(Wool) Jersey Grrrl

Given my Irish genes, I don’t understand why I can’t acclimate to the PNW’s cold damp weather. Maybe I need less green tea and more Jameson’s?

While my beloved ferns adore the oozy clammy environment*—and I adore that they adore it—it doesn’t change the fact that when our region’s dank air seeps ever-so-stealthily into my bones I feel like a decrepit 103 vs a mildly arthritic broad of 41.

Then I roast when it’s dry and over 75, go figure.

[As a devout hypochondriac, I’m sure this state of affairs is due to one or more of the horrifying medical conditions Dr. Google has diagnosed for me; as neither my Western-trained nor CAM-focused doctors seem particularly concerned, however, I’m trying not to borrow trouble.]

The combination of my regional and personal characteristics means that fall through hmmm, July I tend to layer up in silk longjohn tops, silk knits, and sweet Georgia Brown wool. O how I worship wool’s breathable, moisture-wicking, water-, mildew- and mold-resistant, insulating, and often washable goodness!

Although angora fibers make me itch and cashmere at my price point is often too scratchy for my princess/pea’d self, sheep’s wool does me right. Depending on the season, I put my T&A in everything from spiderweb-like wool gauze to dense flannel—but as a sucker for anything soft and stretchy, it’s wool knits that have the firmest hold on my heart.

Which is why I was mega-excited to see that the fashion world’s recent infatuation with drapey 1940s looks segued into an even more recent fascination with 1990s-era materials, silhouettes, and colors.



Oh well; win some, lose most.

Having already blown a huge chunk of my fall/winter clothing budget on black and grey business suiting, I knew I needed some colors to keep my soon-to-be sunshine-deprived caboose from plummeting into moods as dark as my closet tends to be.

So I headed off to the fabric store, found what I wanted, and called the Mellow Glamazon to let her know I needed her help getting a few wool jersey pieces in my cold little paws.

For the first bit of fabric—a deep blue that’s refreshingly neither too bright nor too dark for me—I’d been debating one of the semi-sheer jersey items with cowl-y or off-the-shoulder necklines I’d seen in LUXE DARLING LUXE online shoppes. But as a) I have commitment issues and b) I prefer the way lower necklines look on my body shape, MG suggested a detachable whatchamacallit might best meet my needs.

I’m sure I’ll wear the simple scoopneck version most frequently, but I do love me an option or two….

Semi-sheer scoop neck wool jersey sweater (worn with sleeveless underlayer til temps lower) has a detachable cowl/stole

Same top with detachable piece worn as stole...because apparently I hanker to look like a Senior Yearbook photo

For the second closet addition, I’d found an appealing medium-weight jersey in a muted red-violet shade; it seemed like a good bet for the browns, roses, and plums I’ve been sloooowly accumulating since Project Anti-VaderWear began in earnest last fall. As I’d been mulling over one of those unlined cardigan-jackets that were (once again and amen) showing up here and there, I decided to take the plunge.**

Heavier weight, muted red-violet wool jersey jacket/cardigan (unlined)

While I knew the general shape I wanted, the Mellow Glamazon came up with these cuffed, slightly belled sleeves that I think are the cat’s pajamas. That goes ditto for the lightweight layering piece beneath the jacket, aka the Strawberry Fudge Ripple Top’s long-sleeved, fully-backed sibling. [Alias the WHOOPS I DID IT AGAIN textile.]

Slightly belled sleeves on jacket...and the long-sleeved sibling of the Strawberry Fudge Ripple Top beneath

Now: most of my jackets hit at my high hip, the better to elongate my proportionately short legs. But for this project, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go a little longer. I’m certainly happy with the result—for one thing, I’m partial to the way deeply V’d cutaway jackets do an awesome job of avoiding a Rectangle/H shape’s natural habitat: blockiness.

Wool jersey jacket partnered with patterned knit pencil skirt and jeans

But between the color and the cut I fear I’m looking rather in need of a horse and stable boy.

Hmmm: between the period-referencing color and the cut, maybe my new jacket DOES look a bit like an Edwardian riding habit....(c 1900 -1920 habit from the V&As collection)

As I’m off the market, however, I’ll have to leave the Lady Chatterley-esque romps to other Jersey Grrrls. My advice? Keep the rolling as far from the hay as possible….

