A cardigan is a kind of knitted un-collared garment with an open front which comes under the category of the sweater. It is intended to cover up the torso and the arms. Generally cardigans are either buttoned or come with a zipper. Contrary to this, there is another similar garment (also a sweater) known as a pullover. It means it must be "pulled over" the head to be worn as it is fully knitted from the front without the buttons or a zipper. It could be machine or hand-knitted.
The name cardigan has been derived from James Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan, a Major General at British Army, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the war. It is sculpted after the knitted waistcoat made out of wool that British officers apparently wore during the war. Cardigans got so popular after the victory of British in that war. The term initially referred only to a knitted sleeveless vest, but the name extended to other types of garment over time. These days there is a vast variety of cardigans available with extended versions according to current fashion. From old fashioned plain cardigans to tunic shaped ones. These give a less formal look and are perfect for casual outings for people of all ages. Its resourcefulness means it can be worn in casual or semi formal settings during cool weather.