BTS: Back-to-School

Hello, hello!

I love this time of year. Sweater Weather.

“Taking out my sweaters” felt more daunting this year than last, which was a sign to give some sweaters away. How fortunate that two friends came to dinner — one bringing a high school age daughter — a few days after my closet-cleaning.

Of course, it’s two steps forward, one step back.  No sooner had a group of sweaters left when this striped sweater arrived.

This sweater arrived? Sounds like I have no agency

It’s a great little sweater: cashmere with a nice feel, cropped length perfect for wearing over an untucked blouse, and STRIPES.

I did do much better than one-in/one-out
But it’s early in the Season of Sweater Weather (October-April); anything could happen
I fancy myself a Sweater Expert even though I cannot knit — a non-knitting Sweater Expert

Not to sound too cranky and old, but while sorting through my sweaters, I could not help noticing they don’t make ’em like they used to.

Some of my softest sweaters are JCrew cashmere from approximately — don’t laugh — 16-18 years ago. During the Jenna Lyons era. Greedy little thing that I was, I bought easily a half dozen cardigans (round neck and v-neck) between 2006-2008 and they have endured. They never pilled, the yarn has remained cloud-soft despite now innumerable washings and dry-cleanings, and the colors remain beautiful.

I have a cashmere hoodie from Ann Taylor purchased c. 2003 and the wool is so dense and soft that I swear: if you were doing a blind touch test you might think it was Loro Piana. Times have changed. I will never get rid of it.

Anyway, this little charmer is contemporary JCrew. Feels good now; time will tell.

It also comes in a regal looking purple, which might be nice under a black jacket.

Rounding out the stripes are more stripes, plus a little pattern. Behold one of Lillian Asterfield’s delightful ascots.

We’ll reconvene here (in this photo) in 2040 and see who pilled and who didn’t, OK?

Come closer and take a look. I love the red and lavender. Note: A similar shade of lavender is in both ties.

I look ready to return to work, don’t I?

My summer is now coming (on October 31) to a close. Tomorrow, I start my new job. Last week, my former co-workers threw a lovely goodbye party for me. This brings me to a true test for all of you who think you know the Directrice herself. Bear in mind: To get to the right answer, you don’t need to be familiar with all 676 posts on this blog. You just need to get inside my head for a few minutes.

The party was on an unseasonably warm (not hot) day during a week of unseasonably warm weather.  Which dress do you think I wore and (this is the essay portion of the test) why do you think I wore it? I will do something special (no idea what just, yet) for the winner.

A. A Dress with Two Faces
B. Friend of Cotton+
C. Puffed Sleeves of Anne Shirley’s Dreams
D. The Pieced Wonder

+ Cotton Mather, of course

16 thoughts on “BTS: Back-to-School”

  1. I love the ascot and am looking forward to learning about your new venture….teaching law??
    I absolutely believe that you wore D the pieced wonder because of course!!! Of course, because it is a grand finale and there are no restraints when a person is moving on!!! You leave on full throttle and make a full and glorious statement of freedom.

  2. I’m thinking B since I have not seen dress D in eons, and dress B would be so comfy and light for the weather, yet perfect in group photos. Just my 2 cents.

  3. I think you wore C. I initially thought B, but I think you would want to pop a little for a party that is being thrown for you, and B being all black does not pop the way C does. A is too warm and D is too summery.

  4. Yes, I have two very very old (04?) JC cashmere cardigans that have worn like iron and are still soft and have kept their shape. Also I had an ancient Ann Taylor cashmere hoodie that was so thick and soft and I got rid of it because I got tired of the color (pale pink) and it’s one of like 2 things *ever* I regret getting rid of. haha.

  5. I don’t know about the dresses. I’m here to say 100% on the sweaters. No question about it. It’s very hard to find actual wool these days, much less good quality wool and workmanship. Flat-looking cables, thin fabric. . .

    The pilling issue (speaking as a knitter here) is a bit different. Different breeds of sheep have fiber with different properties. In general, the softer the fiber, the less sturdy it is — meaning, the more pilly and prone to wearing thin it is. America has had a love affair with VERY SOFT YARN for what, 20 years now? There is a gorgeous kind of yarn I fall in love with every time, but the fingerless mitts I made for myself? Started pilling after 3 wearings or so. The only way to keep them halfway nice is go over them carefully with scissors. (If you just pull on the pills, you’ll create more.)

    Your nerdy knitterly advice for the day.

  6. I’m guessing C because STRIPES!

    And also, love love love the ascot. A welcome reminder that it’s okay to pull mine out now that the unseasonably warm finally seems to be behind us

  7. I’ve been holding off on posting a comment because I cannot decide which dress I think you wore! I’m going to agree with SEC that you wore C, even though B is definitely my favorite. Now we need to know what you wore on first day of New Job!

  8. I think you wore dress D because it is is colorful and would add a bright spot in photos that you might take with your former colleagues, and also the orange and green is a festive touch for this time of year. You would also want to leave your former colleagues with a memory of your sartorial creativity that they most likely have come to appreciate over the years, and dress D is the most lively of the bunch (at least from the far away pictures).
    I sincerely hope your new job will allow you to continue to express yourself creatively through your wardrobe!

  9. C. It is a conservative shape with the twist of stripes. It signals the tradition of law yet fun and slightly bold. From the old job to the new one.
    They all look good. D. Is intriguing and gutsy.
    Really, why is A. Wintour not knocking on your door, for an interview?

  10. The only dress I would rule out, would be A, because it seems too warm. B seems possibly a bit somber for a going-away party; C is more fun/festive, but also a little bit conventional, and I’m guessing that the Directrice took full advantage of the occasion and also provided her colleagues with a visual treat. So I am going with D! Also looking forward to hearing about what you wore on the first day at your new job, and how your work wardrobe/philosophy of style evolves.


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