The Classic Sweater Origins: Walkin’ Into Fall

Posted on September 18 2019

classic sweater

Sweater weather is just around the corner! Are you ready? It’s time to pack up the tank tops and short shorts and break out the cozy sweaters that will wrap you in warm comfort as the mornings and nights get colder. Sweaters are perfect for creating layered outfits and are worn by men, women, and children alike. But where did our classic sweater first appear, and how did it become a staple in every closet? Let’s take a look at the classic sweater origins.

The Cardigan and the Fisherman

The first sweaters were knit together much like the fishing nets the fishermen and sailors at the time were using. During the fifteenth century, their wives wanted their men to stay warm and cozy, so out of love, the first pullover sweater was made from natural wool. And we have been loving them ever since! Natural wool materials of the day retained their natural oils which helped keep the wearer warm even in damp, seaside weather. The first use was recorded in the English Channel islands of Guernsey and Jersey, and so the term “jersey” was coined for the popular pullover. Britains eventually coined the term “jumper” and continue to use this verbiage for sweaters today.

The functionality of early classic sweaters was effective and convenient for fishermen, and they soon spread to other coastal fishing communities to improve their quality of life under difficult working conditions. Sweaters were traded in Scotland, Ireland, and the Aran Islands. They eventually became a part of the official Royal British Navy uniform. Elements of the British Military still incorporate sweaters into their uniforms today.

The Cardigan and Sports

During the 1890s, athletes in the United States wore heavy pullover sweaters before and after their winter games for protection against the weather. Now, the sports stands are full of fans wearing fashionable, chunky knit sweaters while cheering for their favorite teams! The use of classic sweaters in sports transitioned from the athletes to the fans in the stands, but they still perform the same function: to keep the user warm and cozy while fall sports like football push on, even in the snow.

As you can imagine, classic sweaters were all originally knit by hand, which took time and labor to produce. As the world moved into an era of mass production, sweaters became more readily available and cheaper to make with technological advances. This helped put the functional garment into the closets of everyday people.

Cardigans Were Sixties Chic

The boutique sweater fashion began to take hold when designers such as Jeanne Lanvin and Gabrielle (“Coco”) Chanel introduced sweaters into their fashion collections in the 1920s. In the 1950s, Vogue Magazine featured an article on the Aran sweater, which sparked its worldwide demand. During those early years, popular film stars like Mick Jagger and Steve McQueen wore sweaters and cemented them as a popular go-to fashion for both men and women.

Today, sweaters come in many different styles, materials, and colors. The sweater clothing line has evolved to include cardigans, turtle necks, vests, crew necks, V-necks, tennis, and zip-ups. They are still often made of the original material, natural wool, but can now be found in fabrics made from cotton, linen, poly-blends, synthetics, and fine cashmere. Styles of knitting a sweater have expanded to create beautiful patterns that add interest to mono-colored garments.

boutique sweater

Fall Is Cardigan Weather

Early fall often starts with chilly mornings that warm up nicely in the afternoon and then cool back down in the evenings. Your classic sweater is the perfect option for adding layers to your outfit that can easily be shed for midday activities. Pair your boutique sweater with a chic top and cute accessories like scarves and handbags. Sweaters used to only be available as very heavy garments for the tough open weather conditions of the ocean. Today, we have options for very lightweight materials for warmer days, while the heavier versions still come in handy as seasons change into winter.

Jump into autumn with A Corner Cottage, Too’s collection of classic sweaters and cardigans. You’ll find boutique sweaters that are comfortable without skimping on style. We combine fashion with quality materials to give you a soft, durable sweater that will be a favorite part of your wardrobe. Sweaters go perfectly with jeans, skirts, and leggings. Sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire or roasting marshmallows for s’ mores are the perfect time to grab a sweater, stay warm, and make memories this fall!

roasting marshmallows


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