A cardigan is a type of sweater or jumper that typically buttons down the front. Named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenell, a British military commander during the Crimean War, the cardigan sweater is normally manufactured by machine or hand knitted from wool.
Cardigans became popular in 17th century France as well as the British Isles, where fishermen adopted this heavy, hand-knitted wool apparel to stay warm on glum days.
The industry of knitting the heavy sweaters boomed on the coast of Ireland where outdoor workers, such as fishermen, particularly coveted the expensive knit cardigans that would withstand bleak North Atlantic winters.
Today cardigan sweaters are still produced in china but rather fashioned with buttons, hooks or zippers than knitted for warmth. There are man cardigan sweaters and woman cardigan sweaters, although in our days the women's cardigan sweater has become increasingly more popular than the opposite sex'. Women and men alike can don the cardigan in wool, cotton, polyester, rayon, cashmere, Lycra and other fabrics.