At this time of the year the weather often swings between mild and cool, making the task of choosing an outer layer a difficult one. For days when fine-gauge wool sweaters are too thin, and winter jackets too heavy, consider a shawl-collar cardigan.
Unlike merino cardigans and sweaters, shawl-collar cardigans are usually knitted from fairly thick wool or cashmere yarn. This gives them a chunkiness that readily compliments tweed, flannel, corduroy and denim trousers. In fact, they look great with pretty much any autumn or winter weight cloth.
Wearing shawl-collar cardigans to the office
A shawl-collar cardigan can be worn in place of a sports coat or blazer. To avoid looking as if the cardigan was the only clean thing you had left in your wardrobe, make sure that that it is as well fitted as your jackets and merino sweaters and, preferably, of a medium-gauge yarn. The most versatile colours are navy and medium grey. Black is also quite useful.
Pair it with a button-down Oxford shirt, wool/cashmere tie and worsted wool trousers, and you’re ready to go.
Wearing shawl-collar cardigans on weekends
A chilly autumn weekend is the perfect time to break out a chunky shawl-collar cardigan. Chunky knits are inherently more casual than their finer gauged, more office-ready brethren, and provide an added degree of warmth. With chunky knits the pattern is more important than the colour. A cream cardigan with a cable-knit pattern (like Aran) is ideal.
Pair it with a denim shirt (or just a t-shirt), corduroy trousers and desert boots.
On colder days, slip a quilted down vest over the top. It will keep your torso warm and still show off the cable-knit pattern.