Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chunky Knits: DOs and DONTs

I talked about chunky sweaters a couple of weeks ago (you can read it here), and now it's the turn of chunky knits in general.
  1. Knit pieces worn as jackets won't keep you warm even in the slightest winter wind, which will seep through a million holes. If you want your knit to be warm, you will need to choose one with a very tight stitch or a very fuzzy yarn (like mohair) and optimaly, lined. An al
  2. The quality of knits has been steadily falling for more than a decade and most high-street shops sell garments that will last less than a season, which is a waste and a shame. Sometimes you may get luck and find something nice, but you do have to look long and hard for it. Always check the label for the composition and learn to differentiate good from bad knits.
  3. Silly or cutesy motives are, in my view, a juvenile option for us ladies. Best avoid.
  4. Thick, chunky, baggy, and oversized? Think again: your whole shape will be hidden from sight and you will be all volume. This is, needless to say, something to avoid for ALL body types and ALLsizes except the slim and tall (as usual). Trust me, wearing voluminous garments will never make a person look slimmer, quite the contrary, it will transform her into a ball (Body type As and Bs), or an ice cream cone (Body type Cs). If you are petite, the item will dwarf you. I'm guessing that's not what you want. Skimming is ALWAYS better than oversized or skin-tight.
  1. Choose your best colours. You can read about them following each season palette labels.
  2. Choose your best shapes among the classics: turtleneck, crew neck, boat neck... You can read about them following each body shape label.
  3. Choose the very best possible quality materials. That means virgin wool or cashmere and blends with silk, cotton, etc. Avoid acrylic, polyester and other synthetic fibres: they make you sweat and do not age well, loosing form with each wash and peeling. Good knits are not cheap, but pay for themselves in time when the age well and last at least several seasons. Buy classic shapes in sales or at outlets or second hand through eBay or
  4. Take care of your knits, hand washing or using a laundry bag in the washing machine and choosing a program with no spinning and no tumble drying. Use cold water. Wool garments cannot be spinned, especially in warm to hot water, without shrinking splendidly. 
  5. Make sure you can deal with it if you choose angora. Angora will shed hair everywhere and on everything and everyone. I love the material, but all my basic coats are in black, so... no way I'm using it, not even for a beret. You can also consider taking a lint brush everywhere you...
What to favour:
A cardigan jacket that you can wear belted or not, as a great mid-season alternative to a coat. Look at yourself in the mirror and:
  • Cinch the cardigan at your slimmest point, effectively regaining your shape. Choose a two-inch belt as a general rule to do so, or slightly less or more depending on how short (or long) your torso is.
  • Take care to arrange the gathered material strategically to achieve the most flattering silhouette.

Velvet Trousers

Belted Cardigan Jacket by Caroline Grant. [Style: Urban Tweed].

The play on green creates a tonal colour combination that results in a long unbroken line. A great way to wear many shades of the same colour is mixing textures and prints.
The pencil trousers are best for those slim, or average body type Cs. If you are heavy on top, beware of creating and ice cream cone effect: opt for a pair of straight cut trousers instead.
The shoes are Hispanitas, comfortable and splendid quality, as usual.

Lanvin Slim Fit Velvet Trousers / Peter Som Blouse / Ralph Lauren Shawl Collar Cardigan / Marni Edition Printed Tote / Hispanitas Laces Pumps / Butler and Wilson Laughing Dragon Brooch / Jane Norman Pyramid Ring / Dolce&Gabbana Shine Lipstick in Almond / Dolce&Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Perfection.

Cardigan Jacket

Cardigan Jacket by Caroline Grant. [Style: Modern Classic].

The lilac pendant and gloves are a nice detail in a very sober combination of winter colours, although there is some shine and texture in the outfit.
The cardigan jacket's pattern creates interesting shapes: first, there are two black vertical lines, drawing the eye up and down, then there are the diagonal lines created by how the garment hangs.
The boots are probably impossible to wear for those who cannot take 3.5" heels. but I liked the tassel detail. I guess I can add some to mine...

