Suddenly I’m very interested in clothes again.
I haven’t revisited my so-called “look” since maybe my early thirties. I’ve always loved clothes. To me, clothes are right up there with art, food and books as great pleasures of life that are available to us all, daily, if we are lucky.
The women who most influenced me when I was young were my mom, of course, but also my great-aunts. Great-aunt Carrie in particular took immense joy in her appearance: clothes, hair, perfume, jewelry, makeup. She was in her sixties the entire time I knew her, and she was, to my eyes, a paragon of glamour and self-confidence.
She had only nine years to transmit her message to me, but quite a lot of it stuck. Costume jewelry: good. The concept of the “signature scent”—roger that. Impeccable hairdressing and makeup: much less so. I remember her being harshly critical of teenagers of the day wearing unhemmed jeans. If I run into Aunt Carrie in the afterlife, I will have to explain to her about jeans. She will not believe me.
A Beacon to Follow
Today, my guide in all matters of style is The Women’s Room blog. I’ve experienced the adventure of shopping with The Women’s Room’s Amanda Carr (who is also the fragrant force behind We Wear Perfume), seeing what she picks out and quizzing her about why. It all boils down to the idea of pleasure. It’s fun to dress well. Knitters know this. When we’ve bound off a new piece, be it a pullover, cardigan or accessory, we can’t wait to drape it on our person and WERQ the aisles of the local supermarket.
I’ve been guilty of knitting a sweater, then pairing it with a) black trousers, b) jeans, or c) black jeans. I do this over and over. The sweater is the whole outfit. I’m a walking billboard for The Knitting-Centered Life. But I do not want sweaters, or shawls or wraps, to be the boss of me! So, consider this the beginning of an exploration of How to Wear Handknits.
Deciding on the Formula
My current hypothesis: handknit + flashy pencil skirt.
I wish I could remember where I found this arresting picture, but I think it was on The Sartorialist, and I think it was taken in Italy. I just love everything about this woman’s style. She’s warm, she’s comfy, she doesn’t give a rat’s ass. For all I know, she’s famous. If not, she should be. Note: marled pullover, busy print skirt.
Technically, these are the dreaded black trousers. (Photo: The Frugality.) It’s not a handknit—it’s from Top Shop—but its embroidered Xs remind me of True Brit Knits’ Highland Bling. And the black trousers are leather, which gives them a little zing that I do not think is a zing too far.
More pullover + patterned skirt. This time with baby blue booties. From knitwear master Christian Wijnants. Why are all my skirts black? Lost opportunity for pattern!
Marimekko shuts it down. This is a great look, for any age. We have the knitting skills. We need only to ditch the mom jeans.