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The Cardigan - The Clothing Equivalent of Comfort Food

When you're glancing over the contents of your closet and your eyes land on a favorite cardigan, you get a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe. It's something you can wear over a T-shirt with your favorite jeans or with a blouse and skirt for the office.

So Many Styles

Though you probably grew up watching Mr. Rogers put on his trusty button-up cardigan every day, JCPenney offers you so many more options than that. Liz Claiborne, St. John's Bay, and Worthington all offer cardigans in longer lengths that extend to the top of the leg and stay open on the front for a flowing design. If you prefer, you can also pick up a cropped version that hits at the waist. The design house of a.n.a offers a style with a scarf-like layer at the lapel and another with pockets for keeping small items handy throughout the day.

So Many Fabrics

Wool may be the first thing that comes to mind, but cardigans today come in so many fine materials. Cotton blends, synthetics, and even soft and cozy jersey knits give you the ability to pair a cardigan with almost any top for almost any occasion. Heavier weight cloths keep you warm in the winter, but the cardigan is not just for cold weather. It's ideal for those cool winter or fall mornings that turn into warm days. You can add a layer without disrupting the look of your outfit with a big, thick coat or jacket.

So Many Colors and Prints

If your mental picture of a cardigan is always a drab gray or brown, think again. These days you'll find jewel tones are very popular with deep, rich reds, blues, and greens taking center stage. Fall classics like beige, burgundy, and black continue as staples of the well-rounded wardrobe. If you need something unique to wear over a solid color top, choose from an eclectic collection of stripes, argyles, and heather shades. Cardigans that close in the front and those with pockets often have contrasting colors in the zippers or pocket trims.

When you can add a piece to your wardrobe that can be worn casually, professionally, and formally, that's a true win-win situation. The cardigan is just such a piece. Jeans, khakis, and long skirts all look great with a simple top and a classic textured cardigan sweater. You can drape a lightweight cardigan made from an elegant fabric over a formal dress to guard against a chilly night. Just one or two cardigans can open up a world of possibilities for new outfits.

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