Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 32 -- Brother of a Lesser Sweater

Since I've been wearing this style for going on three days now, there's very little left to be said about it.  So I will take this opportunity to discuss a few things that I've learned over the course of this little sweater experiment.  Not that I set out to learn anything, mind you, but I guess if you wear acrylic-blend sweaters for thirty days, you are bound to gain just a little bit of wisdom.

I will say that I am now slightly more discerning when it comes to my in-store sweater purchases.  Instead of just grabbing a sweater in medium and just hoping it fits, I now look at things like pilling, annoying sleeves, and trendy necklines.  Before Thanksgiving, I had my eye on a sweater from Madewell that promised to be "The one you always wear. Slouchy and  over sized--just the way you like it." My thoughts were immediately sent to that happy place in the lodge...hot chocolate with marshmallows sold separately. Sweaters like that promise lazy afternoons and crossword puzzles that have just the right amount of challenge (with no questions about rivers, of course).  They don't portend a hectic day at work, followed by frazzled errands and de-icing one's windshield. And this used to suck me in, time after time.

As I looked at myself in this over sized (and 40% off now) v-neck, I realized that, though a bit more on trend, it truly was no better than any of the sweaters that I was so painstakingly evaluating now.  Sure, it was from this decade, but, in a few years time, I'm positive that those dropped shoulders will look just as dated as some of my funnel necks or boucle cardigans.  And that cute cardigan with the whimsical pattern on the front of it?  Pilling.  If there are still blogs around in five years, I am betting that these on-trend and on-sale cuties would be the subject of my scrutiny in my newest cyber epic: "500 Days of Sweaters--or Global Warming? What Global Warming?" I left the store adding no new sweaters to my collection.  A victory.

As for this sweater, like his brothers, he is soft, warm, comfortable...and a big snooze. Also, and I don't think this was true of his brothers, but the neck was kind of itchy (or was I just looking for a reason to get rid of this one?). I kept him in lilac, tossed him in navy, and, not one to break up a family unit, I'm going to release this sweater from active duty as well. Black turtlenecks are a dime a dozen (oh please...don't ever let me find a sweater sale that promises twelve black turtlenecks for a dime), and there's not much reason to keep this one in the starting rotation.


My rating: William Hurt.  I know, I know...he was great in _______ (insert your favorite William Hurt performance here), but, honestly, the guy has never done much for me.  I'm pretty much a film encyclopedia (if you haven't noticed) and even I cannot name more than a few of his films. He's talented, and, as I've already indicated, a fairly good fit, but I felt no joy in wearing this, just as I feel no joy in watching him onscreen.  (Sure, Children of a Lesser God was good...but isn't that because of Marlee Matlin, not William Hurt?) Maybe I would have liked this sweater more had I not been wearing the same one for three days straight...but, since I'm struggling to think of much to say about this turtleneck (see days 31 and 30 for more detailed information), I think it's best we sever our relationship.  
It might have protected me against The Big Chill outside, but I am looking for more from my sweaters, and so should you.

Day 31 -- The Navy Blue Turtleneck That Couldn't

So, Mr. Multiple, we meet again...only this time you've brought a matching scarf with you.  I suppose you think that the added accessory will somehow endear you to me, rendering me unable to send you on to the charity resale shop. Time will tell, my good friend.  Time will tell... (if you imagined those last two sentences in Mr. Rourke from Fantasy Island's voice, I've done something right).

Isn't wearing a scarf with a turtleneck a bit redundant?

Despite this photo, the color of this sweater
is actually more like a navy mixed with black and
white yarn.  In case you care...

As my Mom might say, this sweater was neither here nor there.  It was warm and easy to put on (once I figured out which way I wanted to tie the scarf, that is), but did very little beyond what was expected of it.  I know that I've let it stick around for so many years because it has a matching scarf...but, to be honest, the scarf was kind of annoying as it kept rolling in on the sides.  Also, the very fact that one would wear a scarf with a turtleneck is an admission that this neck doesn't stay upright and therefore requires additional assistance.  As I hustled around an outdoor mall while the bitter January air whipped across my face, I found myself wishing that I was wearing something that would protect me from this winter chill...like, I don't know...a turtleneck and a scarf.  Neither performed like they should and I will not shed any tears over losing an underachieving navy turtleneck...even if it did provide its own accessories.

My rating: Mark McGrath.  At one point, I was a big fan of his--mostly because he stuck to what he was good at...being a charismatic lead singer of a late 90s SoCal music group.  But then he had to confuse things by adding a scarf and co-hosting Extra.  Is he a singer?  An entertainment reporter?  A Celebrity Apprentice?  By diluting what he was meant for and trying for too much,  he ends up pleasing nobody.  Much like this sweater would have been a lot better had it just tried to be the best turtleneck it could be instead of trying to be something that it is not.  Sugar Ray went from being a Top 40 radio mainstay to being a "Do You Remember" question at bars on Trivia Night. I guess it's time for this sweater to "Fly" as I'm sure even it knows "When it's Over."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 30 -- The Aye (brows) Have It!

I must admit that I've been avoiding this sweater (and his two brothers) for some time now.  Even though I seem to don each of them with great regularity (perhaps because they are on a low shelf and take very little effort to wear), I was not excited to take on this task.  Why?  Boredom, I guess.  Because if it's warm and fits nicely, why shouldn't I keep something around? Do we have to be excited by every item of clothing in our wardrobe...if so, why do they even make brown "slacks?" I wear sweaters practically year-round, so isn't it somewhat necessary to have a few sweaters that just are?  They don't all have to get compliments, do they?

(This might go without saying, but...): From the Limited, circa 2001.

Nice color...maybe I should buy 2 more, but in far less interesting hues.

After going an entire two days without hearing, "I like your sweater," (and that compliment was on the sweater that I wore after giving the heave-ho to that periwinkle turtleneck), I actually heard those words twice today. I would have said that the first one didn't count because it was from a young girl who probably just liked seeing something purple and slightly fuzzy, but, since she has never gone out of her way to take notice of my clothing before, I'm going to mark this hanging chad as a vote for this sweater.  

