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Women's Cardigan Sweaters - Timeless Fashion Staple: Women’s Cardigan Sweaters

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The cardigan made its first appearance over 150 years ago. In its most basic form, a cardigan is a gender-neutral sweater that opens in the front and closes using ties, buttons, or zippers. Women’s cardigan sweaters are synonymous with warm, cozy comfort.

Through the years, cardigans have been associated with a number of famous, iconic figures. Can you imagine Mr. Rogers having a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” without his cardigan? His cardigan, so ingrained in the American consciousness, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. The cardigan itself is an eponym. This traditionally woolen front-closing sweater was named for The 7th Earl of Cardigan.

The comfortable sweater’s namesake, Lord Cardigan led the most famous cavalry charge in history. In 1854, during the Crimean War, Lord Cardigan commanded the British troops in the Battle of Balaclava where 600 men were lost in what amounted to a suicide mission. Few know the name “Cardigan,” beyond a type of sweater, but nearly all schoolchildren know Lord Alfred Tennyson’s famous poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade immortalizing the sacrifices made on that October day by Lord Cardigan’s men.

Generations of fashion designers have found inspiration from the timeless womens cardigan sweater. One of fashion’s most legendary and iconic figures, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, creator of the “little black dress,” is also famous for the Chanel suit designed in the 1930’s featuring a cardiganesque jacket over a skirt. Womens cardigan sweaters are still inspiring some of the world’s quintessential fashion houses. As recently as Fall 2009, Oscar de la Renta’s fashion show featured a belted cashmere cardigan.

In their own way, cardigans are as enduring as the man whose name they bear, the famed commander of the Light Brigade. From grunge to conservative, shabby to chic, women’s cardigan sweaters are here to stay.

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over 4 years ago

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