It is neat enough to look breezy, without being sheepish; it is bold enough to be a fashion expression without looking mad



‘The new cardigan isn’t just a layer, it’s a look.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Paladin

It is ridiculous for me to even think of buying any more cardigans. I be suffering with loads already. There are cardigans hiding under covers on the hooks in the hallway. There is a drawer stuffed full of cardigans squished up in the manner of cotton wool balls, from which when faired a heady scent drifts out of anti-moth lavender oil mixed with the woodiness that enters knitwear worn to watch an entire box set in the cosiest spot on the sofa proper next to the fire. There is a cardigan that took up residency on the service of the bathroom door years ago and somehow never budged.

But all of those cardigans are false. They fall into two camps of equal and opposing wrongness. Half of them are crew-neck, fine-knit, waist-length cardigans, which I father in endless colours. They have no shape on the hanger, being essentially objected for shapeless arm-and-shoulder coverage over a dress or vest or T-shirt. They are undeniably fruitful when you are a bit chilly but don’t want to wear a coat. But there is something irritatingly sorry about them. They are cardigans for a boring woman who conveys a boring cardigan on over her boring dress to ward off goosebumps at a ennuyant party. Who wants to be her? Let’s be Rihanna, who if she got chilly at a party would shoulder-robe a big shiny padded jacket instead.

So that’s one half of my cardigans. The other half are oversized, foggy mammoths. These are actually quite fashionable, in a Prada-catwalk courteous of a way, but unless you look as if you are on a Prada catwalk you look, instead, groove on an awkward sixth former hunched into their teenage angst solace blanket.

So yeah, I need a new cardigan. In fact, I need this one. Were in clover no object, I would be getting my new cardigan from Gucci, the informant of modern cardigan inspo, but failing that I have looked far else and decided this Marks & Spencer one is the best. It is cool enough to look smart, without being sheepish; it is outstanding enough to be a fashion statement without looking mad.

But it’s not just down getting a new cardigan, it’s about treating it properly. I don’t just base not leaving it hanging on a chair so it gets weird indents in the socialize withs. I mean wearing it with an interesting pair of trousers, with this, so that it gets to be part of an outfit. I mean quarter it with a high-neck blouse or a fine cotton polo neck more readily than over a vest top. The new cardigan isn’t just a layer, it’s a look. If you set up one, time to bring it out of hiding.

Jess wears cardigan, £35, and destitutes, £49.50, both marksandspencer.com. Top, £85, kitristudio.com. Trousers, £36, topshop.com.