Since the fiber content of this sweater is 70% lambswool and 20% angora, there was a level of softness to this turtleneck that reminded me of why I seem to wear it a few times a year.  It had some bulk to it, but not overly so, and was long enough to prevent that oh-so-lovely breeze on my lower back that too many of my sweaters seem to foster.  But besides all of that, it is a pretty color.  Sure, the neck splayed open a bit too much (not quite like a court jester, but still slightly annoying), but the positives here outweighed the negatives.  Whether I'll be able to say the same about his less attractive siblings remains to be seen (worn).

My rating: Peter Gallagher.  You can hardly watch a show on the CW or a direct-to-video sequel to a popular theatrical movie without seeing him, yet his performances never disappoint. Sure his eyebrows are bushy and the neck of this sweater is a bit too stretched out, but nobody plays an overbearing and upscale father like Mr. Gallagher. He might not get nominated for an Oscar or Golden Globe anytime soon, but there will always be a place for the lilac lambswool turtleneck actors of the world...especially if the movie is about ballet. Now if only we could do something about those brows...

Day 29--Why, 2K?

It's the first day this winter where the words "brutal," "windchill" and "bone-chilling" have actually been uttered on the weather forecast (or was that the review for the newest installment in the Saw saga?  I can't keep those straight). I've been saving this particular sweater for just such a day, as I know that it is warm (bordering on "stifling") and is a selection that is not without its issues.

The tag says that it is from "Holiday '00," so I'm guessing that the Gap was celebrating the fact that the Y2K virus didn't take multi-colored sweaters away from us. If I told you that I didn't buy this one in black, lavender, AND raspberry (which also had a matching hat and scarf...made out of such chunky, thick yarn that they take up most of the hats and/or scarves drawer), would you even believe me? Didn't think so.

Can't you just see this sweater in those festive "Gap Holidays" ad?  Nothing says "holidays" like random color combos accompanied by even more random stripe widths.

Chunky peanut butter?  No thank you.  Chunky sweater?  More please!
The first obstacle for this turtleneck was the highly dangerous, "Taking-out-of-the recycling-bin-without-wearing-a-coat" challenge...which it passed, I'm proud to say, with flying (multi) colors. For those of you at home, I do not advise performing this stunt in such frigid conditions, but it does separate the hand-knits from the "other fibers."

Cold weather is the great equalizer, and, no matter what your profession may be, below zero temperatures give everyone a bit of a hall pass from fashion.  Still, I found these lively (if not random) colors here to be just cheerful enough--without being too cloying, and, best of all, the neck knew its place--and stayed there. The length was good, and didn't roll up as I had feared...so I'm not exactly sure why this sweater is always on death watch, but, perhaps, it is due to the vast amount of space that it takes up on the shelf.  Maybe I wouldn't feel so positive about this Y2K creation had the windchill not been in the negative numbers today, but, as it stands, this is the chunky sweater that could.

My rating:  Wallace Shawn. While you might not wish to see him in a starring role, (My Dinner with Andre, anyone?), his presence as a supporting player is always a welcome addition to any movie.  Similarly, I might not want to wear this (nearly antique) Gap sweater in my Facebook profile picture, but that shouldn't diminish its talent in other ways.  It's colorful, cozy, and is the best thing about a movie that's already pretty near perfection, The Princess Bride. You don't go looking for Wallace Shawn, but, when you find him, it's always a pleasure.  Get rid of this sweater?  Inconceivable!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 28-- Pass the Paas Please

When I was wearing his purple twin yesterday, I had, in the back of my mind, the notion that this sweater would be safe.  Even though it is the exact same sweater as that purple one from yesterday, (and therefore has all of its failings), darn it...I just love this color.  Even though I had the 64 box of Crayolas, I'm still not quite sure what to call this lovely, almost iridescent hue.  Periwinkle?  Paas lilac?  Where's my J.Crew color wheel when I need it?  And, honestly, I don't have any other sweater in this color.

But here's the rub: I made that rule about any sweater that you keep having to be worn all day...and I kind of didn't want to wear this one tonight (I have a skating competition and they've never seen me in "normal" clothes).  So, if this sweater goes above and beyond my expectations today, I would be obligated to wear it later in the day.  As my Magic 8-Ball might say: "Outlook Not So Good."

I think you all know this sweater by now...

I really love this yarn...so pretty and not your typical color combinations.,.unless, of course, you're dyeing Easter eggs.
As much as it pains me, this sweater really fit no better than either its cousin or its fraternal twin from yesterday.  And when I grab it (maybe once a year) to wear it, I always forget that it's not the cozy cocoon that I had hoped it to be. Perhaps I can track down yarn like this and find someone to fashion me a turtleneck that actually has a pattern on it over the entire sweater and a neck that retains its shape.  It's a beautiful, unique color, but, to be fair to its eliminated kin, this sweater really isn't a standout.  Too bad...but, on the bright side, I get to wear a new sweater from Anthropologie tonight.

My rating: Eddie Cibrian.  While he is good looking, to be sure, I feel that he has been coasting on those good looks for far too long.  If anyone out there can name anything that he's done (besides cheat on his wife with LeAnn Rimes) in the past decade that was noteworthy, you can have this sweater.  I tend to cut him some slack because of his piercing stare, square jawline, and multi-colored pastel yarn...but is he worth it?  As Janet might say, "I know you used to do nice things for me, but what have you done for me late-ly?" 

Day 27--I'm Not in a New York (and Company) State of Mind

Even though most of us have probably not actually sat through an entire episode of The Patty Duke Show, I'm sure that a lot of people can still at least quote part of the theme song..."They're cousins.  Identical cousins."  Preposterous?  Hey, in the land of Mr. Ed and The Flying Nun, anything is possible.  I know that I was due to take on the fraternal twin of yesterday's orange offering, but, as it is a lovely green color (and has a matching hat and gloves set to go with it), I thought I'd table that sweater until closer to St. Patrick's Day.  So, if you'll permit me, I'm moving on to little Patty Duke here.  The differences are minute...in fact, when I purchased (all four) these sweaters, I believe that I thought that they were all alike.  They have the same mysterious 3% "other fibers" and, upon checking the tags, they all have the same style number.  The main difference is, apparently, the design on the front on this has a wider cable, but no alternating patterns.  Fascinating, no?

