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  • My favorite us actually the Magdalena shawl. I love the colors it comes in as well.

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  • I am trying again to subscribe. It hasn’t worked the last couple of times.

    • I will contact you by email.

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  • Thank you for the inspiration!! I love these looks!! I love your attitude. Your humor. Your blog. Xo

  • As I passed the mid-century mark, I realized that for me, erring on the side of exuberance is the best choice. Not that I don’t appreciate the all-black palette as a blank canvas for the handknits.

  • Reading about your Dries experience made me recall my “skirt experience”. Lots of years ago I found the Issey Miyake Shower Curtain skirt at either Off 5th or Last Call. I guess everyone passed it up because it did look like a shower curtain. The price was ridiculously low and I snapped it up. I’ve worn it at least twice and it lounges in my closet, but now I’m thinking it would look great with a flashy handknit!!

  • Of course you have seen the movie Iris, about the elegant and lovely Iris Apfel? I was inspired to wear 2 amber necklaces at once after seeing that, but if she’d had a Marimekko skirt, that would have just thrown me over the edge. Mostly I am a LLBean t-shirt and jeans girl, though.

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  • Pencil skirts and jeans with a 2 inch zipper are great for those of you with no hips and lacking the largest part of my body-thighs. By the time I get a pencil skirt over said thighs I can look down through the waist and see my underwear. Waist is 2-3 sizes smaller than size needed to cover lower half. Thus, mom jeans are a must to keep them on. And. If plumber butt crack jokes are a horror so are seeing women’s. Plumber or not.

    • I am blessed with a waist that ensures I will never look down through the top of a skirt I am wearing ?. But seriously for those of us who have the apple versus the pear body type, pencil skirt may be the salvation. I wish it weren’t called pencil, which implies thinness when really the point is that it’s straight.

    • See, I always had the opposite problem with pencil skirts: the waist was too small. That’s not to say I’m large-waisted, my waist is just incredibly high (we’re talking like 4″ below the bottom of my bra). And I don’t really have that much of a butt. But anywho, I was never able to find pencil skirts that fit me correctly without having to visit a tailor, which I wouldn’t do, until I bumbled upon Ann Taylor and Loft’s pencil skirts. They offer them in different fits, as opposed to the normal one-style-fits-all pencil. It’s worth a try if you’re interested in adding one to your wardrobe!

  • I’m a big fan of black pants too, in denim or twill or wool (I live in Canada – it’s cold up here). I do like the idea of changing it up, with a stylish handknit sweater. After this (and once spring returns, I might try a pencil skirt with a cotton handknit sweater. As for costume jewellery, I have recently started adding my mom’s favourite pins to my coat lapel, and sweaters. And your aunt reminds me of my beloved Aunt Helen, who knew how to dress without taking it over the top, even to take out the garbage (in her 80s).

  • PS. I LOVED the comment that she looks like she “doesn’t give a rat’s ass”. She obviously doesn’t, and her outfit looks great.

  • Dearest Kay … the Alabama Chanin stitched items pair up wonderfully with handknits … try your wrap skirt with the boxy … should be fabulosity … my dress cum the LOLA sweater pair up swooningly … do kiss Olive on the nose … lovingly always!

  • I feel so guilty knitting for myself, knowing there are WIPs for others waiting to be finished. Perhaps I should get myself some fabulous skirts as motivation.

  • I mostly wear my handknit sweaters with jeans (or, rarely, with black jeans). It’s what I wear whether I’m wearing a sweater or not, most days. But I am a big fan of using accessories to fancy it up. Necklaces, and, most especially, earrings and shoes.

    I will say that I totally wore a red lace sweater I knit with a black and white polka dotted pencil skirt and brown spectator pumps with straps and Thanksgiving this year. Actually regretted it terribly, as the combo of hose+sitting is never comfortable, and then add in that it’s kind of terrible. Side note: highly recommend the high-waisted hose, the ones that come up to your bra line. They don’t bisect you while wearing them, you only have one pressure-line, and if you have a long-line bra you can just sit it on top of that and it’s quite comfy. I never wear regular hose, now that I’ve discovered them (I’m the girl that always cut the elastic off my Bloch tights for ballet, and my hate of elastic on hose continues years later).

