A cardigan is a type of knitted garment that has an open front. Often, cardigans can be buttoned, but never tied as that would be a robe. By contrast, a pullover does not open in front but must be "pulled over" the head to be worn. It may be machine- or hand-knitted. The cardigan was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army Major General who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. It is modelled after the knitted wool waistcoat that British officers supposedly wore during the war. The legend of the event and the fame that Brudenell achieved after the war led to the rise of the garment's popularity.   The term originally referred only to a knitted sleeveless vest, but expanded to other types of garment over time. Plain cardigans are often worn over shirts and inside suit jackets as a less formal version of the waistcoat or vest that restrains the necktie when the jacket has been removed. Its versatility means it can be worn in casual or formal settings and in any season, but it is most popular during cool weather.
Monochromatic cardigans, in sleeved or vest form, may be viewed as a conservative fashion staple. However, due to youth clothing ideology, striped cardigans sporting vivid colors are also seen on skateboarders. As an item of formal clothing for either gender, it is worn over a button-down dress shirt. A less formal style is a T-shirt underneath.
Usage in popular culture
- The Cardigan Sweater website, accessed 10 March 2010
- David, Saul (1997). The Homicidal Earl: The Life of Lord Cardigan. London: Little, Brown. pp. 431-436. ISBN 0316641650
- Watson, Joy - bookcouncil
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