Sporty Spicing it up [pt 3]

Earlier, I described my reluctant resolution to step away from my closet’s natural Fall/Winter habitat–aging wool separates and ho-hum knits in black, brown, and grey–and toward more chipper horizons. With two new items of color creating sweet intertonal music with my well-worn neutrals, I’d made real strides. I had incandescent stripes, I had can’t-miss-me pattern. But with dresses made of funeral bunting a key ’09 trend, I also had temptation. Relapse was in the wind.

Every so often, I realize a certain genre in my progeria-inclined wardrobe needs to be taken VERY firmly in hand. Last summer, it was sandals; this fall, items of the vaguely-defined “nice casual” or “casual chic” variety.

With an Ultra-Relaxed Fit work environment on my horizon, I had serious closet concerns.

While I could fake looking mellow in summer with a few 2-for-1 Ts, my always-limited cold-weather casual options were now faded, stretched out of shape, and/or scarred from various messy labors. After having paid virtually no attention to what I wore on the weekends–or just gotten more cost per wearing out of staid work duds–how could I be faced with such a crisis?!

Clearly the time had come for me to go all Hans Brinker on the problem, even if it meant enlisting a few extra digits.

With the need vast and the Update Fund less than robust, VaderWear updates would have to wait. For mental health and variety, it seemed best to parse out the pennies on “real” color. So much for my chance to spray paint my 11-year old car and roll with Jay-Z’s crew:

Get y’all fatigues on / All black everything / Black cards, black cars

All black everything”


But here was Suzy Menkes, reassuring–and terrifying–me about being swaddled in color:

Woolly, hairy or feather light, autumn knits have one thing in common: They cover the body like falling leaves. Softly, softly is the story, whether a sweater is filmy and vaporous or a cardigan dense with cable stitching….

“Colors are other-worldly, off-tones that might give to a winter woolly an eerie glow. Sour-apple green, an angry-wound pink or russet too bright to be rustic are just some of the unexpected colors on this new palette.”

In theory, that sounded captivating. And I’m sure sky-high whippets benefit from vats of Fisherman’s Ribs tossed over THEIR sternums. But the rest of us have to be all yellow alert. Or else.


Unfortunately for goal-oriented shoppers such as my-new-and-possibly-improved-self, a significant chunk of creative directors at Big Mid-Priced Retail Establishments apparently prepped for plummeting temperatures by getting drunk on highballs and watching Mad Men featurettes. Most anything warm and in color had a neckline up to my ears. And often a TIE.

Though to be excruciatingly fair, another (goddamn lazy) subset got busy churning out those heterosexual-privileging, rarely-flattering “boyfriend cardigans” from the 80s. But with inferior fabrics.

And of course Anthropologie did their thing–bless their hearts–but I’m afraid that involved offerings with 60% more bulk and/or associated geegaws than I could handle.

Basically, nothing I tried seemed like something in which I should leave the house. Until I saw this, anyway:

Having already thrown down for the recovering wall treatment known as Ole Stripey and the exuberantly patterned, descendant-of-Multiples cardiwrap, I had an epic question before me: was a pile of purple fluff worthy of being Fall/Winter Update #3?

And if “yes,” would I be channeling one of my idols?

Not that that’s a bad thing.

In fact, while it’s fun to play with contrasting and tonal underlayers (what, I’m gonna throw a black bra under it and call it good?)

and the color does make me look as if I sleep 10 or so hours a night, I’m ever-so-mildly sad it’s not green. Next time, Oscar, next time.

4 Responses

  1. Sneak peak looks good…

  2. Oh, that green one was so scary! We like yours so much better!

  3. Thanks to you both! Despite the vast change from my Flat Stanley knits, I am really loving it. And I’m definitely getting my cost per wearing down; the color is very flexible.

    Is it terrible to confess that the nice woman’s green er, tunic? dress? is growing on me as the weather gets colder? JUST FOR AROUND THE HOUSE I SWEAR

  4. Great post and a cute sweater! Progeria-inclined made me laugh and laugh.

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