Sunday, December 9, 2012

100 Days of Sweaters

100 Days of Sweaters.

So, I guess that would imply that I actually own 100 sweaters.  Ummm...yeah.  And, if you're being honest, you might come close to that number as well.  You see, sweaters aren't like the rest of their apparel brethren.  They don't seem to come and go out of style with every Taylor Swift boyfriend.  While that Gap turtleneck doesn't inspire anyone to stop you on the street and ask where you got it, it certainly won't invoke the ridicule of your co-workers like a pair of crocs or mom jeans would (I take that back...I've heard that mom jeans are now cool long as you're not actually of that age bracket).

At least that's what I thought.  How could a chunky knit sweater with a big cowl neck possibly go out of style?  And, while I'm at it, how could three identical (except in color, of course) chunky knit sweaters with big cowl necks ever be anything other than stylish and cozy? Multiples are a big reason why I need to do some serious sweater soul searching this winter.  Back in the Limited/Express heyday, who out there wasn't guilty of waiting until that seasonal favorite was marked down to $29.99, and then purchasing it in three different colors?  If the Gap is going to make that cardigan in twelve colors, who am I to stop at just one? Or two?

If my math is correct, and, for the sake of argument, I add three new sweaters to my collection each year (a very reasonable number, I might add), that make a sum total of 66 sweaters since 1990.  And, since I usually get a nice sweater for Christmas and my birthday as well (I buy acrylic...but my parents buy cashmere!), that number can easily surpass one hundred with very little effort on my part.  Am I a sweater hoarder, or is it just difficult for me to say goodbye to a friend who has committed no crime and stands by me during winter's coldest days?  Okay, maybe I am a bit of a sweater hoarder.

Part of the reason that some of my sweaters have been given a hall pass for the past couple of years (decades) is that I teach figure skating for a living, and spend most of my time in a cold ice rink.  I wear sweaters pretty much everyday, so, perhaps, that justifies my extensive sweater collection.  People who work in offices have over one hundred suits, right?

Although I do wear sweaters practically every day, most of them are not visible to the public as I also wear a big heavy coat for most of the day.  In the rare minutes that I am changing out of my rink coat, people might catch a glimpse of my old school Abercrombie turtleneck (back when they used to make clothes above a size zero), but that's usually just for a fleeting moment, and certainly nobody has time to register much about the stylishness (or lack thereof) of my sweater. That said, many of my sweaters are merely mediocre, and get worn simply because they're there.  They neither excite me nor annoy me.  They just are.  The woolen or angora equivalent of most of 90s pop groups.

It only dawned on me of late that, yes Virginia, sweaters do have styles, and maybe just maybe, a wool turtleneck isn't forever. One has only to go into Forever 21, H&M, or Charlotte Russe to realize that most of my American Eagle zip-up cardigans (from the era when they were the official clothiers to Dawson's Creek) would never be sold at that store today.  Just because something is classic, does not mean it is stylish.  If a high schooler has to ask you what chenille is, you might as well just resign yourself to shopping at Coldwater Creek (shudder) for the rest of your life.

It's time to put my sweaters to the task.  A different one every day.  And if it irritates me in any way during the day, or if I make excuses for it (like, "Oh, it'll fit better when higher waist pants come back," or "It'll make a great sweater for when I go sledding."), it'll be donated to a women's shelter (not that I want them to get irritated, but sweaters fit everyone a bit differently). This won't stop me from buying new sweaters (I just got an adorable one from Anthropologie today), but it will curb some of the guilt I feel when I look in my closet and see the sad faces of the forgotten sweaters.

And maybe giving some of these hard-working sweaters a bit of the limelight (albeit small) will ease the pain I'll feel when I have to put them down.  My first sweater debuts tomorrow...and I don't think he's come out of the closet (sweater-wise) in this decade.

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