women's apparel

I Wear This Cou Cou Cardigan So Much I Now Have Three

Photo: Nicolaia Rips

I’ve recently become aware that, for the most part, I am my own boss. A troubling realization. My employee (me) would show up to work straight out of bed and pit-stop at the espresso machine, wearing a depressing combination of whatever was around before changing into something of substance around noon. Frankly, I was sick of the disrespect. Had I no sense of decorum, no regard for the workplace?

Efforts to course-correct ended either in sartorial paralysis or self-obsession. Suddenly, I was spending too much time picking out a look. I became overly concerned with creating an outfit and maybe taking a couple quick pics, then posting them on Instagram, and oh no, was I on TikTok? Outfits were just as important to my work as food or sleep — guiding my creativity and work ethic as a slight change in humidity may create a denser dough. The wrong outfit was a killer. And for me, dressing is exactly like writing — I hate getting dressed, but I love being dressed.

I needed something I could wear everyday as a Pavlovian signal it was time to work, something that would free my mind from the sartorial challenge of the everyday without feeling insipid or uninspiring. Then it arrived in my mailbox: The Cardigan from Cou Cou Intimates, a brand known for its sustainable cotton underwear, chic basics, and being beloved by some of NYC’s most beautiful girls.

Yes, it arrived in a PR package. But I’ve worn it every day since I got it. In fact, I’ve worn it so much that I bought two more myself; one in white and one in black but cropped. The first cardigan, though … it’s lightweight, roomy enough to put a shirt under but tight enough to just wear by itself. It’s serious without being boring, polished but soft. On its own there’s the sheerest dream of nipple (very important).

The Cardigan has all the solemnity and economy of a school uniform, with the comfort of a pajama and the sex appeal of ’90s Gwenyth Paltrow. Like most of the media girls, I’m an Agnès B snap cardigan diehard — but The Cardigan’s banished her to the back of my drawer, comparatively heavy and frumpy. It’s basic enough to spruce up based on daily mood without jeopardizing the fundamentals of a uniform — a top and a bottom.

Often, I’ll wear The Cardigan with a tank and a small black skirt, or black spandex shorts, or alone, no shirt, with low-slung blue jeans. I have delusions of buying the Yeezy Wet bodysuit (I won’t) and layering The Cardigan on top. It’s the first item of clothing I’ve ever encountered that I think earns the finality of its article. “Yeah,” I mutter when I put it on, “it is The Cardigan.” It’s flung over the edge of my bed frame when I sleep and on my body when I wake. I’m wearing The Cardigan as I write this, and I’m sure I’ll still be wearing it when you read it.

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I Wear This Cou Cou Cardigan So Much I Now Have Three