It’s gotten to that point in the winter where I refuse to believe it’s still winter.
Even when it’s in the high 30s (I’d probably have to swallow my pride and put on a coat if it was any colder than that), I defiantly leave the house with just a sweater. I am a warrior! (jk, but I hope that’s obvious.)
But I can’t get by on just any sweater. It needs to be a thick, close knit that doesn’t let in cold breezes. It needs to be versatile and layer well. And it’s nice if it adds a bit of interest rather than being purely utilitarian.
Luckily, I recently added two cardigans to my wardrobe that tick all the boxes. One is vintage, the other is new…
Carraig Donn Vintage Wool Cardigan
Made in Ireland, the intricate knit pattern is what first attracted me to this style. This cardigan is made with thick, closely knit wool that keeps its shape, with very little drape. I can wear this in 40 degree weather without feeling cold, which is a feat of engineering. Sometimes traditional really is best.
These are pretty easy to find secondhand on Ebay, but you can also buy a new version from ethical artisan marketplace, NOVICA. For reference, I have a 34″ bust and 29″ waist, and I ordered a vintage medium.
Everlane Texture Cotton Cardigan
This style has been heavily compared to the one-size-fits-all Babaa cardigan, which sells for considerably more money, and I admit that at first, I agreed with the comparison. However, as far as I can tell from photos of the Babaa cardigan (I don’t own one), the drape and overall fit is quite different. For one, Everlane’s version comes in multiple sizes, so if you skew smaller or larger than Babaa’s “ideal” fit, you can still get a version that works for you. And the bottom band looks a bit more tailored, too.
The Texture Cotton Cardigan is cotton with a bit of (non-biodegradable) nylon, but I actually think the nylon is somewhat essential to this style because it keeps the cotton from stretching from its own weight. I could imagine needing to constantly wash and re-block it if it weren’t for the structure the nylon provides.
I ordered a size small, which is my typical size for anything Everlane advertises as oversized.
I can’t believe it took me this long to discover the practicality of a thick, blocky sweater. I am thankful that we live in a time where anything goes with fashion, and I have to say I have been really inspired by the lovely vintage sweaters my retirement-age volunteers wear in the winter. Without them, I don’t know that I would have had the guts to wear so many items that don’t fit within the range of “trends” for people my age.