I think this sweater photographs well.  I might even purchase this if I saw it on Boden or Anthropologie.  Don't let me do that.

The camera adds 10 pounds...even to a wire dress form.

Although it is nowhere near the levels of my orange sweater addiction, I do have a bit of an affinity for the purple turtleneck sweater--if for other reason than I like to go to Northwestern basketball games in the winter with my Dad.  Not that he'd wonder why I always wear the same purple sweater, but I do like to have a bit of variety.  And isn't purple quite regal?  In fact, I considered to another turtleneck face-off: the purple edition, but, since almost every one was part of a multiple, the logistics proved to be just too difficult.

As for this sweater, well, it's fine.  It's long enough, soft (probably due to the fiber which shall not be named), and is an easy choice for a Saturday.  Had I not been doing a sweater experiment, I might have gone through the entire day wearing this and been completely content.  Now, of course, I'm nit-picking, "These wide cables on the front are simply not flattering," "The neck sticks out a little bit," and "How come there are no cables on the sleeves or the back?"  Hardly reason enough to send this one packing, but, in these tough times for my sweaters, those braids on the front might just prove to be the death knell for a purple turtleneck (they are braided in such a way that you can put your finger through them on both sides--I think they are stitched onto the sweater).  And the neck has almost an Elizabethan quality to it when it stretches out. I'll give it the rest of the day to "wow" me, and then it'll face the judges once again.

Since I have just a few more purple turtleneck sweaters, I think I'll let this one move on to a new recipient.  But I will say this: it (and its orange cousin from yesterday) are machine washable.  That's kind of a big deal.  It didn't even say, "Hand wash"...and, would you believe, it is "Tumble dry low?"  Very impressive...perhaps I sold those synthetic fibers short.  Still, in the interest of keeping family together, I'll let the cousins stay together, nice and clean, and onto somebody else's shelf.
My rating: Breckin Meyer.  While his body of work has presumably grown over the years (and his status in the hipster community as well...see: Robot Chicken), and he is a solid performer, he hasn't exactly been memorable in anything since his breakout role in Clueless.  In fact, if somebody broke into my house and took this sweater (odd thieves, to be sure), I probably would not even notice that it was gone.  Much like his basic cable legal comedy Franklin and Bash (or is that still on...does anybody know or care?).  I love a warm sweater as much as I love a charming naif in a classic high school comedy, but there just isn't enough substance here to give this one my vote. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 26--On Second Thought, Maybe I Won't be There for You...

Elvis had his deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Hitchcock had his icy blonds, and Scooby had his Scooby Snacks As for me, my personal kryptonite has long been the orange sweater. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that if a store offers a style in orange, nine times out of ten, I will purchase it (and that ninth time is probably because it's a deep v-neck.  Not my favorite).

Which brings us to today's selection.  Another favorite from the mid-2000s, but this time it's from a new store to the mix...and not one you'll see too often in my closet--New York & Co.  You know them...rayon pants, "silk" floral camis, and, oh, yes, (at least partially) acrylic sweaters.  And I think it goes without saying that this little doozy has a twin in green, and identical twin cousins in purple and periwinkle.

Oh, the intricate pseudo-fisherman knit stitching.

Don't you just love when a pattern is only on the front of the sweater?

One of the reasons people hang onto things from their closets, even after they've "gone out of style" (although I still maintain that a good turtleneck never really goes out of favor) is because they don't want to have to buy it again when it inevitably does come back. I'm sure there are some late 80s/early 90s metal heads out there that are so happy they don't have to re-buy those high-waisted acid wash jeans.  Of course, most of us (especially those that read Lucky magazine) know that when styles come back, they are somehow different this time (much like people who are brought back from the dead in all of those psychological thrillers that I avoid). I've seen the Sperry Top-Siders that the kids these days are wearing, and they bear only a passing resemblance to my beloved kicks from back in the day.

All of this is to say that, unlike trendy washes of jeans or novelty footwear, orange sweaters will always hold an appeal for me.  Therefore, no matter how many of them live in my closet (more like an orange sweater commune, if I'm being honest), I will probably still acquire a new one whenever the opportunity arises (two so far this year...and it's only January).  Which is why there is really no need to keep this one around...it's a little bit too short, the neck does not maintain its strict turtle shape, and the fiber content contains acrylic and 3% other fibers (and I'm guessing those ain't cashmere). It's not horrible, but even if I join a cult in which we are required to wear orange sweaters for a month (what a wonderful cult that would be...maybe I'll start it), I'm still in no danger of running out, even if I do pass on this acrylic/polyester/wool/other wonder from the mall.

My rating: Matthew Perry.  While he would appear to have everything that I so enjoy (wit, self-deprecation, a lovely orange color), there just seems to be something missing (even with those 3% other fibers).  Even though I applaud similar television actors like Nathan Fillion and John Krasinski for their TV personas, the-man-who-will-forever-be-Ross-on-Friends to me just can't catch a break from me.  Jason Bateman can (and should) play the same character forever, but, Heaven forbid Matthew Perry play someone anything like Ross.  And what's with the fisherman knit design being only on the front of the sweater?  Could that be anymore annoying (trust me, I don't even like referencing Matthew Perry, even in a quote).  This sweater was fine, but ultimately unmemorable, much like most of Mr. Perry's career (I'll give him a special dispensation, however, for his appearance on the early days of Beverly Hills, 90210).  I could Go On, but that would mean that I'd actually watched that show...and I have most decidedly not done so.  Nineteen sweaters have fallen so far, which, coincidentally is the number of failed sitcoms Matthew Perry has had since Friends went off the air (okay, I'll stop now...I promise).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 25--Return of Chenille: Lilac Attack

Whose idea was it to treat these multiples like individuals?  If I didn't like it in light blue, what possible reason could I have for liking it in lilac?  Who am I...Sam I am?  I do not like it in light blue...I do not like it at the zoo.  Right, where was I?  Oh yes, day two of my adventures through chenille.  The lilac edition...which, at first glance, I must admit is a very fetching color.  Too pretty to get rid of? We'll find out...

