Directrice scholars will remember that some years ago, this blog published a series of posts titled Sweaters of Substance, explaining how a sweater of substantial weight and style could substitute for a jacket in a business casual environment. If you’ve forgotten, it’s here, here, here, here, and here.
For the WWDN (the Way We Dress Now, trademark pending), you don’t have to wear a jacket and are breaking no barriers by wearing a Sweater of Substance. The traces have been kicked over. Wearing a nice sweater and trousers is dressed-up.
I adore sweaters and today I’ll make the case for special sweaters — the outfit-making ones.
An important note: These sweaters might have been terribly expensive if purchased in-season through Matches Fashion or Net-a-Porter, but I bought them on The RealReal for a song.
We begin with a Jacquemus turtleneck sweater: a beautiful sea-green wool with some soft angora and mohair fibers blended in. Note that the turtleneck rises from the torso without a seam around the neck and that the knit stitch is smooth over the shoulders and upper chest. There are seams (a reverse-saddle seam construction? knitters help!) around the biceps and beginning mid-chest, the knit is ribbed. That’s visual interest!
But wait! There’s more.
The back is open (a winter sweater paradox, I realize, but still) and twists at the waist. The back is held close with an elastic strap. Is it nonsensical and a little odd? Yes. But you can’t deny that it is interesting.
All that is needed to leave the house is a pair of pants (not tights — tights are not pants) and some assertive shoes. Here, I will make a plug for these new cropped JCrew trousers: a stretchy, heavy ponte knit with a slight flair, my preferred silhouette and, to my eye, a more graceful cut than tapered capris.
I’ve worn this sweater with a small brooch at my collarbone — fabricated (I am not kidding) from an eggshell, silicone, and silver — but I forgot to put it on for the photos. So sorry!
Moving on to Exhibit B: a Marques Almeida asymmetrical knit. You may vaguely recognize this sweater; I have it in two other colors — a beautiful marigold and navy blue. I bought all three on The RealReal and though each is 100% wool, they have different textures, lengths, and fits. I do wonder whether these differences represent the laundry mishaps of previous owners or if the designer simply decided to make numerous variations on one design. Regardless, I love each one very much.
This grey sweater is heavier than the others and its texture is almost felted, which enables it to hold the dramatic shape of this design. It’s more sculptural than the other two.
A friend was visiting this afternoon and agreed (possibly even wanted?) to watch the photo-taking, so The Photographer and I had a live lighting assistant to hold the off-camera flash. It was so PRO-fessional.
Let’s take one more look from the front. Such a lovely drape.
For a jolt of color with these neutrals, a yellow bag and dark red shoes.
This bag makes everyone smile. It’s just so preposterous.
I assured my friend that for all the good photos shown on this blog there are just as many, possibly more, bad ones. My output has been so low since 2020 that I haven’t been publishing year-end round-ups and thus have denied all of you the pleasure of seeing my favorite terrible photos.
This one’s pretty good.
In conclusion, the last special knit. This 3.1 Phillip Lim sweater may also look familiar. I showed a metallic version of it in 2021 and when a cream wool-cotton blend appeared on The RealReal two years later, I snapped it up. This may be the most flattering sweater in my closet.
Although the sweater speaks for itself in person, I decided to add a knitted brooch. On Zoom, the brooch adds a great graphic pop.
Do you remember these Sonia Rykiel brooches? So fun.
This sweater is substantial, but I added a scrap of cotton jersey underneath the sweater to give the pin a little more weight to sink into. I did recently purchase a “magna-pin” device, but have had some difficulty using it. That will be the topic of another post.
Black pants: JCrew Demi-boot Pant in Italian Ponte; Tan pants: Prana Halle II; Black loafers: Coach Leah Loafers (not sure that patent leather is still available); Red loafers: Marc Jacobs (old); Black and white brogues: Dr. Martens 3989 Brogues (may be on sale at Saks)