But the thing is, they have to fit.
I know, I know, you're thinking: Lord, that woman went away for 2 weeks and now she's back - still spouting the same rhetoric - as fast as you can utter the words "proper measurements". What can I say? You don't read this blog for the novelty.
So, just to harp on things, when I say these garments have to fit, this is what I mean:
- The shoulder seam must lie over your own shoulder tip.
- The arms should be fitted, but not sausage-tight.
- The V (if there's a V) should fall at a point that works to visual advantage.
- The length - oh, this is a toughie - should fall at the slenderest point on your own lower torso. That's different for all of us but it means that, if you're short-waisted, you need a cardigan cut for a short-waist - not one cut for a long-waisted person that you buy in a smaller size than your usual.
- By this account, the closure placket must lie directly over the midpoint of your torso - not sliding or pulling - regardless of whether the cardigan is open or closed. That means you can't really cheat by buying a sweater for a wide and long person when really what you need is room in the boobs.
- The cardigan should skim your own torso closely but not tightly. Hint: If it's cut straight in the waist (aka, there's no indent where your own waist would be), move on.
I must have tried on 8000 slim cardigans in the last 2 weeks. 90 per cent of them did not flatter my small-shouldered, short-waisted, voluptuously-busted shape. Can't say it did much for my ego.
But I ended up with these, and I'm very pleased:
1. Ca Va De Soi black cardigan in viscose and Elite:
|Photographing dark neutral colours (especially black) is a total bitch! I did the best I could to give you a sense of the colour saturation in this shot...|
|Here I wanted to show the cool - extremely resilient - waffle textile. Of course, the arms on this dress-form are quite a bit wider than mine so they, unfortunately, distort the fit in the arm and shoulder. You have to trust me when I say it fits on my body.|
2. Theory Jilma Evian Cardigan in navy merino (with a bit of synthetic to promote fabric recovery):
|See how this skims the waist? And the V is low enough to draw the eye to one's assets without giving away too much...|
|My fave feature of this is the cool stripe (part of the knit, not an overlay) on the sleeves. It's just a bit exciting.|
- By the time you've tried on 8000 sweaters that don't fit, you're kind of compelled to lose your sticker-shock. It's either spend or walk and these things, well-fitted, don't grow on trees. Remember, they're not closet-garments. You will wear and cart a sweater of this variety all over the world. I'm always amazed when people balk at spending on pricey basics. By parallel example, I wear my jeans 3-5 times per week. I want them to wear well and to last long so I will spend as much on them as on the pair of dress pants I wear twice a month. I'd actually be happy to spend less on the dress pants - if only I could! (That's what making pants is for...)
- On this topic, Ca Va de Soi does not believe in discounting its (undoubtedly fine) product. A bit of info about the company: It was a wholesale operation till a few years ago. (Note to Anon from yesterday: I now remember that I used to buy the pieces from Ewanika on Bathurst just south of Dupont.) Occasionally, I'd find a mark down when a) a lone sweater remained (rare) or b) the style was discontinued but now that the family-run company markets and sells for itself (in addition to wholesaling product to other boutiques), it works with a very specific bias: The stuff is top of the line and it will sell. All items are continuity (with rare exceptions). Any chance of sale you have will be with a third-party seller.
- The fit of this brand is narrow in the shoulders and generally small in the bust. Relatively few of the styles work on me because they end up being too boxy in the waist and too snug in the boobs. Fit in the shoulders often disqualifies me for fit in the chest, but when it works (which is often enough), it's a good scene. There are MANY options to choose from but this brand caters to a slender frame most of the time. The sweater above is actually quite different than most others because the viscose knit is extremely giving (it does snap back). The Large in this style could fit a generous RTW size 14 well, I suspect. I bought the small and I have been known to wear a large in this brand, just to give some perspective.
- The fabrics are fucking awesome. Honestly, amongst the best I've ever felt. The company works with Italian and Egyptian mills. The designs are au courant, elegant and ageless.
- The price reflects the quality. You'll spend between $200 - $300, before tax, on one of these sweaters. Occasionally more. I choose to think of it like buying a suit jacket - but one that will get much more wear because it's bound to fit better (and be more comfortable and more resilient and more flexibly applied to numerous different styles of outfit).
- You'd think there would be one freakin' photo of either of these sweaters available on the freakin' internet. Apparently not. I realize that warhorse garments don't tend to bristle with excitement, but I've seen so many equally boring versions of the layering cardigan all over the place. I mean, Ca Va de Soi I can understand (sort of). They're all about not needing your business. But Theory?!
- The Theory sweater is currently available, on sale, at Holt Renfrew. Don't quote me but I think it was $200 including tax.
- It's particularly malleable because of the 3/4 sleeve and the almost-cropped length. It comes in a cotton as well as in a merino. I don't recommend the cotton. It stretches and it doesn't snap back. The cotton-version colours are also less saturated. While it doesn't look it, the navy of this sweater is very rich.
- I am only liking the Theory cardigan more, as I own and wear it. You know I'm all about the navy. Sure, sometimes black is right, but more often, a navy sweater does the trick. The merino is not thick - so it can be worn over most summer dresses - but it will nicely segue through all seasons.
Which do you prefer?