You're darn right this is soft!
When I put this sweater on, I noticed that instead of saying "Gap Stretch" like his light-blue brother, this one said "Gap Body."  At first I chalked this up to the odd tags one finds at the outlet stores (it's quite possible that I found this one after Holiday '05, and was delighted to get a companion for my beloved light-blue chenille cowlneck), but then I noticed that the styling was just a bit different.  In a good way.  The neck was definitely a turtleneck (no more fussing with the collar) and the bottom had a real hem.  I'm not sure why Gap Body would focus more on the details than its Stretch brethren (isn't Gap Body a fitness/sleepwear offshoot?), but I applaud their efforts here.  And as for the many excuses that I would have made for the light-blue version?  All valid here.  This color truly did bring cheer to my (ever-so early) morning and I felt warm and cozy all day.  Best of all, never once did I reach down to tug at the hem, nor did I fuss with the neckline.  Dare I say it...this chenille sweater was like wearing a hug all day.  Nope...I shouldn't have said that...no matter how true that statement is.  A definite keeper...and maybe I'll even wear it on some rainy spring morning (once these 100 days are over, of course).

My rating: Josh Lucas.  While often cited as a "poor man's Matthew McConaughey", I find Josh Lucas to be the far more versatile and likable actor.  While they both played a hero from a Grisham novel (Lucas played in the TV version of The Firm), only one of them was able to play a younger version of Paul Newman and keep me warm and free of irritation all day long. Some day the world will finally warm up to the charms of both Josh Lucas and chenille (hey, that sounds like the name of a wonderful duo), but, until that day, perhaps we should heed the motto of Mr. McConaughey and JKL...Just Keep Livin' (apostrophe intended).

Day 24--The Captain of Chenille

There's a popular T-shirt that I see at most skating rinks that goes, something to the effect of: "Skater's Excuses" and lists things like "I landed it yesterday," and "The ice is too choppy."  So I am going to come up with my own "Sweater's Excuses" shirt before I even put this one on.  "It's really soft." "The color is so cheery...it'll brighten up a cold January morning." "I can wear it into spring."  "Chenille..." (nope, even I couldn't really make a case for chenille).  And, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have three of these synthetic wonders...all soft...all pastel...all 97% nylon...and all taking up a lot of room in the ole armoire.  They hail from the Gap, and, according to the tag, are from their Holiday '05 collection (finally, something that was around after Justin Bieber was born).  In fact, I recall that I gave a few of these as gifts...I wonder if this sweater is causing any of them ennui.
This is actually not the best representation of the color here...if it were, I would have had no problems deciding whether or not to keep it.  The true color is more Crayola sky blue.

Have fun trying to figure out what to do with that neck.  Is it a cowl? Is it a turtleneck?

After wearing this puppy all day (and receiving one compliment...albeit from a 9 year old who probably just liked it because it looked "fuzzy"), I can only come up with the overused and irritating word that I vowed (well, not officially of course) never to use here...meh.  Now that I've written it, I am even more against the word, but it does seem to apply here.  The sweater was soft, warm and would be nice in the spring when one doesn't want to put on something drab and woolen.  But there was no joy in Mudville with this one.  The hem on the bottom was reminiscent of the old school J.Crew rollneck, but it neither stayed rolled nor did it lie flat.  Also, the sleeves were long and kind of bell-shaped...which I could have overlooked had everything else gone smoothly.  It's not a crime against humanity, but it did not do enough to keep me interested.  And besides, he's got 2 more siblings for me to put through the paces.  Love those multiples!

My rating: Matthew McConaughey.  Sure, there was a time when I had a big crush on him (see: A Time to Kill.  His head used to be full of hair--not himself), but those days have gone the way of his beach-front trailer.  I can make excuses for him all I want (and, yes, he was pretty funny in Magic Mike), but the combination of his bizarre bongo-playing incident and the one-two punch of the perplexing neckline with the non-committal hemline makes this one more trouble than it is worth.  Matthew McConaughey may not wear many shirts, and, in his honor,  I will definitely not be wearing this "shirt" again either.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 23--Who Put the "Fun" in Funnel Neck?

I blame Club Monaco and its sleek, utilitarian styling for this sweater.  Even before Monica Lewinsky made their lip gloss famous (from her interview with Barbara Walters, that is), Club Monaco had a European allure and was one of the few upscale mall stores that featured a men's section as well.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case maybe), whenever I would go in the men's section, I would immediately get asked if I needed any help, thereby stopping at the get-go any attempts to buy men's sweaters for myself.

Back in the day, their clothing was mostly black, gray (Club Monaco is from Canada, so would that actually be "grey"?) and khaki and a patterned print was as forbidden as Tonya Harding is at a skating competition.  While some of their outfits vaguely resembled the cast of Sprockets, I always admired their simplicity and wished I could emulate their apparent ease in dressing (or at least sport their pants, which always featured unflattering pockets).  So although this oh-so-funnel neck hails from the Limited, I am guessing that I bought it as an homage to that attractive club in Monaco. Or maybe it was just on sale...

I'm relieved to see that it even sticks out strangely on the mannequin.  I thought it was just me.

While my first instinct would be to say that, while it's not perfect, it's warm and it's the only gray turtleneck that I have, so I'm going to keep it.  That would have been my comment, had I attempted to justify this sweater's existence on my shelves before this little sweater exposé began.  But I am a new person now (or at least I've had to deal with some really mediocre sweaters over the past 23 days and have a new appreciation for sweaters that actually look good and fit well), and am holding my knitwear to a higher standard.

