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How to master the cardigan trend, for every figure and occasion

Emily in a leopard print knit cardigan and wide cut trousers
Emily wears cashmere cardigan, £415, Madeleine Thompson. Rest of outfit, Emily’s own Credit: Andrew Crowley

Isn’t it perfect when the fashion cycle anoints a useful garment as on- trend? If you’re anything like me, you never stopped wearing cardigans, but now they come with a designer seal of approval. Appearing everywhere from Altuzarra to Chanel, the revival wasn’t complete until Katie Holmes stepped out in a cashmere one with a matching bra. All hail the bra-digan.

It’s a huge volte-face for a garment not so long ago associated with grandmotherly types and country houses. But it’s about time. Whether you’re more in the ‘wearable blanket’ camp or Holmes territory, there’s a cardigan for everyone.

If you choose an oversized style, keep the rest of your outfit fitted. Or banish fusty associations by wearing a fine-gauge cardie buttoned up over a bra with a midi-skirt. Hot.

The inspiration

Left to right: Bella Hadid, Katie Holmes and Candela Pelizza Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Not so basic

The key moment in the cardigan’s revamp arrived not on a catwalk, but on actor Katie Holmes.

Elegantly waisted

Pop a cropped cardie over slinky separates and only fasten the top button, as seen on model Bella Hadid. 

Cosy with bite

Italian influencer Candela Pelizza pits the softness  of an oversized knit  against a leather skirt.

Now make it work for you...

Best for pulling off the shoulder

For a soft, romantic vibe.

Mohair, £100, Sézane

Best for day to night

Subtle shimmer can be worn with jeans,  or dressed up.

Jersey, £160,  Ganni

Best for adding sparkle

Bringing texture and  shine to any your  autumn-winter outfit.

Sequinned, £88,  J Crew

Best for definition

Wear a cropped cardigan open over a T-shirt and skirt to draw the eye to your natural waist.

Cropped, £50, Boden

Best for  classic-print lovers

Gives a graphic edge to monochromatic looks.

Oversized, £450, Burberry at Net-a-Porter

Best for doubling  up as a dress

The elongated shape mean this works with nothing underneath – just add a scarf and boots. 

Longline, £49.90,  JW Anderson x Uniqlo

Best for wearing backwards

In a chunky yarn with balloon sleeves, this is  cut to be worn with the  deep V at the front or back.

Multicoloured, £195,  Ba&sh

Best for adapting fancy skirts into workwear

A classic grey cardigan  can make any sparkly  skirt office-appropriate. 

Cashmere, £89,  Marks & Spencer 

Best for standing out

Handmade resin buttons  – which on this camel version include bananas  and a wedge of cheese  – add a quirky touch.

Wool, £280, Hades 

Best for a pub lunch

The relaxed shape of this knit make it a cosy weekend choice.

Ribbed V-neck,  £265, Allude at Matches Fashion​

Wear it with...

Satin pleated midi-skirt, £46, Warehouse; Glitter and resin hair clips,  £6 for two, Accessorize; Leather boots, £140, Anthropologie; Cropped corduroy trousers, £39, & Other Stories; Hoop earrings,  £10, Mango

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