  • Wonderfully motivational post, Kay! As a decades-long accessories maven (although I did sport prints in my teenage ’70s, and own a few printed dresses) I don’t see myself in many of these skirts, but OH! that Marimekko is to die for.
    As you know, I’ve fallen down the Chanin hole; I have two skirts in the queue (love those 25% off sales!). Because my fabric stash only trails my yarn one slightly, I will think of adding a pencil skirt to the list. I have a pattern already! XXO

  • Great stuff!

  • For years I wore nothing but dark pants or jeans thinking that they were the most flattering look for me. Then it hit me! Skirts are so much more comfortable! And versatile. A-line is a better shape for me but I’m not afraid of prints and color on my bottom half anymore. I haven’t knit a sweater for myself in years but I’m thinking that’s going to have to change.

    • Thank you! I can’t understand why so many women, especially young ones, believe that pants are somehow the comfortable choice. To me, they are pure misery to wear. It’s a pity that when clothing became more or less unisex, men did not adopt skirts instead of the other way around? They’d likely be much more relaxed without all that fabric tugging and pinching them in tender spots.

  • My current inspiration is the Advanced Style blog. Artistic, over the top fashionable people on the far side of 70’s. Fabulous! Iris is one of them.

  • Love this. I’m looking to change/modify/outright ditch my current “look” and this gave me a little motivation?

  • The brooch has shown up on my radar thanks to Ellen Odacier’s penchant for wearing them on hand knits; love that look! My 26 year old daughter loves costume jewelry and has always had her own style, so maybe I’ll take a page from her book and be a bit bolder. As a high school teacher, I will receive IMMEDIATE feedback from my students, so no chance of taking it too far, hahahaha!

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  • Pencil skirts work with a surprising range of knit tops. And shoes, for that matter. Meaning flats and boots in my case. If the look doesn’t work with my tried and true comfortable shoes, then it is out. My fussy feet are top priority.

    I love all of the looks you posted, but that graphic Marimekko (and simple, square pullover) is the one that lodges itself in my brain’s fashion file.

  • …ditto the Marimekko love!!

  • Having become much more apple than pear in my fifties, I was interested to see this. The Marimekko skirt is what we used to call the bomb diggety, as is the way sauve Italan lady. Will have to investigate loud pants, and try not to resemble a golfer from the seventies. Plaid will be verboten. I have a pencil denim skirt and it is my fav. Sick of jeans already and it’s only December. Patterned leggings just don’t cut it, though.

  • Ok, now I want to make that Marimekko skirt. Next time I’m near the store in the City … must check out how much the piece of fabric (even one yard) will set me back. Love it.

    And so very very true — all the stapes in my wardrobe are black: the basic dress, skirt, etc. What happened to the me who dressed in Vogue designer patterns that I sewed? and wore weird pieces? Oh yes, she had children. And then became middle aged. My go to accessory these days is vintage costume jewelry (thank you, Mama). Oh, and knitted shawlettes.

    Thanks for hte motivation to try and up my game. Though I doubt I’ll become an Iris Apfel.

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  • Dear Kay,

    My knitting is usually for other people. The one skein version of the Honey Cowl pattern is the first garment that I finished for me since the early ’80s. The knitting was completed last year; and, I still haven’t woven in the two ends!

    That said, I really didn’t like the subject of today’s post when I received my email announcement. Now that I have read it, I am so grateful that you wrote it! First, I fell in love with the story about your aunt Carrie. Then, I enjoyed the pics that you have posted and your comments. Although it may not exactly have been your intent, the message has reached me that it’s ok, good, expected, even Necessary that I knit for myself.

    I am one year into my sixties, so the time is just right for me to meet my inner Carrie.

    Thanks Kay.

    LoveDiane

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  • These are Great Ideas for the knitters and for the hand-knit wearers. Flamboyance is highly under-rated at every age. I most definitely remember the photo from the Sartorialist. That lady is Fabulous from top to toe.

    And Signature Scent? Yes, please! I’d love to know . . . is there is a MDK-favored fragrance? Not surprisingly, I have made a number of friends via knitting who are also perfumistas and vice versa.

