What I wore this week: the best cardigan on the high street | Jess Cartner-Morley | Fashion

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

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

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

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

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

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