Simply put: this is not a gray turtleneck--it's a gray funnel neck, and there's a difference. While it is the only representative of the gray "turtleneck" community in my possession, I'm pretty sure that I can live under those harsh living conditions. Besides, I cannot think of an occasion is which it will be absolutely imperative that I wear a gray sweater, let alone a turtleneck, to complete my outfit.  If that situation arises, I will rue the day that I ever let this guy go, but I don't see that happening any time soon. And, to save me the doldrums which will inevitably occur tomorrow, I am passing on this sweater in the black version as well (no need to picture it...it's the exact same thing, but in black.  And I think we all have enough black "turtlenecks").

So when funnel necks become the next Cabbage Patch dolls or Uggs, you are all free to mock me.  Come to think of it, is there really a difference between a funnel neck and a mock turtleneck?

My rating: (and I know that most people will disagree with me on this) Ryan Reynolds.  He's "good looking", Canadian, and some would say has some talent (mostly in his abdominal region).  I, however, have no use for him and fail to see his appeal. While this is a well-made sweater, his personality is a little too smug for my liking, and the neckline  sticks out in an odd way.  I could live without seeing him in another movie, and I will take my chances that I can survive the next 76(!) sweater-testing days without a representative of the gray community in my closet.

For those of you keeping score at home, this gray sweater and his twin in black bring the body count up to sixteen.  Which, of course, would be far more impressive had I not purchased just a few sweaters during all of the January sales...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 22--I See Funnel Necks

It's Monday.  A new week.  And the perfect time to take on some of those multiples which have been staging their own Occupy movement on my sweater shelves.  It's tough to decide where to begin with these multiples.  Do I judge them as a set, or take them on as individuals.  Or, since many (if not all) of them fall in various categories (black turtlenecks, purple turtlenecks, green turtlenecks...do you sense a pattern here), do I seed them all and host my own sweater round robin tournament?  Decisions, decisions...and so long until Payday.

I've concluded that I've been been avoiding a tiny subsection of my multiple turtleneck community for a while now: the dreaded funnel neck.  For too long, I've been making excuses for this neckline, "Oh, it's just like a turtleneck," "They're timeless," and, the absolutely egregious fallacy, "It's very 1960.  Jackie O wore them." It would be so easy to just dismiss all of my funnel necks out of hand, but I knew that I needed to at least give them their day in the "sun," (or fluorescent lights of the ice rink, as it were).

Do I even need to say that this particular family of funnel necks are all from the Limited, somewhere around early 2000?  Apparently, my thought process went like this: "Oh, this is cute.  I bet I will want to wear this exact sweater, but in different colors all winter long.  I'll take it in the fun stripes, and then the dreary grey and the depressing black."  So, to honor those new millennium wishes, I will try to wear all 3 members of this family this week.  Try, being the operative word here.

Don't worry...I removed that little feather before wearing.

I would say that the stripes made me feel somewhat sporty, but that would make me sound like a broken record...which, of course, is an outdated of a reference as is this funnel neck.  I can't claim that I felt a certain joie de vivre all day while snuggled up in this (slightly scratchy) wool contestant, but it was warm and did not cause me too many moments of annoyance.  High standards, huh?

I would have had a bit more shame in wearing this neckline had I not seen a sweater in Boden (my latest sweater dealer) that wore the moniker "funnel neck" with pride.  Are they coming back?  Did they ever leave?  I'm guessing that the answer to both questions is still "No," and that Boden can get away with more because they are British (and then, by definition, sartorially cool).

I'm going to keep this sweater around on a provisional basis.  Blame my affinity for the Peanuts series, but I do so enjoy some vertical stripes on my person.  But I draw the line at zigzags...

My rating: Haley Joel Osment. Although he most likely hit the pinnacle of his career in 1999, we keep him around because, well, it's still fun to quote "I see dead people," every once and again.  And while this neckline might be only slightly less stylish than using the phrase, "Pay it forward," it certainly is preferable to actually viewing said film.  The only reason this sweater isn't relegated to becoming one with the Secondhand Lions is because there is something innately likable about Haley Joel, and we all keep rooting for his comeback.  Not so much for the funnel neck, however...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 21--Gypsies, Cardigans and Ponchos

To say that I wore this particular cardigan to Cher's Farewell Concert tour probably isn't specific enough...since she had about five "final farewell" trips across the country. I'm not quite sure why I opted for a fitted lilac cardigan with tiny beaded "flowers" on it, but I'm sure I had my reasons (I'd like to forget the matching satin cropped pants I wore with it.  Maybe that's why Cher decided to tour again...to give us all a chance to redeem our outfits).

This sweater is from Express...yes, children, there was a time when that store made clothing that did not have to be worn in the clubs. You could even wear them to Cher concerts.

I chose to wear this particular sweater on a Sunday because I figured that pairing it with a high-waisted skirt would give it the ultimate chance for failure.  If you are too short when I'm wearing an uncool churchy outfit, what hope is there for you in my everyday life?  So imagine my surprise when this little bugger complimented my gray flannel skirt perfectly?  In fact, the fiber content showed not only silk, but cashmere as well...leading me to think that the designer of this sweater was subsequently fired in favor of the person who brought back the halter top to the next generation.  It was soft, relatively cozy, and, wonder of wonder, miracles miracles (it's okay to reference "Fiddler on the Roof" here, right?), actually pretty cute.  I was thinking that it's almost an all-season sweater and might even be introduced to some of my more difficult Anthropologie dresses.  Talk about reinvention (Cher would be so proud)!

But, even though this outfit was a success, I really didn't want to wear a high-waisted skirt and fitted (and beaded) sweater all day.  A victim of my own rule: If you like a sweater enough to keep it, thou (I put that in there because it's Sunday) must wear it all day (provided that you will be around other humans that day).  I called an emergency meeting of the session, and they gave me the power to amend that rule whenever I deemed necessary.  Of course, whichever sweater I choose to wear that day has to be approved by a 2/3 vote of the ad hoc committee.

