Trained Neutrals

I’ve been craving color this winter, and wishing that my sweater collection included more vibrant shades. And yet, I keep buying grey and camel sweaters. Hmmmmmm.

I do love grey and camel. I love each color paired with other shades of the same, with black, or even together.

When this special cardigan appeared on The RealReal, I nabbed it.

Perhaps you are asking, isn’t this a repeat of what The Directrice wore in her last post? Isn’t this cardigan just like the belted one from JCrew that she showed with a suit in 2018?

If you are feeling aggrieved about redundant content, have a little faith.

Other than disappearing for weeks on end, have I ever let you down? Maybe the better question is: Has my content ever let you down?

Maybe the better question is: Other than my baggy pants, has my content ever let you down? O.K. then!

After consulting with the Directice Global Industries archivist and going back through DGI Holdings 10-Ks, I can confirm that the little merino stretch cardigan is 18 years old and the belted cardigan is approximately 6 years old. Based on their ages and my excellent use of them, I think I can buy another fine merino wool cardigan in grey.

A deserved reward and an intelligent purchase, particularly in light of the unique delights this one brings to the collection.

Look first, then read on for a DIY suggestion.

It’s very, very different; layers of silk, tulle, and chiffon fill a vent in the back

Among the many teachings offered on this blog, you may remember that changing the buttons is an easy way to personalize, embellish, or upgrade a sweater, jacket, or coat.

This sweater features two kinds of buttons that are placed at different lines of longitude. Twelve satin covered buttons, with loop closures, run from the neckline to the bottom of the ribcage. Then, an inch to the right (my right) three larger, shell buttons (or plastic or resin) close the bottom of the sweater through traditional buttonholes. Interestingly, though this design was clearly purposeful, there are buttonholes at regular intervals in the placket from the neckline to the hem. The top six are just sewn closed.

The difference — in size, style, and alignment — adds just the right amount of interest to make this sweater fun. A thin black belt gives the loose cut a little polish.

Formerly crafty Directrice encourages others to be crafty

New Matters: This off-the-shoulder sweater may remind you of another from the Archives. But this sweater has long sleeves, which I need at this time of year.

Big Sweater

I’ll wear a satin skirt to work, but bare shoulders + exposed collarbone is verboten

The off-the-shoulder neckline is so dramatic and feminine –it’s too special to reserve for eveningwear.

A blouse or jersey underneath brings it into the daytime.

This cozy chenille sweater weighs as much as the lead vest the dentist lays on you before taking x-rays. It’s an odd sensation: heavy and soft.

The sleeves are intentionally long, with thumbholes. This may be my most chic sweater, but it’s not my most practical one. My most practical sweater is a warm, but very light, boucle sweater with a giant intarsia heart knitted into it, which came from JCrew’s Crewcuts (i.e., children’s) line.

Big and soft

Time to turn the page, figuratively.

Perhaps the Directrice scholars among you see something familiar in this photo?

A garish, sequined corsage on my sweater! This sequined applique was on a different sweater (also from JCrew) six years ago. I loved the sequins, but the sweater was weirdly uncomfortable — tight in some places, loose in others, stiff all over. So I gave it away several years ago.

But not before clipping the applique off (actually, two overlapping patches) and tucking them in a drawer for safekeeping.

The sequins did not convey

Part magpie, part child

Every so often over the past few years, I would take these patches out of the drawer (they were living with my silk scarves) and admire them wistfully, thinking that I should find a sweater to attach them to.

Note: I am 53 years old.

It struck me like a bolt between Christmas and New Year’s 2022 that a rich camel or caramel color would set them off beautifully.

This relaxed fit crewneck, also from JCrew, fit the bill.

A homecoming of sorts

In the full length shots, I tucked a white scarf into the neckline to approximate a shirt collar. The knit is very light and supple, so a cotton blouse underneath would not work.

Bling-a-ling-a ding-dong

Bask in the reflections bouncing off this delightful piece of fancy work

I wondered if I should affix the patches with an elaborate felt-with-snaps docking station — for ease of cleaning — but Fatima assured me that these sequins can be dry-cleaned.

Grey cardigan: Sacai from The RealReal (there is another one there now, but it costs much more than mine did . . . a vagary of RealReal pricing); Off-the-Shoulder sweater: Jacquemus; Camel crewneck: JCrew; Bag: Longchamp (old, from The RealReal)

Anxious Mouse on steroids

5 thoughts on “Trained Neutrals”

  1. The sweaters are wonderful – and what’s wrong with neutrals? Digging the off-shoulder especially with the thumbholes. Also, your red lip is great!

  2. Hi!
    Just hoping that all is well with you. I’m missing your posts, in all their glory, so much. Any updates in store?


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