Posted at 5:00 AM Oct 23, 2009By Kathleen Willcox
Like Grandma Moses, you'll generally find me swathed in layers of cardigans, scarves and brightly hued fake pashminas. Whenever a member of my unholy trinity of goose-bump warriors gets a little love from the fashion gods, I rejoice. And more importantly: I stock up.
In this grim recessionista season, the variety of cardigan styles cluttering the internets and the shelves of my favorite shops is good for everyone on a budget, because they're so damn versatile.
Pair a long one with trousers or a simple skirt and pumps, and you're set for the office; change into sexy cigarette jeans, sky-high stilettos and sling a chunky belt around your waist, and you're ready to hit your roommate's-best-friend-from-college's-cousin's party, where there's allegedly some hot guy who's new in town and is also totally into Japanimation and is as stoked to meet you are as you are him.
A round-up of cardigans that will warm the cockles of your heart, and your epidermis:
For the girly girls:
Occasionally, I enjoy slipping into a dusky pink ensemble and embracing my inner chick flick-watching, mani/pedi-loving, chocolate-craving girly girl. This ruffled cardigan (pictured above) from J. Crew embodies the smart, classic, feminine spirit; it's something your grandmother would have worn and something your granddaughter will probably wear. Paired with pearl earrings and a black pencil skirt, it's perfect for the office or a tea party in which copious petite fours will be consumed - throw it over a ratty tank and a slouchy pair of boyfriend jeans, throw on a funky bracelet or two and you're set for an afternoon spent wandering flea markets and sipping espresso while reading Proust. $98.
For the laid-back ladies:
Sometimes when I dress for my semi-fancy day job, I'm just not in the mood for donning the quasi-corporate armor - but I need to look the part. That's where relatively pricey ($198) pieces like this cascading cardigan form Eileen Fisher prove to be absolutely priceless. At nearly $200, it better be! The angled front, angled pockets and über luxe material (from free-range flocks of alpaca that graze on open meadows in Peru), perfectly executed ribbing at the butt-skimming hem and extra long cuffs make me feel like a million bucks. Its swingy shape is also perfect bloat-cover - and let's face it, that makes everyone a winner. When I slip out of work, I just slip off my trousers, slink on my tightest jeans, throw on a chunky belt and wha la - I'm ready to rock happy hour.
For the mod chicks:
For the ladies most unlikely to wear cardigans - the breathlessly sprinting fashion-forward - this one may pass muster. And at $19.80 from Forever 21, it's not a risky investment. The curve-hugging, hip skimming v-neck evokes Mondrian design and 60's fashion sense filtered through Austin Power's sensibility while skydiving on an acid trip. It would totally work in the office with a drab pair of pants and some boring flats, and then be ready for a gallery opening in Billyburg with some ironically garish gold hoops, sky high freaky deaky heels and midnight black leggings.