While many of us don't look at our closet and wonder about the history of its contents, that doesn't make cardigan sweater history any less valuable. By understanding where our clothing comes from, we can begin to see how many articles of clothing have not only shaped our lives, but have also become important symbols of comfort and peace. A simple cardigan sweater is not just a sweater that you will hang in your closet - it's a stepping stone on the way to some of the more popular styles today.

What you might want to realize is that the cardigan sweater is still a popular fashion item today. It can be worn with jeans or khakis, but some styles of cardigan can also be worn with a dress as a cover-up or with shorts on a chilly evening. This highly versatile piece of clothing has become the fall back piece of clothing for those that become cold, but that don't want the bulk of a larger sweatshirt or a crew neck sweater.

The Beginnings of the Cardigan

The accepted story of the cardigan sweater begins as far back as the mid 1800's during the Crimean War. James Thomas Brudenell was the 7th Earl of Cardigan - and he's who the sweater was named after. This British military commander served in this war and thus began the wearing of the cardigan sweater in popular culture.

But the cardigan sweater became very popular in the 17th century with the French and in the British Isles with the fisherman of the times. These sweaters proved to be invaluable on the cold seas.

Once fashioned with harder materials like wool, this one piece sweater generally has buttons or other fastening pieces in the front. These buttons will help to close the front of the sweater either from the bottom to the top or perhaps only to the middle of the torso, depending on the style and the cut. Some cardigans will also have zippers instead of buttons that can help to secure the sweater in the front.

People Have Been Wearing Cardigans for Years

Though the most famous wearer of the cardigan sweater has to be Mr. Rogers - the children's TV show host - he's not alone in his love for the cardigan sweater. You may remember that Mr. Rogers used to change into his cardigan at the beginning of every television show to show his transition into time with his 'neighbors.' For many that grew up with Mr. Rogers, this sweater became a consistent and comfortable part of their childhood.

There is also a story in which a cardigan prevented an assassination attempt against a Bulgarian radio editor. Apparently a secret agent tried to inject this editor with a pellet of poisonous ricin, the pellet didn't extend into the skin because the cardigan sweater he was wearing was too thick of wool.

How to Wear a Cardigan

Cardigans are a good choice for both women and men - though sometimes a man's cardigan is known as a mandigan. These sweaters can be made out of nearly any kind of material, though if you're using the sweater for added warmth, you will want to choose the more traditional materials - wool and cotton.

These sweaters can be worn as part of a twinset for women or by themselves over any sort of shirt. Some people prefer to wear them as almost a jacket for their outfit, while others make the cardigan the main piece of their attire.

With a cardigan, you can create a new look for your wardrobe without having to change what you're already wearing. And if Mr. Rogers says that it's okay to wear cardigans, shouldn't you?

About the Author:

Grant Eckert is a writer for Leon Levin. Leon Levin is a leading provider of Women's Clothing | Cardigan Sweaters

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