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Why Kurt Cobain's '90s cardigan is trending as WFH style
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On Nov. 18, 1993, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain ambled onto a stage at New York's Sony Music Studios to perform on "MTV Unplugged." Perched on a chair in a mohair, acrylic and Lycra cardigan the mossy color of a 1970s bathroom suite, he unwittingly created one of music's most emblematic fashion references.
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"It's funny that the most important rock star of a generation would have his most memorable moment on film dressed like Ward Cleaver from 'Leave it to Beaver,'" said Charles R. Cross, author of "Heavier Than Heaven," a Cobain biography. "And it's most likely he bought that cardigan from a thrift store in Olympia [Wash.] for a few dollars. That's how he bought almost all of his clothes." Mr. Cobain's saggy sweater embodied the style of Seattle's grunge scene and now, as work-from-home culture increasingly defines our times, that familiar knit is enjoying a revival.
As comfortable as your favorite hoodie but eminently cooler, roomy, mohair-blend cardigans emit WFH appeal. And you'll have no problem finding one — even if you don't frequent Pacific Northwest thrift stores. Myriad menswear brands featured Cobain-esque cardigans this season. An earthy ochre-brown take from French label Lemaire closely mimics the subdued original, for example, while Gucci accentuates its maximalist "geek chic" argyle design with chunky leather buttons. High-fashion iterations like those can range from the high three to low four figures, which, though far less than the $334,000 Mr. Cobain's cardigan fetched at auction in 2019, will strain grunge budgets. Somewhat thriftier types can find suitably slouchy, sub-$400 knits from such labels as Pringle of Scotland and Beams Plus.