The cardigan — it’s a cult. A simple knitted garment with a front closure, the cardigan sweater has its hazy origin story (invented by the seventh earl of Cardigan during the Crimean War), its icons (Mr. Rogers, Kurt Cobain, Steve Urkel), and the immortality of being so practical and versatile that not a fashion season has gone by without it.

This fall’s return to a more tailored, pulled-together look brings the cardigan out of your closet and back into the spotlight. For women, consider three-quarter length sleeves and oversize buttons for a touch of playfulness. Men’s cardies this season are tissue-thin knits with bold classic patterns like plaid, or rough and zippered.

Let me urge you toward gray. Fresher than black, gray in all tones, from somber charcoal through to elegant ash, is easy to wear. Gray pops against navy, purple, dark green, yellow, even brown. And when the sun goes down and you wish you had one more layer, you’ll be thankful. Some options to consider:

• Guy’s mock neck sweater in charcoal grey, $198 at Banana Republic

• Tildon women’s cable-knit pointelle sweater, $52 at Nordstrom



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