It may not look sensational online or sound like a dream purchase, but Arket's fitted brown cardigan is the best thing I've bought in a long, long time. Our aim for this franchise—1 Perfect Item Worn 5 Ways—is to pinpoint the everlasting pieces our wardrobes are all the better for having. These buys may not be the most whizzy or spectacularly trend-smashing, but they are reliable, enjoyable and worthwhile parting some cash for. Once upon a time, the rule was that you should try a new item (tags on!) with three outfits at home. If it worked, it was allowed to stay. But in our fast-paced times, I would say it's important to give these purchases a spin under a tougher regime, and if they work effortlessly in a total of five looks, then I'd say you're onto a real winner.
It's what I've found since buying this brilliant-if-quite-basic cardigan from Arket a month or so ago. The mink-brown colour looks expensive, the waist-nipping fit is a good match for my more hourglass figure, and the fact that it has a little exaggerated sleeve along with the idea of wearing it unbuttoned at the top adds some extra design credentials. It can be casual or smart, prim or sassy—and it's a light-enough fabric to be useful well into a British summer.
If you're part of the cardigan club and wanting some inspiration on different ways to wear your knit, then I hope the below ensembles and associated shopping provides some food for thought!
1. Over a Slip Skirt
On Hannah: Iris & Ink skirt; Manu Atelier bag; Kurt Geiger shoes; vintage glasses
Style Notes: I'm always here for a tonal look, so combining rich coppers, pinks and creams together with this brown knit ticks a lot of boxes for both spring and autumnal dressing.
Style Notes: I know that slip skirts seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth, but I still find them really versatile, comfortable and easy to throw on when working from home.
Style Notes: I always find it hard to buy knitwear that is cropped enough to work with high-waisted denim (I am, after all, 5'1'') so the idea of a longer-line unbuttoned cardi works well for me.
Style Notes: Inept at casual, I can help but to add some little sassy touches to a denim-and-knit look, like this cute raffia bag or my gingham mules.
Style Notes: This cardigan can be laid back but it can also look quite elegant. With just a simple pair of black trousers and an updo, it's quite transformed.
Style Notes: A little neckerchief adds interest to a plunging neckline.
On Hannah: Reformation dress; vintage belt and sandals; Helen Kaminski hat
Style Notes: This is with summer parties in mind! Hang around at someone's BBQ long enough and it will get chilly, so it's a good idea to have a versatile little cardigan in your armoury to wear neatly over floaty dresses.
Style Notes: I always find that vintage belts are the ones that can really make an outfit look more interesting. This one was my mum's from the '70s.
On Hannah: Banana Republic belt; Zara trousers; Elleme bag; Pascale James earrings
Style Notes: There's something strangely chic about wearing shirts and cardigans back-to-front. A peek of skin balanced out with a nice, demure boat-neck cut at the front does it for me!