Polly Vernon: Cardigan Season Has Landed, And I’ve Bought Seven

No one piece quite embodies our current emotional state quite like the cardie...

Milan Fashion Week

by Polly Vernon |
Updated on

Autumn stirs, and my thoughts drift inexorably to My Look. What? I can’t help it! Global pandemic/reduced financial means notwithstanding: my fashion vibe is like an independent, organic life form, a flickering, urgent, forward-thrusting, ever-evolving consciousness in its own right. Like life (according to Jeff Goldblum in the first Jurassic Park film): It Finds A Way.

Indeed, a perfunctory rifle through my wardrobe suggests it already has. Nestling within that hectic, hallowed space, sandwiched between the vintage 501s, lovely A/W ’19 Rixo maxidress I acquired pre-Covid and have yet to wear, the bike shorts over which I didn’t even pause to wonder if I’m too old (I’m not – no such thing)... Rests not one, but seven new/ new-ish cardigans. A collection that has gently established itself through the course of the last weeks, and which, now I regard it in the cool light of mid-September sun, looks damn like ground zero on my new season’s vibe.

Why, it’s Cardi-geddon! I declare (quietly – you know: neighbours), for the impact of these seven renderings on that one knitwear concept are nothing short of seismic! Once you’ve nailed the top half, the rest falls into place, right? Everyone knows that. So it is – in the ribbed cotton crop in sage green from & Other Stories, the apricot diaphanous mohair that droops off the shoulders (Hasine), the sexy knitted blue scrap of pre-shrunken Musier Paris (made so it hasn’t a chance of fully fastening over your bra), and those others – that my mid-term fashion future manifests itself to me as clearly as it ever has. And it is cardigans.

But: of course it is! Does any one piece embody our current circs – our emotional state, our yearning for buttons, for cosy; the practicalities of our not-that-temporary-after-all makeshift working environments (WFH – but make it chic), our recently invigorated democratic sensitivities, our re-heated ’90s nostalgia, our Now – like cardies? They are as emblematic of the current moment, as the miniskirt was of the ’60s, shoulder pads: the ’80s.

Also? ‘They saved my business,’ says Hayley Menzies, founder of one of my favourite independent labels (same name, people, same name). ‘No question.’ We’re having a drink, lamenting the intervening months but celebrating our still being here, when she tells me an accidental over-ordering of her signature Leopardess duster cardi – one she’d tried and failed to cancel at the beginning of lockdown – had ended up an instant sell-out, an Instagram sensation (high-fashion housecoats: the dernier cri in locked-down Influencer elegance), and her business’s saving grace. I lap it up. I so love happy endings, these days. I crave them.

Saved by a cardigan! Hayley and I ‘cheers’. I drink, and look forward to an autumn of directional cardigan wearing; relaxing into the sense something pressing has been resolved – and revelling in a half-forgotten, precious certainty of what the next few months will bring, if only for my clothes.


SHOP: The Best Cardigans

H&M, Knitted Wool Cardigan, £39.991 of 9

H&M, Knitted Wool Cardigan, £39.99

Zara, Knitted Cardigan With Pom-Pom, £29.992 of 9

Zara, Knitted Cardigan With Pom-Pom, £29.99

Miu Miu, Crochet-Trimmed Cable-Knit Cardigan, £1,0603 of 9

Miu Miu, Crochet-Trimmed Cable-Knit Cardigan, £1,060

& Other Stories, Statement Collar Knit Cardigan, £754 of 9

& Other Stories, Statement Collar Knit Cardigan, £75

COS, Jacquard Knit Cardigan, £795 of 9

COS, Jacquard Knit Cardigan, £79

Ganni, Soft Wool-Knit Cardigan, £2456 of 9

Ganni, Soft Wool-Knit Cardigan, £245

Acne Studios, Striped Cardigan, £3707 of 9

Acne Studios, Striped Cardigan, £370

Musier Paris, Cardigan Cloudy, £1068 of 9

Musier Paris, Cardigan Cloudy, £106

Hayley Menzies, Gloria Alpaca Wool Cardigan, £3209 of 9

Hayley Menzies, Gloria Alpaca Wool Cardigan, £320

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