The humble cardigan may not be king of the wardrobe but it deserves a place at the top table. Cardigans aren't just something you wear in winter, either, and summer is a perfect excuse to buy one in a pretty colour. However, like all basic pieces, finding the perfect cardigan isn't easy. The fit should be snug (watch out for snug body-fit but baggy arms, which will look all wrong), a V-neck will be more practical for the summer and doesn't look as "buttoned up" and although cotton (Racing Green do some good crew-neck, cotton cardies, tel 0345 331177) is the obvious summer choice, a fine cashmere or silk is good for evening. Beware of cheap synthetic knits which will bobble and snag easily.

1 Silk rib cardigan (sizes 38-46), pounds 240, Dolce & Gabbana, 175 Sloane Street, London SW1, 0171 235 0335

2 Rose-print cardigan (sizes 8-14), pounds 27.50, Miss Selfridge, 221-223 Oxford Street, London W1. Enquiries: 0181 910 1359

3 Pale-blue cotton cardigan (sizes 10-14), pounds 27, Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond Street, London W1, 0171 491 4484, and 39-43 King Street, Manchester, 0161 839 9057

4 Pale-pink rayon rib cardigan (sizes 10-16), pounds 35, Warehouse, 96 Kings Road, London SW3, and 30 King Street, Manchester. Enquiries: 0171 278 3491

5 Pale-green silk cardigan (sizes 36-42), pounds 130, The Scotch House, 2 Brompton Road, London SW1, 0171 581 2151

6 Lilac cashmere rib cardigan (sizes 10-14), pounds 159, Cashmere by Design, 64 Neal Street, London WC2. Enquiries and mail order: 0171 240 3652

7 White cotton zip cardigan (sizes S, M, L), pounds 59, Benetton, branches nationwide