So I revisited a sweater from Day 16 that I didn't really get the chance to wear because of its lack of normal sleeves and its drapey, poncho styling.  Today, however, that styling was perfect because I had a friend coming over to watch The Golden Globes and we couldn't very well be making fun of celebrities' outfits while wearing Express sweaters (no matter how cute) from the last millennium.  And despite not being able to raise my arms over my head in victory when Robert Downey, Jr. took the stage (swoon), I have to declare that Day 16 cutie a winner as well.  It made me look like one of those hip, effortless people I see sashaying around...and they never appear to be worried about how they'll carry a purse while wearing that poncho-like sweater.  Fortunately, my handlers carried my belongings for this awards show so I could waltz around at will.  One day..two winners.

My ratings (for both sweaters): Cher.  No matter how, ahem, old she gets, she always finds a way to be in style...even in a cardigan.  And, in the case of the Ann Taylor Loft sweater from last year, she can still wear the latest trends without looking ridiculous...all without much mobility in the arm area (but we can't blame excessive Botox for that, can we?).  Although I still lament not keeping most of my Cher doll's clothes intact (they didn't really fit Barbie's aesthetic), I will be keeping these sweaters--both timeless and trendy. 

Day 20--Apres Skate

Just when I thought I'd gone an entire week without a multiple...up surfaced this ying to Day 17's yang.  Now, it would be all too easy to declare this one a winner (albeit not a runaway victor)--but, in the interest of equality, I decided to take each sweater on his own merit (or lack thereof).  Also, I knew I wouldn't see too many people today, so nobody would call me on this inexplicable duplicate.

Somehow, the words "Donna Karan" and "Active" seem
mutually exclusive...

Since my original defense of this Donna Karan foray into the world of alpine skiing fashion involved the words, "sporty" and "appropriate for a skating coach," I knew that I needed to put those adjectives to the test.  I wore it to the ice rink to teach some lessons today, and, irritating zipper on the neck notwithstanding, I will say that my faint praise was well-earned.  The stripes down the sleeve made me feel like I should be helping Peggy Fleming (or some other 1970s skater) with her flying sit spin (instead of saying, "Oopsy daisy" when my young student kept falling. And falling).  To its detriment, however, is that it also has a bit of a priest collar look to it ("The Skiing Priest"...coming soon to NBC primetime).  Also, it's a little too fitted for Saturday lounging, which is why, as soon as I can guarantee that I won't see any actual human beings (the Fed Ex guy just came, but I don't expect any more deliveries), back it goes into the sweater sardine shelf in favor of an oversized sweatshirt.  Hey, even style can take a Saturday night off.My rating: Bjorn Borg (yes, my first from the world of sports.  You try finding B-D-list actors for every sweater in your collection--It's not so easy).  This little fella is sporty, good looking in that 70s way, and does a solid job...even on the seniors' tennis circuit.  It can't hold its own against the likes of a Dale of Norway ski sweater or a Roger Federer, but it does what is asked of it and still has a mean head of a hair.  Ja! 

Day 19--Papa Don't Preach

As if wearing sweaters from the last millennium weren't tough enough, I instituted a "rule" (it's in quotes because it is subject to leniency should circumstances deem it necessary) for this Great Sweater Experiment.  The royal proclamation is this: If the sweater is good enough to keep, it's good enough to wear for the entire day.  Or, no fair taking it off when "cooler" people are around.

In the spirit of this law, I knew that today's sweater could not be simply "fine."  It needed to be offensive, atrocious, and any other adjective I could find had I bothered to keep my old Roget's from college.  If it was merely, "fine," I might have to wear it tonight, and, since I have a skating event this evening, that just isn't in the cards.

It had to be an obvious reject. For these reasons, I picked my sweater fall guy. I present to you, Exhibit A: The Priest-Collar line from the Gap.

Father, forgive me for I am wearing your sweater.

What in Heaven's name...

Of course, the fact that I actually have kept this sweater begs the question--Did I not notice this collar when I purchased this turtleneck at the Gap around the Y2K?  Was I going to a costume party in the near future?  All I can say is that I was blinded by the ski stripes on the sleeves.  Again, if I had an Achilles heel in the early part of this century it was those pesky lines.  Call it a Sun Valley fetish, call it Picabo Street envy, call it what you will, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a recurring theme in my closet. And, due to the fact that pretty much only the necks of my sweaters show through my coat for most of the day, this particular sweater is a bit of a problem.

Nobody made any confessions to me today (too bad...I am in need of some new gossip), but it doesn't change the fact that I felt like I should be reading a sermon instead of teaching salchows all day.  Perhaps if this were in a different color (oh please, oh please, don't let me unearth this in another hue), it wouldn't look so much like what a priest would wear if his parish were in Lake Tahoe.

My rating: Stephen Collins. While he is a good-looking and talented actor (mostly on television, but there's no shame in that), no matter what roles he takes on, he will forever be Reverend Camden from 7th Heaven to me. This sweater has a nice fit, kept me very warm (despite being, once again, 100% cotton...where are these designers skiing?), but cannot escape its ecclesiastical roots.  Like a sweater in a classic style, Stephen Collins has aged well, making the transition from (made-for-TV) leading man to attractive father of the leading man quite nicely.  Unfortunately, it's not so easy to shake that collar.  Off it goes into the collection plate.

Side note: Since I so handily passed on this sweater, I was able to wear one of my new acquisitions tonight...and heard those four little words that I have so missed, "I love your sweater." Heaven!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 18--The 1%

The astute reader might notice that although the days for these entries are numbered (much like the lives of some of these sweaters), they don't necessarily always get posted in order.  As much as I try to preserve the integrity of this noble experiment, I am not Amy Adams and cannot always find the energy to sit down at the computer every night and pontificate about knitwear.  And, let's face it...some sweaters just do not inspire prose.  Take "today's" sweater (I'm going to pretend that I'm writing in real-time here...just go with it).  I have some sort of affinity for this sweater that I can't really explain.  All it takes is just one good memory in a particular sweater and then it gets permanent residence (if not bi-annual wearing) in my closet.  I recall that I wore this on my last day of student teaching and then went with my Dad to a (post-Michael Jordan) Bulls game.  While that may not sound like the stuff that dreams are made of, I always enjoy going to games with my Dad...even more so when I'm debuting a new sweater that I recalled keeping me warm and cozy in the always chilly United Center. But the mind can play tricks on a girl, so it's about time this late 90s Express sweater was submitted to the rigors of the judging panel to see if it has really earned a place, not just in my nostalgia, but also in my closet.

