Last month, when we shared G. Bruce Boyer’s piece on cardigan vests for Drake’s, someone remarked that cardigans are fine under sportcoats, but never under blazers. Naturally we followed it up with a series of images from Ralph Lauren that included — what else? — cardigans and blazers.
And then the new issue of the Japanese magazine Popeye comes out, and what should we see but a J. Press employee wearing the outfit below.
(Note: subject says he was forced to look into the sun).
More from Popeye’s “Finding The Classics” issue in our next post.
In related news, the website Racked has an interesting read that posted today called “When Cardigans Were Battle Attire,” which covers everything from the origins of the sweater down through the Joe College years, and from Mr. Rogers to Kurt Cobain:
A looser-fit, often wool-knit version suited both men and women in the Ivy League crowd in postwar years. Academic examples abounded. In the 1950s and early 1960s the Oxford-educated British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan took to wearing a baggy cardigan as part of his country gentleman’s persona, and a well-worn cardigan became international shorthand for English comfort and unflappable intellect. Though hardly unflappable, Rex Harrison wore a suave beige, leather-buttoned cardigan as professor of phonetics Henry Higgins while singing, “Never let a woman in your life!” in the popular film My Fair Lady, parading the sweater around his mansion’s lush and bountiful library.
A few years later, in the biggest moment in popular cardigan history, on February 19th, 1968, the first episode of Fred Rogers’ famed television show aired on national television. Original broadcasts of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (or Misterogers’ Neighborhood in earlier editions) ran from 1968 to 1976, and then from 1979 to 2001. Each episode begins with Mr. Rogers’ personal coming-home ritual of trading dress shoes and suit jacket for sneakers and one of an impressive array of zippered cardigans, all while singing the very familiar “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Through Rogers, as well as Como and Harrison, the comparative formality with which celebrities in the postwar decades wore cardigans — often atop white dress shirts and ties — affected and reflected the transition to more casual dress for all Americans.
Check it out here. — CC