* Cold damp air apparently = Sword fern heaven: they (and the clematis) provide year-round green and give the dining room a halfway decent view

Backyard ferns in 05, about the last time the yard looked moderately tidy

** Around the time I was working out my jersey jacket shape, Pseu of UneFemme posted several RTW examples of the genre…if you’re so inclined, venture over to her Minimalism Made Easy post

11 Responses

  1. Hi Vix! scoop necks are the most sexy way wool can surround a neck! I need more time to luxuriate in your last postings!
    Right now I have to tell you, my nephew has a Sicilian godfather who would die for the weather in Upper Austria in die Lake region I spent my mini-vacation. Whenever the sun shines in Vienna, it rains down there.
    He loves the “Loden”-capes and heavy leather-shoes.
    follow comment to come soon! 🙂
    xoxo paula girl (‘hope you get what I am referring to!!)

  2. Vix,

    Love those wool knit pieces! The colors are very pretty, and the designs are exquisite. I’m quite fond of wool crepe, which seemed to be everywhere in the 90’s and should be just about due for a comeback.

  3. Hi Vix,

    I’m a lurker, but I used to enjoy your decorating comments at GW, and am definitely enjoying your posts here.

    You say your blue top is “semi-sheer”. How does that work for you? It seems like half the inexpensive cotton jersey shirts I see turn into “look at my bra!” in bright light, which I just can’t bring myself to wear to work. Am I just a prude? Is there some secret I’m missing?

    (Otherwise I love the pieces you’ve been coming up with, and am terribly jealous of your seamstress and fabric stores.)

  4. Ms Paula —

    We share a brain, of course I get you!

    [and please make my share 50% vs 10%, thanks]

    Pseu —

    Let me sit on the wool-crepe-lovers bench with you!

    Thanks for the kind words…I loved your post on the Fall 10 knits [readers: linked in mine] as it let me know that if I was living in the past I would not be alone!

    And I love the colors too. Even Mr Vix was moved to comment on the blue being nice.

    Morfydd —

    Hello, fellow GWebber/lurker no more! You see I gave up on the damn house and turned my improvement skills to the other falling-apart creature.

    So glad you are here, and not just because you arrived full of compliments, ha.

    You aren’t a prude! I know just what you mean about the bra showing and I won’t “go there.”

    I do LAYER under those $@)@ t-shirts as well as the blue wool — it helps hide the bra and the back fat.

    A silky or silk camisole suffices for hotter days and/or when jackets go on top (the first works as long as you don’t mind your arms semi-showing, which I don’t but I’m sure others might).

    Then when it’s cooler I put those $@)@ t-shirts or silk longjohns to work *underneath* stuff (even other skimpy-weight Ts).

    I think longsleeves will work out with the blue…it’s obviously QUITE form-fitting, so we’ll see.

    Sounds like a lot of effort but it’s kind of a no-brainer once you have a few camisoles around. Hope this helps….

  5. Lovin your PNW colors. The ocean blue shirt/cowl/whatever that is is spectac! And your yard….dreamy! Love seeing A’s necklaces too!

  6. Ms L —

    Thanks as always!

    You know I love wearing Anneliese’s necklaces; it was so sweet of you to send me some Florida sun so the facets would be extra-sparkly. Next time please skip the humidity, blergh.

    [Sure I wrote that wool is breathable, but it’s not breathable enough for me to layer up in the blue—so I was back in black (spiderweb weight) wool! Not that I’m REALLY complaining about having a September summer…]

  7. It has gotten up to 114 here this week. I, also being an Irish lass, am dreaming of cold, damp, ferns, knits, and needing ANY clothes. Sadly my knits sit in my closet just waiting for their day to come!
    I adore your new pieces. I am particularly smitten by that long textured sweater. Gorgeousness!!!!!

  8. LBR —

    You all *did* get slammed, but as some of that heat and liquid gold migrated up here I can’t say I’m all that sorry (sorry!).

    I had to dig around for humidity-friendly clothes and misjudged a few times–including overestimating the breeziness of a tank + that long, semi-sheer textured sweater you like—so I’m actually doing a fair bit of waiting with you….

    [and thank you!]

  9. Just wondering … how expensive is it to have a local designer make a custom piece?

  10. Hi T&S–

    In my area, which has a relatively higher cost of living, prices run about what one would pay at someplace like Ann Taylor or Banana Republic for the same item. Plus/minus 10-15% depending on what fabric you’re using and whether you source it yourself.

    Several places will customize (via alterations or detailing) something they are selling for no extra fee.

    On the downside, no amazing sales–but on the upside, no alterations fees! Hope that helps give some context.

    • Thanks for replying 🙂 That’s pretty good. I once asked a local tailor how much it’d cost to make a casual long a-line skirt and she said $200+ (including fabric, but still!). Glad to hear one can find cheaper options.


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