Do you know that odd-feeling "fabric" that the tops of Christmas stockings from stores like CVS and Walgreen's are made from? It's kind of like felt, but stiff and synthetic feeling, and definitely not soft to the touch.  That's a bit like the feel of this sweater.  Although it fit fairly well, the yarn barely stretched when I pulled it over my head, and when you tug on the sleeves or the rest of the sweater, nothing moved. It probably feels a lot like those garments they make out of "unconventional materials" on Project Runway...although I'm guessing that this is slightly more comfortable than that dress made out of bird seed. Perhaps that's what comprises the 1% "other fibers" on the tag.

I will say that it kept me quite warm during classes at the rink (almost too warm...must be that acrylic/polyester/cotton combo), but I certainly did not parade around the lobby without my coat on, in the hopes of receiving any glowing reviews for my apparel.  Despite some fond memories in this sweater (or were the memories fond despite this sweater?), I'm afraid this one must be passed to another recipient.

My rating: Carson Daly.  Although his late 90s dominance provided all of us with some great TRL moments (ladies and gentlemen: Mariah Carey's meltdown), he is coasting on our collective unconscious of him.  He is not particularly attractive (a tan v-neck...whoopee!), nor is this sweater's ability to provide warmth worth the nuisance of its utter lack of give.  Also, he lost too much weight over the years and now his boyish charm has given way to a sunken face but an inflated ego.  Dad, I had a great time wearing this sweater at that Bulls game...but I think it was the event and not this minor offering from Express that is the source of my nostalgia. "Dropping 20 places and coming in at number 13 on the countdown...the tan acrylic/polyester/cotton and mystery fiber v-neck."

Day 17-- DKN, why?

You know how people always think that teachers wear sweater with school buses on them (with an apple turtleneck, of course) or that musicians gravitate towards ties featuring the treble clef? Well, when I started coaching figure skating, I believe I was under some misconception that we were obligated to dress like Suzy Chapstick (if you don't get the reference, consider yourself fortunate).  Despite the fact that I teach at a park district rink, I thought that I needed to appear as though I'd just stepped off the ski lift and onto the ice.  If I could've located a white fur hat (a la Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago), you can bet that I would have worn it with this "DKNY Active" sweater (from, again, circa 2001).

I can't say that I wear this sweater a lot, or that I even recall the last time that I wore it.  I do know that it's 100% cotton (like all good ski sweaters should be?) and that the diagonal zipper at the neck used to befuddle me.

Can't you just see me on a chair lift with Goldie and Kurt?

To be honest, I came into today's challenge with low expectations.  In fact, I was kind of hoping that wearing this would be a miserable experience (if, for no other reason, than to make room for some of my more recent acquisitions). But, true to its name, this sporty little number ranks fairly high on the "active" scale.  I felt that it made me look "official" and more like a skating coach than some of the White Sox gear I've been known to sport during the season.  Sure, it's a little short, but not terribly so, and the stripes more than compensated for any irritants I felt with the neck zipper.

My rating: Cuba Gooding, Jr.  Good looking, sporty, and, while he may have peaked by the early 2000s (alas, Boat Trip may have been his Waterloo), he is undeniably talented and deserves a spot in the (albeit once-a-year) sweater rotation.  Perhaps we're not "showing him the money" like we used to, but nobody can make a sports movie like he can (that is, of course, as long as Kurt Russell and Denzel Washington are busy).  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 16--What Has Two Thumbs and Is Wearing a Sweater? I Don't Know...Because I Can't Move my Arms.

Since I am newly back from vacation, I want to make things easy on myself.  For this week only...no multiples.  I recall from some of my Childhood Psychology classes in college that children love to sort things.  I guess that's why those benches with the holes in the shapes of rectangles and circles still propagate basements everywhere.  As for myself, this sorting task proved to be too daunting...because, oy, those multiples.

As I had some time for contemplation over my lovely ten days in Florida, I came to a realization about the cause of my MSD (Multiple Sweater Disorder): mall clothiers.  Even though it was possible to purchase items online, I don't think I fully embraced it until I finally took that journey down the Amazon (dot com) and never looked back.  Those little impulse tables near the checkout counter did more to clog up the proverbial sweater pipes than any online flash sale could ever hope to do.

So to find an out-of-circulation sweater that did not have any siblings or cousins, twice removed (from the armoire), was not easy.  I opted for this purple knit from Ann Taylor Loft, which I find to be both lovely and trendy (at least it was last year..."Do sweaters come in and out of style that quickly", said the girl who still owns sweaters from Abercombie & Fitch before they only made Daisy Dukes and double-entendre Spring Break t-shirts).

While this color looks more "raisin," I assure you that this is more of the plum variety.

As soon as I put it on, I realized that there was a slight problem--the batwing sleeve and poncho styling made any kind of arm movement nearly impossible.  Unless one is emulating the Robot from Lost in Space (which, if that's you, bravo), this sweater should be reserved for a lazy weekend or on National Stop Talking With Your Hands Day (I'm sure it's listed on one of those calendars you get for free...I think it's right before Sweetest Day).

Knowing that there is no possible way that I could teach anyone skating while wearing this (I'm not even sure I could put on a coat over this sweater), I decided to call an audible.  As I have sweater blog integrity, I will wear this sweater (with pleasure...it looks comfortable), but cannot do so on a day in which I am doing anything other than Irish dancing (in which case, the lack of arm mobility would be desirable).  And, naturally, I couldn't possibly tackle another sweater because then the name of this blog would have to be "100 Days of 101 Sweaters."  So, I decided to take another look at a sweater that was thisclose to being eliminated--what Brooke Burke-Charvet and Tom Bergeron would call "The bottom two," or what any of the fine upstanding Americans on "Bachelor Pad" would refer to as "The hot seat."  I now take you all the way back to Day 8 and the sweater that was part of a Dylan McDermott/Dermot Mulroney tag team.