Max&Co Basketweave Maxi Cardigan / Max&Co Skirt / Max&Co Turtleneck Sweater / Hobbs Harriet Handbag / L.K. Bennett Bonnie Boots / Lulu Frost Necklace / Max&Co Gloves / Urban Decay Palette in Smoked / Tom Ford Lipstick in Pink Dusk / Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Pink Crush.
A sleeveless cardigan will function pretty much in the same way as the jacket above, but you will need to wear a warm sweater underneath when temperatures drop (cashmere is the go-to option in this case) with possible elbow length gloves.

Sleeveless Cardigan

Sleeveless Cardigan by Caroline Grant. [Style: Ladylike with a Twist].

Sometimes Topshop gets distracted and makes something really nice (and expensive, of course), like this skirt... but then you go to the shop and it's impossible to find it, or anything that is not outrageously teen, come to that.
Grey, black and red is one of my favourite colour combinations, and one that each season can do in its own shades.
I'm forever in love with many Monies creations, although I have to make do (quite nicely, if I may say so) with things I create myself, because their prices are impossible!
COS Sleeveless Cardigan / Topshop Skirt / L.K. Bennett Lyra Top / Hobbs Lucy Boots / Marni Woven Leather Handbag / Monies Necklace / Best Bet Ikat Scarf / Oscar de la Renta Rose Ring / NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave / Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Dovima.

A chunky sweater in a classic pattern such as Fair Isle, Aran or Gansey, or something Nordic, like a Marius. These and other traditional patterns are no-nonsense pieces that were created to serve a purpose. Go ahead and keep tradition alive, these make for great investment pieces. Obviously, aim at the real thing or ask that special one who knits for you (my sister, in my case). If you have that person, you are fortunate indeed!
Chunky sweaters are perfect for Body type As, as they provide additional volume to the upper body. A bottom that skims the hips and then slowly flares out will keep the silhouette balanced.


Sweater by Caroline Grant. [Style: Urban Tweed].

Gray, navy and brown is a very elegant combination that can be accentuated by orange and reddish browns. The hat is a beautiful fedora that goes really well with the trench coat from Hobbs.
Max&Co is one of Max Mara's brands, sold exclusively at their boutiques. A recent acquaintance, who has spent some time in Italy, knew about it and draw my attention to it. Most of what they do is excellently cut and in really good materials. I like their approach to both casual and formal clothes.

Max&Co Basketweave Sweater / Max&Co Trousers / Hobbs Persephone Trench / Patricia Nash Granada Handbag / Max&Co Shoes / Linea Trilby Hat / Oscar de la Renta Knot and Tassel Earrings / Alejandra Ring / Tom Ford Lipstick in Deep Mink / Estée Lauder Nail Lacquer in Purple Velvet.

Chunky Sweater

Cable Sweater by Caroline Grant. [Style: Urban Tweed].

I have talked about trouser-skirts elsewhere in the blog, and although I am aware that they are not exactly popular nowadays, I will continue to do so, as I find them incredibly practical. Aren't they the perfect combination between a skirt and a pair of trousers? And don't they look nice with knee-high boots, giving a very long leg line? They are perfect for bicycling, also.
The yellow cable sweater and the orange hat are cheery additions to an Autumn wardrobe in earth tones, and so are the terracotta lips and nails.
Every season Hispanitas produces different versions of menswear shoes for women, and they do it splendidly. Their handbags are marvelous, if pricey, and both are the perfect addition to anything tweed.

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Antonin Knitted Vest / Band Of Outsiders Chunky Cable-Knit Sweater / Conleys Trouser-skirt / Hispanitas Handbag / Hispanitas Shoes / Kenzo Felt Jockey Cap / Dior Earrings (vintage) /nJoan Shepp Cable Knit Leather Gloves / Marni Brooch / Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Red Tango/ Revlon Nail Lacquer in Valentine.

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