Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crazy For Cardigans!

"Victory is mine! Victory is mine. Great day in the morning, people, victory is mine.... I drink from the keg of glory ... "

I'm totally savoring my Josh Lyman-esque fashion moment because cardigans -- my long-standing wardrobe staple since about the eighth grade -- are suddenly haute.

Ha, take that Jenny Simmons!

Ok, fine, so Michelle Obama might have had a liiiittle something to do with bringing them in vogue but still.

I favor cardis partly because I'm always cold but also because they're a great alternative to the traditional blazer or jacket, which have always seemed too buttoned down and stuffy to me.

They're perfect to throw on over a summer dress or layer with contrasting tees. Add the right accessories, they can be dressed up or down and take you from the boardroom to the dining room at your favorite restaurant.
They're like the sartorial equivalent of tofu! If you're packing for a weekend getaway, a cardi is a throw-in-the-bag must.

Cardigans usually seem to disappear from stores shelves in June - August, but thanks to the craptastic economy, stores are pimping them out at fabulous end-of-season sales so now is the time to buy. Old Navy and the Gap are always good bets for this versatile garment, but Banana Republic and J.Crew, two stores that I don't shop at until the red sale signs come out, have really marked down some super cute styles (I'm insane for the cascading petals cardi at J.Crew) that will take you through the warm weather months right into fall/winter, some as low as $30.00.

Not a Betty Draper fan? Play with proportions for a simple update on a classic silhouette--three-quarter length sleeve, oversized boyfriend cardigan, cropped, draped front, sleeveless . . . take your style pick.

For work, throw on a cardigan over a shirt with a slightly long hem that peeks out from the bottom, roll up the cuffs and slough the sleeves. And as the final finish, pop the collar. Preppy and professional. To give the look more polish, swap out the necklace for a warm, Frenchy-looking patterned scarf. So Naughty Nanette-like with a pencil skirt!

It's a cinch to give your cardi new life. Look sophisticated and not just-rolled-out-of-bed sloppy, by topping it with a belt---wide, skinny, leather, ribbon, whatev. Try two skinny belts for more visual interest. Besides looking oh-so cool in that MOD way, the cinched-in look has a sveltering effect. And you didn't even have to break a sweat!

Small details make a big statement so show some personality with a fun accessory. Remember the ginormous flower Carrie wore in the Sex and the City flick? So whimsical! Too much of a muchness? Try a blinged out broach or vintage pin. For really unusual flair, visit for one-of-a-kind creations.

How utterly j'adorable is this feather and rhinestone brooch?

Don't be afraid of color. Add a pop of color to a basic black wardrobe (guilty as charged) with cardis in rainbow hues and patterns. Mix-and-match stripes with florals, and plaid with stripes. As Stacey and Clinton remind us every week: Things don't have to
match, they have to go. Choose a patterned cardigan (simple ones like florals, polka dots, or stripes all work well), and then opt for a contrasting pattern in the same color palette for the shirt underneath. Instant chic!

What do you think? Are you a cardi chick too? What's your favorite way to wear it? You know what to do, discuss in the comments!

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