Fashion from the 1990s has been back for a while but the one item that remained elusive was the iconic cardigan. Worn by everyone from the cast of Friends to Cher in Clueless, a cardigan was arguably the sartorial symbol of that decade. You could wear a petite, fitted one in more of an Audrey Hepburn way or you could embrace the grunge movement and go totally baggy and apathetic in the vein of 90s poster child Kurt Cobain. So it is surprising that it took so long for the cardigan to make its way back through the 15-plus year fashion cycle and back into our business professional attire vestibule but it is finally here. Except it is a little different this time around.
First of all, people are wearing their cardigans a bit differently as we saw on the runways of Prada, Gucci and Christopher Kane. Now for the office, you probably don’t want to create the controversy that The Cut did when they suggested that you wear your cardigan backward in some sort of outcry to convention. And wearing it as a skirt like Mary-Kate Olsen did this summer is something only Mary-Kate Olsen could do. And you probably don’t want to reveal your undergarments as Katie Holmes did this summer when she broke the internet with her cashmere cardigan (dubbed the “sexigan”) but you could find something involving a cardigan that is completely office-appropriate.
Stylist Brad Goreski told Huffington Post that there are multiple ways to wear the cardigan (including backward) that can bring it into a whole new light. If you don’t love the prim and proper cardigan, opt for a bigger, longer one but then belt it to give it shape like this green one from Arket. “The natural waist is a good place to put the belt,” he said. Adding it to a long pleated skirt is a great work option.
Or think of the cardigan like a blouse like this one from Reformation. “Pair it with everything from jeans to a pencil skirt. The trick is shifting your mindset from it being a layering piece to the star of the show,” he continued. This one from Everlane is also a great work option. You could also layer the cardigan under a blazer for a real work look. You can also tuck it into your tailored trousers to pull it all together.
Even everyone’s favorite patriarch to hate, Logan Roy of Succession, wore a long shawl cardigan this season. He already invokes a strong sense of fear but perhaps he used a cozy cardigan as a manipulative tool.