A Sweater of Substance (One of Four)

 
In a Business Casual environment, a substantial sweater, A Sweater of Substance, can stand in for a jacket when worn with a crisp blouse and smart trousers. Indeed, some might say that the sweater better captures the essence of BC and has the added benefit of easily fitting into a weekend wardrobe with khakis or jeans.

 
 
Perhaps you are wondering what I mean by “substantial”?
 
I mean a sweater of substantial weight and visual complexity. An elegant roundneck cashmere sweater might be very expensive and elegant, but it is not necessarily substantial.
 
I mean something like this:
Behold and delight
Behold and rejoice

This sweater has many years
This sweater has many years
 
 
I bought this felted wool cardigan more than a dozen years ago at Anthropologie and it’s still hard at work.
 
Here, I am wearing it with a plain white blouse and grey flannel trousers, but I’ve worn it with a striped menswear shirt and pinstriped trousers, too.

Can you believe the beautiful tree behind me?
Interrupting this post to ask: Can you believe how beautiful the tree behind me is?
 
 
In general, the men in my office rarely comment on women’s clothing or appearance. They are an extremely respectful, polite bunch. But occasionally I wear something so provocative that they cannot restrain themselves.
 
By provocative, I mean strange . . . like this sweater. A couple of my colleagues cannot get their minds around this sweater: asymmetry, portrait collar, excess buttonholes and uneven buttons.

 
 
So when I wear this sweater, one or two of my daring peers will say something like: “I think you missed a button” to which I reply,
 
Thanks, man. When I want your help, I’ll be sure to ask for it.
Sweater than breaks the minds of men who wear plaid shirts and khakis every day
Sweater that breaks the minds of men who wear plaid shirts and khakis every day

I love my little troglodytes
I love my colleagues, even when they are making fun of me
 
 
 
 
Understand that this is all in good fun.

 
This does remind me that I purchased a pastel by Cathy Daley several years ago and had it delivered the office. When these same colleagues saw it, their reaction was,
“I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but when you buy a picture,
you should make sure you’re buying the whole thing — not just half.” To which I responded,
 
Thanks, troglodytes. When I want your opinion, I’ll be sure to ask for it.
Cathy Daley Untitled Pastel on Velllum (2009)
Cathy Daley Untitled Pastel on Vellum (2009)* (similar to mine,
but not mine)

And now, some suggested sweaters for you. In this series of posts, you will see me wearing cardigans . . . which are just a few amino acids away from being jackets. But for some reason, the cardigan selection in stores is not great this winter, so I am giving you interesting pullovers.
 
JCrew Cable Knit with Fringe; go down a size or two for a snug fit
JCrew Cable Knit with Fringe; go down a size or two for a snug fit
For reasons I cannot fully articulate, I believe that this would be charming with a crisp white blouse underneath
Theory Off the Shoulder Cashmere Top; for reasons I cannot fully articulate, I believe that this would be charming with a crisp white blouse underneath

This Derek Lam 10 Crosby sweater also needs a blouse underneath . . .
This Derek Lam 10 Crosby Open Back Sweater also needs a blouse underneath . . .
. . . as you can see; so fun!
. . . as you can see; so fun!
And lastly, an intarsia knit bustier: Theory Two-Toned Ribbed Turtleneck
And lastly, an intarsia knit bustier: Theory Two-Toned Ribbed Turtleneck

 
Sweater: Anthropologie; Shirt: JCrew; Pants: JCrew; Shoes: Taryn Rose; Bag: Orla Kiely
 
* I love Cathy Daley’s work. Visit her website or Newzones Gallery to see more. And remember that you should never feel guilty about spending money on art!

10 thoughts on “A Sweater of Substance (One of Four)

  1. The sweater is interesting enough with all the buttonholes to demand scrutiny. It also speaks of warmth for the season. Everyone wants some detail to make the work sweater fun and cozy. You found it, which goes so very well with your many singular pieces that make up your style. Great pieces go on and on.

  2. This is reminding me of a Agnes B felted wool coat that I FAILED to buy, many years ago, even though I totally loved it. I felt I could not afford it, and yet, I have regretted not buying it so often over the years that I know the Cost Per Wear would have been down in the single dollars by now. Sigh.

    The only things the Agnes B felted wool coat had in common with your provocative sweater, by the way, were felted wool and buttons. Agnes B is wedded to minimalism. But not boring….

  3. It’s quite funny how easily unnerved people can be about unusual clothing designs. It is an important public duty you are undertaking, Directrice, to put yourself out there on behalf of your followers by expanding the clothing horizons of your unsuspecting colleagues, in law firms in particular. That is a gorgeous knit. Those buttonholes are quite surreal.… like a clock melting off a table. Or maybe just inserted by a blind seamstress!

  4. Substantial sweaters has so far gotten me out of ever wearing jackets. I love them. But, I feel like they need to be jacket-adjacent – meaning, cardigans (or at least a front that opens) and some sort of structure, like a belt or clip or epaulet or lapel.

  5. Your cardigan is great; I have a vague feeling I admired it in anthropologie myself over twelve years ago. I wonder if that Derek Lam open backed sweater could also be worn.. back to front… as a cardigan?

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