Bastian, one of GQ’s best new designers in America, takes the classic textured knit for a style overall.

 

Rag & Bone Avery Cotton/Merino Wool

What I like most about this piece is its burgundy color, which can be paired with a variety of colored denim or chinos. The Avery reminds me most of what my great uncle would typically wear on his Sunday’s around the house. Rag & Bone has a great fit model on most of their pieces, which helps create a tailored look on any gent.

Odin Shawl Collar Cardigan

Oatmeal can be a tough color to pull off—it sometimes can get a “dirty gray” look after being worn a few times. However, Odin mixes a light camel color into their pattern weave, which they pull off well. I’ve been up to their store in SoHo and had the chance to fall in love with this piece (so much so that I actually bought it myself). Yes, your girlfriend is most likely going to want to borrow this cardigan and at $225.00, you really can’t go wrong.

 

J.Crew Lambswool Three Pocket Cardigan

Yes—chocolate brown. I really feel like we’ve gotten away from this color tone in the last few years. Paired with a dark denim, light khaki trouser, hell even chalk white cords, you honestly can’t go wrong. The shawl is a bit heavier than it appears in their photos. It can almost double as a light jacket on a chillier night.  And the best part? Price point. J. Crew’s three pocket cardigan starts right under $150.00.

Steven Alan Classic Cardigan

Steven Alan created a wardrobe staple: a simple, elegant, and clean-looking cardigan. This is a prime example of the versatility of the cardigan. Pair it with a simple white tee and jeans for your every day errands but have the option to dress it up with a button up and blazer.

Now I leave the rest to you, my friends. Go forth, seek, and discover what cardigan fits you best. Any ones I forgot that you’d like us to see? Send me an email. I’d be happy to share the knowledge: chris@aandhmag.com

About Christopher Dam

Christopher Dam is a senior writer/photographer with A&H Magazine