  • More inspiration for some New Year’s Resolutions. Lose the mom jeans (well, maybe not lose, but don’t wear so often) and don’t give a rat’s ass. Think I’ll try it!

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  • I just ADORE both of your writing and I’m so glad you’re back! This just makes my day/holiday/year/! Thank you!

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  • Love this post…since I’ve retired and donated all my “professional” wardrobe, I can clearly see I’m in a rut! Thanks for the wake-up call! It doesn’t help that I live in a very casual seaside town in Rhode Island…rarely do people dress up…super casual which I’ve grown to love but time to break out! I wear only skirts all summer…they’re much cooler and more comfortable for me…but then I move into black pants, black pants, and more black pants once the weather gets colder…except for one pair of winter white wool pants which for obvious reasons are NOT my “go to” pants for every day. Time to lose 10 lbs. and start wearing pencil shirts with boots! Shoes always mess me up…what style to wear with my outfit…not an easy decision!

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  • Love pencil skirts/ love marimekko/ such great comments too.
    I am signed up for newsletter but never get em.

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  • Marimekko rules, decades of stunning prints prove it. My mom wore them in the 70’s, which brings up another, more regional fashion perspective: in the South, women and men are not afraid of highly patterned clothes (see Lilly Pulitzer for reference). Feel free to weigh in here, Ann, although your love of The Monotone has always made me suspect you were adopted.
    If anyone is looking for more color and pattern in their closet, check out the fab British clothes at Boden. Cool pencils, amazing patterned pants, shirts and skirts of all styles, even a stylish kilt-as-mini is on offer, as they say. Well-made but not expensive, all fit to pair with handknits. No, I am not affiliated. But every time I wear their clothes I get compliments.

  • And then there is the wonder of KNITTED skirts…specifically the wonderful options from Churchmouse. I’m doing the Simple Straight Skirt now — thought it would be a sloggy project, but it is like a sweater with no sleeves. What could be better than that?

  • Need email reminders for posts

  • I love this idea!

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  • I am so enjoying reading your posts again. They move my thinking in new and/or forgotten ways. Thanks.

  • KonMari and capsule wardrobes overlapped for me. A street-style photographer friend recommended Into Mind (http://into-mind.com) and it’s been a very useful way for me to get a clear look at what my personal style is (besides “does it feel like pajamas but look appropriate for the office”). It really is about your own personal style; it’s not chambray shirts and black jeans for every occasion unless that really *is* your style. Combined with capsule wardrobe worksheets from The Vivienne Files I had an easy time getting dressed with what I packed for travel on trips this year, and I’m on my way to having a work wardrobe that allows for early morning blearyheadedness and has me looking like a respectable grownup.

    I will also note that there is now a sewing machine in my home office and I’m taping together the pattern pieces for the Colette Sorbetto top. It’s just a matter of time before I draft a flat pattern for sewing my personal perfect pair of work trousers.

  • My daughter is constantly telling me not to make my clothes matchy,matchy. Very hard for a child from the garanimals age. This makes me want to break out a little!

    • I almost strangled a teenaged babysitter who was starting to teach my then 4 year old about picking Matching Outfits.

  • Dearest Kay, thank you for your kind words on The Women’s Room and We Wear Perfume. You are no slouch yourself in the style department, you’ve made me – a life long buyer of things from shops- lust after hand knits and consider knitting things, that takes some doing.
    And of course the stylish woman in the first image is famous, she’s Lucinda Chambers, fashion editor of Vogue UK and one on TWR’s all time favourite dressers. You most certainly would look excellent rocking this look.
    When I next see you I’m expecting you to be in a fancy pencil, with a neat textural knit atop.
    much love Ax

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  • I have also been unable to subscribe to the newsletter.

    MDP

  • Love this, especially the black sweater/graphic skirt combo. It is perfect for what the style guides like to call my “inverted triangle” body type.

    I too like clothes, and always have. A love of textiles, line, and color is part of what brought me into the knitting world…and being post-Whole30 myself has necessitated acquisition of new textiles, and the shedding of others! Very fun, especially when done in thrift and consignment stores, and at good sales. Plus, it takes less yarn to make garments now!

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  • Notify me every time you post.