I have talked about cardigans and sweater vests in the past. Personally, I think these are the most practical sweaters for a whole host of reasons. The standard sweater (pullover) looks great and is nice on the cold days outside, but personally I think cardigans and sweater vests are more practical day in, day out. One of the great practical elements of the cardigan are the pockets. Not all cardigans have pockets, but when they do, I love them.
Often people will not use their cardigan pockets, they end up in the same state as the outer pockets on a blazer, sport coat etc... They end up being for show only. There is something I don't paricularly like about that. It feels like a waste and it feels like you are only using the garment partially. I somewhat object to the turning of practical features into mere decoration. It feels like a a symbol of wastefulness and a forgoing of full use. It also leads to a somewhat kind of unnatural feeling, performance.
To use the pockets on a cardigan is wonderful. It is like using the outer pockets on a sport coat, yet more-so. With the sport coat, the jacket is still a bit more formal, it is still a bit more stiff, it is structured. There is still some holding back, almost. The cardigan is not structured, it is a worn-in, soft, warm garment, thrown over to keep you warm from the chill. It is more casual than the sport coat and the pockets thusly feel more casual as well.
I know, I know. Many guys shy away from the cardigan and the sweater vest. I get it. They think it looks to old man-ish or too dorky, perhaps. They may, if they are young and seeking a mate, feel that it reads this way to the fairer sex. They might be right. It isn't the case in every instance of course, yet there is certainly some truth to this across some swath of the population. Maybe the sweater vest and the cardigan are garments for the married man, the man who is bold enough to not care, or the man who is in a relationship with the right woman who likes the look. Nevertheless, I get it if one is a bit weary due to one's situation in life. I understand it.
The pockets on a cardigan seem to work best when found on a thick cardigan (wool etc...) and when fitting properly (not too tight, comfortable and roomy). If you haven't tried out the cardigan and you are interested, a good place to start can be eBay. Try searching Pendleton cardigan. You can find some very nice deals around 30 or 40 dollars for sometimes brand new 100% wool cardigans. Of course, make sure you know the measurements you are looking for (chest, length) because if people wash them wrong, a wool cardigan can shrink. You can't always trust the size.
A pad of paper, a cough drop, a handkerchief, a pencil, a grocery list. These are all things that can often be found in my cardigan pockets. It is not only about the true benefit of the use - having these things easily accessible on command. It is also about the meaning of the use, it is secondary of course, but it feels actually natural, actually true, not performed. It feels like I am wearing the garment as it was meant to be worn, used like it was meant to be used. It feels like I am using every room in the house, rather than leaving one closed all the time. To me, that is partially what using the cardigan pockets are about.