Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
As fall envelopes us in its cool breath, layers are the key to keeping up when temps descend. Though there’s no lack of layering options, the cardigan is one that stands out. Born from war; adopted, adapted, and thrust into prominence thanks to Coco Chanel, the versatile piece of knitwear can function as a mid-layer, an open sweater, or even a heavy jacket. We covered the heavyweight options way back in 2015, but we’re focusing on the longer range of the mid-weight cardigan for this week’s Five Plus One.
1) Dehen 1920 Shawl Collar Cardigan
As their name implies, Dehen 1920 has been knitting quality sweaters, jackets, and accessories for a while. So they knew exactly what they were doing when they made their Shawl Collar Cardigans with Seattle-based retailer Division Road Inc. Their collaborative cardis are as classic as they come with their patch pocket design and sophisticated corozo nut buttons. And the mid-weight 100% worsted wool, interior elbow patches, and twill pocket linings amount to a quality piece you’ll have for a long time. So if you’re looking for a brand with some heritage to make a garment as classic a shawl collar cardigan, stop looking right now and click the link below.
Available for $365 at Division Road.
2) Kiriko Modern Noragi
While Dehen’s Shawl Collar Cardigan sits squarely in the category of classic cardigans, Kiriko’s Modern Noragi might not even really qualify as a cardigan at all. Sure, it’s made from a woven fabric (Japanese sashi-ori) instead of a knit. And yes, it lacks any buttons to speak of. Hell, they’ve called a noragi and not a cardigan. But the collarless design, open v-neck, and flat hem all add up to meet the cardigan threshold in my mind. Kiriko’s added a dash of pattern with indigo pattern fabrics accented throughout while keeping everything else minimalistic with on-seam side pockets and a thoughtfully patterned cut that leaves no fabric wasted.
Available for $195 at Kiriko.
3) Noah Rugby Cardigan
Noah’s Rugby Cardigan might not look like a sweater you’d see on the pitch, but the fabric its made from is certainly one you’ll find can take a tackle. Referencing vintage Patagonia rugby shirts and their densely-woven cotton jersey fabric, Noah’s Rugby Cardigan features 8oz. all-cotton Practice Cloth and was first used to make t-shirts back in 2017. They’ve used it for several other garments since and it can now be found in this collarless, button-front design.
Available for $168 at Noah.
4) Battenwear Lodge Cardigan
More of an outdoors guy? Battenwear has their version of a cardigan, too. Their Lodge Cardigan calls back to the designs from the likes of Patagonia and The North Face while maintaining their self-imposed high bar for quality. Done up in a cozy fleece fabric, the collarless design, sly side pockets, and single chest pocket keeps everything nice and tidy. The hiker-focused layer also features a two-way zip, tonal taped seams, and four different colorways to choose from, so why not throw all four in your cart and layer them all at once?
Available for $240 at Battenwear.
5) RRL Hand-Knit Ranch Cardigan
Over 130 hours of labor goes into each one of RRL’s Hand-knit Ranch Cardigans. The sheer amount of time that goes into one of these works of art alone is enough for me to blindly toss my wallet into the nearest Ralph Lauren cash register like the Ralph sheep that I am. Add to that hand-stamped metal concho buttons, a luxurious linen-cotton-wool- silk blend knit, and a pattern inspired by vintage 1930s trade blankets, and I’m forever indebted to this belted beauty (and in debt because of it). All those details together with its the steep pricepoint might sound like enough to put it into our Plus One spot. But, no.
Available for $1400 at Stag.
Plus One: Needles Mohair Cardigans
If you’re into the musical and personal stylings of grunge god Kurt Cobain, you’ll want to know about Needles and their Mohair Cardigans. Mohair excels at heat retention/yak impersonation, and a cardigan made from the stuff can carry you through winter and into early spring. They’re expected fare for the brand every fall/winter and always drop in eye-dilating patterns and colors, each of which is worthy of the coveted Five Plus One spot. This Halloween, you can dress up as Cobain dressing up as Fred Flintstone, a hairy finish line flag, or as a butterfly enthusiast, each of which comes in a wool-mohair blend with snap buttons and made-in-Japan quality.
Available for $425 at Mr. Porter.