2 Jun

If there is one piece of clothing I have come to rely on lately, it’s my cardigan.  For a while I seemed to find myself in the same jeans and hooded sweatshirt on a pretty consistent basis.  As I was thinking more about my beloved cardigans, and pondering just how long I’ve had both my black and white one (too many years to mention publicly, as it turns out), I wondered why I haven’t made better use out of these simple yet fashionable items.  For one thing, they are thin cotton and we are still (somehow) dealing with wintry weather here in the Bay area.  Putting a coat over a cardigan just doesn’t feel right.  So, my instinct is to cover up with something warmer and since it can’t be my blanket (pipe dream), I choose my hoodie or a t-shirt/sweater combo.  Also, I think that although most cardigans have some kind of button or snap, sometimes I just want to throw something on or zip something up and go.  There is just not enough time to be selective and thoughtful when you are mom-blasted out of bed in the morning (“MAMA!” “MAMA!” “MAAAAA!” is pretty much what we hear in this house) and in need of more coffee.

But, cardigans do work and can actually play a functional role in preparing for a mom’s day of work.  There are so many out there and it really only takes a few seconds to button them up.  For those of us who are rather deft, a one-handed buttoning while assisting with socks, shoes and the like is perfectly doable.  Some even have snaps for greater ease of use.  And if you have mastered the belt (which I still can’t quite pull off for various reasons), you can slide that t-shirt or tank over your head, toss your cardigan on and then just slip a belt around your waist and go.

I started doing a search online and found some really nice and very affordable options.  As it turns out, cardigans are everywhere and come in all kinds of fabrics, styles and shapes. Many seem to have some sort of embellishment on them as well which makes for a very put together and dressed up feeling.  For me, there aren’t many requirements either.  Since they are so basic, I’d just like them to be affordable, “easy to use” (read: thrown on at a moment’s notice) and perhaps work for both daytime and evening.

Old Navy and Gap tend to have some really affordable, sweet looking ones that work well with a variety of outfits.

 I recently bought a nice little pink number (above) which was $15 and is now out of stock on Old Navy’s website.  It’s so soft and the embellishments actually hold up in the wash.  While it’s not something I could necessarily wear around the playground, it is something that could work for various kiddie classes, i.e. music, gym, errands and then convert easily for date night.

Another one I ended up purchasing was a warm, wooly one from Anthropologie on sale for $40.  It’s got snaps!  And it’s tailored in such a way that it adds a flattering hour glass shape to your look.  This works with ANYTHING underneath.  That old, worn t-shirt you just feel like you need to be in or a cute tank or cami.  Works both ways.

And finally, a long, green cardi from Land’s End.  It has been great with skinny jeans and leggings.  Plus, on warmer days I can add 1 or 2 tanks (layered) underneath and I am ready for a romp around town, kiddie style.

While I was searching around for some updated cardis, I came across an article called “5 Reasons You Should Own a Cardigan.”   Like a Hallmark card, it pretty much says everything I would want to say about this topic.  Although, I did modify it a bit based on personal experience and to work with the subject of this blog.  You can find the original here.  Enjoy!

  • They add color & interest to any outfit. Buy a cardigan in a bright color to dress up a neutral outfit. A plain black tank top looks amazing with a colorful cardigan, jeans and some simple jewelry.  You could even dare to match crazy patterns under some of the darker solid cardis out there.
  • Dress them up or down. Cardigans are great for throwing on to run errands, a playdate or the playground and staying warm, but are equally awesome to wear for date night or a moms night out.
  • You’ll be prepared for any weather. Throw a cardigan in your Diaper/Tote (or in my case Whole Foods Eco) bag to protect from unexpected cold outside or even arctic air conditioning. You’ll look cute and be comfortable no matter what!
  • Wear your summer tank tops into fall. All those fabulous summer tank tops you own are good throughout the winter with a simple cardigan on top. Hello wardrobe versatility!
  • Shower Curtain /Stain Shield I chose this title because I seriously feel like I am showered with so many stains throughout the day that being naked would be a relief.  A cardigan is the perfect coverall to hide those indecencies, leaving only you and your tiny tot with the knowledge that they are really there.  On the other hand, they can pose as the first layer of defense when you don’t want to mess up a “special” article of clothing underneath.

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