5 Tips for Picking Out the Perfect Sweater
black funnel-neck sweater (here) // gray cashmere travel wrap (here // moto legging with zippers (here) // leopard slip-on tennis shoes (old H&M, similar here, here and here) // B rope pin (vintage, love this one!) // gold bangle bracelets (Meadowbelle Market)
Sometimes I find myself staring at the pages of a catalog: bright jewel tones in reds, blues, greens, yellows and even sometimes purples (my least favorite color.) They are beautifully photographed in a well-lit stack of rainbow-colored softness, folded to perfection or hanging from pristine hangers just so. “Must. have. one. of. everything,” I say out loud, mostly because no one is around to judge me for talking to myself. I’ve put a single item in every color into my cart before and then gone back and forth on which color wins the lottery and finds a new home in my closet. I will grab a shirt in every color to try on in a fitting room before selecting. I am often caught starry-eyed picking up big fluffy cardigans at bargain-store prices, when I have to ask myself these 5 things:
- What is it made of?
- What do I already have in my closet?
- What are classic fits and shapes?
- How many different ways can I wear this?
- Does it make me look fat? Clearly I saved the most important question for last. lol
I was a textile major back in college, and let me tell you – I am a firm believer in staying as far away from those synthetics as you can get! Did you know that when your tag reads acrylic, it is in fact the same exact chemical used in things like acrylic nails? Those clear (and colored if you were alive in the 80s) plastic trays and containers for your teenage daughter’s desk? Acrylic. The same acrylic. You don’t really want to cloak yourself in that stuff do you? Every textile has its pros and cons, but I think that the pros of natural fibers far outweigh the cons. Nothing beats out the luxury of cotton sliding along your skin, barely more than a whisper along your skin; or the soft hand of a cashmere scarf, providing a warmth that is naturally comfortable (and breathable!) Despite the rumors, most wools are washable (unless the tag explicitly says dry clean only) – but only by hand. I’d rather have my neck wrapped in cashmere than acrylic, wouldn’t you?
I am a staunch victim (haha) of buying the same things over and over. Stripes? I’ll take two. To go with the five I already have hanging in the closet. You will run into things that you love, all the time. Just remember the one you love already hanging in your closet and leave the other one at the store. You can do it.
Classic shoulders, where the seam is vertical from the armpit to the top of the shoulder bone, are 99% a better idea for every body type than a drop shoulder, or a dolman sleeve (both of which tend to be trendy, coming and going in style.) Lengths can get trendy, cropped being in or floor-length cardigans being the rigueur du jour. I always recommend a length that makes you look your best!
Can you belt it? Tuck it? Layer it? If it’s only going to go with one pair of pants and one pair of shoes for one single look, that’s fine – but versatile pieces mean they will be worn more often and be the best bet for your buck.
Seriously though, if you ever don’t like the fit (but maybe love the color – or the idea of the sweater) then do. not. buy. it.
Now I want to know: What’s your favorite sweater and why?