Maple Style Guide

Cardigan Definition and Meaning

by Peilin Zhou on Jun 19, 2022

White Casual Cardigan

While cardigans have become a popular fashion statement recently, there is still some ambiguity about the actual definition of a cardigan. If you are also unsure what a cardigan is and what it may look like – we have got you covered in this blog post.

Dive in to learn about the detailed definition and meaning of cardigans and decide whether you want them to be a part of your wardrobe or not! 

Cardigan Definition & Meaning 

Acceding to Merriam Webster Dictionary;

“A usually collarless sweater or jacket that opens the full length of the center front”

Acceding to Cambridge Dictionary;

“A piece of clothing, usually made from wool, that covers the upper part of the body and the arms, fastening at the front with buttons, and usually worn over other clothes.”


Unlike the sweaters you pull over from your head, a cardigan can be shrugged over the shoulders and is open from the center with either buttons or a zip. Some cardigans might also have open fronts without any buttons or zippers. 

The open-front jackets were first worn by the English General James Thomas Brudenell’s troops in the 1800s, and thus – they are named ‘cardigans’ after him, for he was the 7th Earl of Cardigan. He was a lieutenant general in the British army and the 7th Earl of Cardigan. During the Crimean War, Lord Cardigan, the eponymous leader of the Charge of the Light Brigade, was well-known for donning a short, woolen sleeveless waistcoat to stay warm. According to legend, it was adorned with fur.

Aside from the military, cardigans apparently became quite popular after World War II, leading to a boom in their production.

Select your Gray Floral Cardigan in the Mapleshop!


Features of a Cardigan

Cardigans are distinct as they contain either a zipper or buttons on the front for the ability to drape/hang open. This distinguishing characteristic is what sets them apart. Instead of being worn alone, cardigans are designed to be worn over top of other garments and not as a stand-alone item of clothing. They are traditionally worn over shirts by men in basic colours.

Cardigans are most commonly constructed from cotton, wool, or cashmere, each having a distinct drape and appearance. Cardigans usually stand out because of their adaptability. Layering is a good strategy for multiple seasons, as the weather can change from chilly in the morning to warm in the afternoon. A cardigan is an ideal piece to grab in this situation. Also, dressy cardigans can be worn to the office, depending on the company's dress code, or you can wear them for lounging about the house.

Enjoy your summer with Blue Cardigan!


What Made Cardigans a Fashion Statement in Today’s World? 

Since the invention of cardigans is dated back to the 18th century, you must be wondering what made them a fashion statement in today's world. The truth is that closed sweaters have monopolized our winter wardrobes for so long, but none of us can deny the discomfort they bring. Cardigans – once associated with the nerds and librarians – are now a fashion statement, mostly due to the comfort they provide. 

The more the world moves towards comfort wear and sustainable clothing, the more the cardigans become the go-to fashion statement for both men and women. The most important features of a cardigan that makes it highly comfortable include the following:

  • Cardigans are open-front and offer a flexible wear choice 
  • They come with both buttons and zippers, so you can choose the ones that suit you best
  • Cardigans can be worn with an open front or closed, so they are much more likely to suit both extreme cold and average cold weather. 

The new arrivals White Light Cardigan in the Mapleshop!


So, now you know what is a cardigan. To put it all short, cardigans are the perfect fashion statement in today’s world, where adaptability is the key. Cardigans are super convenient for most weather conditions and can be worn in multiple ways. 

If you are looking for a stylish and comfortable cardigan, check out the selection at Mapleshop for high-quality materials and are tailored to fit your body perfectly. 

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