In the Coen brothers cult classic the Big Lebowski, the character of El Duderino wore a distinct cardigan, an ivory white Pendleton with tribal patterns. The cardigan was from Jeff Bridges’ own wardrobe, not a costume from the set.
Such a cardigan is ideal for bowling, driving around, and the occasional acid flashback. It’s certainly more distinct than the bathrobe or t-shirts adorned by His Dudeness in other scenes of the film.
According to the folks at Pendleton, this cardigan debuted in 1974. Known as “The Westerley,” its design was inspired by the Cowichan Tribes of British Columbia. The cardigans were sourced from Minnesota, woven by a company called Winona Woolen Mills.
How to wear the dude’s cardigan
Since the Big Lebowski made this style popular, you’ll occasionally see folks wearing The Westerley around town, surely getting many compliments (for their impeccable taste in both movies and sweaters). Unfortunately, many of them are wearing it completely wrong.
You absolutely must not wear this cardigan in a dressed up manner. Under no circumstances should you wear it over a nicely pressed button down shirt. Tight fitting trousers could also be a big mistake. Scarves should probably be avoided. And please – PLEASE – don’t ever wear it with a newsboy cap.
My opinion here, is that the cardigan is the statement piece, so don’t pair it with other eye-catching items. The rest of your outfit should be low key and relaxed, like the dude, who wore it properly.
Furthermore, don’t pretend that your dude cardigan is precious. You might think that it’s a really special piece, so you wear it in a really special way. That’s the wrong mindset, dude. Throw it on over a t-shirt and don’t worry about it. If it gets a snag or a spot, then “life goes on, man.”
How much is a Lebowski cardigan worth?
If you have a dude cardigan hanging in your closet, I suggest you wear it regularly. If not, you may want to resell it (although that would be somewhat “un-dude”) Current eBay listings for these range from $90 to $485.
Since Pendleton reintroduced the sweater, and started making them again, the value of an original Westerley cardigan is dramatically reduced. To get the dude look, you don’t have to pay that much anymore.