Poor unsuspecting sweater...

Originally, this sweater used its "Judges' Save" (are they going to do that on American Idol again this season?  It was kind of awkward when they all pretended to discuss saving someone who was clearly NOT going to be saved) based mostly on its lovely multi-colored yarn. It has 19% angora in its fiber content, so it is reasonably soft...but this is where the praise for Dylan/Dermot ends.  After continuously pulling this sweater down so as to avoid the bitter winter chill, I decided that it can no longer coast on its fading good looks.  I did not enjoy wearing this turtleneck again, and think that I will not suffer any separation anxiety if it were to disappear from my life forever.  And, besides, Dermot Mulroney was only on The New Girl for a few episodes anyway.  I think that both the show and this sweater have already jumped the proverbial shark.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 15--Always a Bridesmaid...

Every time I try to get away from this sweater, something keeps pulling me back in.  At this point, it's pretty well-established that I enjoy a good snowflake print, and when it's coupled with a stripe on the sleeve (albeit a horizontal one), well it's "Just Like Heaven." Which, coincidentally, is the name of the 2005 rom com with Reese Witherspoon (or is that redundant?) that I saw this sweater in...some 6 years after I bought it. So there must be something stylish about this sweater that has "Gap Holiday 1999" on its tag...because I don't think that the character wearing it in the movie was playing a crazy cat lady or anything. Any sweater that's good enough to be worn in a movie just can't be left on the editing floor.

In case you're wondering, the color is more kelly green than it appears here.

Okay, fine.  You can stay around a little bit longer...and not just because you're a big Hollywood star or anything. This kelly green wonder fits quite nicely and has a professional (when you work in the winter sports field, that is.  I don't think it would fare so well in an accounting firm) look to it.  It is soft, kept me warm, and was just long enough.  Not a glowing review (much like the film it is featured in), but enough that I might make a repeat viewing of it in the near future.

My rating: Bill Pullman.  Yes, the eternal second fiddle.  The guy that doesn't get the girl in pretty much every 90s romantic comedy (see Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, etc....except for Mr. Wrong--an underrated gem--which features Ellen DeGeneres, so draw your own conclusions there).  It's nice looking, gets the job done, yet never gets the credit it deserves.  And although Mr. Pullman is playing the President in a new sitcom on NBC this winter, I'm sure that he will somehow find a way to be the second banana in that show as well.  Too bad, this is a cute little sweater...but I'll probably still wear its shorter, itchier brethren instead of him. At least he got the girl this time. Temporarily, that is.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 14--Up the Creek Without a Tassel

Apparently, 1950s burlesque dancers aren't the only ones with a lot of tassels in their armoires.  Here I am, yet again, having to defend my choice to keep a sweater in the mix simply based upon a few little strands of yarn (but oh how adorable those tiny strands can be!).

Admit it...you think it's cute too.

Back in 2000, American Eagle became the official clothier for a little show called Dawson's Creek (featuring, oh, nobody you've ever heard of). While I'll confess that I watched the show, I don't recall that I ever expressed any desire to look more like Joey, Jen, and whoever that other girl was.  Nevertheless, I bought more than my share of Dawson's Sweaters (fortunately, this is the only one that remains...or so I think)...and I'm having trouble saying, nay, singing, "I Don't Want to Wait" to this purple and lilac, flower-adorned, tasseled citizen of Capeside.

Since I've been putting this sweater on death watch every few years or so, I knew all of my excuses for it ("Oh, it's a little short, but I bet it would look good over a dress.  Tres Anthropologie," or "Sure, it's a bit short and boxy...but so was Rocky.  When high-waisted pants come back in, this sweater will be the not-so-heavy weight champ.").  I had two outfits at the ready...a simple grey dress and some (embarrassingly dated) higher-waisted corduroys (hey, I bet somebody on Dawson's would have worn those...maybe Pacey's aunt).  

Experiment A: Wear it with a dress and, look out Zoey Deschanel.  Umm...only if the episode required her to dress up like a frumpy extreme couponer, (and hilarity ensues).  Didn't work...maybe Anthro would pair it with a whimsically patterned-dress, but I decided that I'd rather buy a new sweater from them than to figure out how to match it on my own.

Experiment B: Wear it with high-waisted pants so it won't look so short.  How did that work out for Jessica Simpson?  Same here!

So, while I hate to see a good tassel graduate (and I seriously considered taking it off the sweater and trying to put it on something else, but thought better of it), I really did give this one the old college try.

My rating: James Van Der Beek. While there's nothing that I applaud more than someone who's self-deprecating (brilliant move to play yourself on a sitcom...just as long as you're not Jennifer Grey--really obscure reference, sorry), try as I might, I just can't seem to make it work with him .  Maybe I just have Varsity Blues, or it's the boxy and short styling, or even that his forehead is more of a "fivehead," but, whatever it is, we just aren't meant to be together.  Much like Joey and Dawson.

Day 13-- The Acrylic Jungle

Re-entry is tough.  Having spent the last 10 days in bright sunlight and equally bright knits, I am now forced to face January in the Midwest.  And when you choose to name your blog "100 Days of Sweaters," and then realize that you are only on day 13, you get a small glimpse of what it must have been like for Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day (at least I don't have to start everyday with "I've Got You, Babe" on the radio, so there's that). 87 sweaters left to analyze?? Sadly, I'll probably still need to wear a sweater in May...

In honor of my post-vacation malaise, I decided to select the least cheerful sweater that I could think of. What could be less fun than tossing on a camouflage colored turtleneck on a cold winter's morning?  I would question what I was thinking when I made said purchase, but, apparently, I liked it enough that I got another one in light blue.  And, since this sweater is from Old Navy (circa 2001), I'm guessing that even they would be surprised that I still had it (in their ideal world, their clothes would self-destruct after one season.  They aren't meant to end up in a hope chest somewhere).  I believe that, on one of my more stylish days, I sported this sweater with my camou Steve Madden platform tennis shoes.  I guess I was really trying to blend in.

Oh, I'm so covert

So, I suppose if one is trapped in a particularly chilly jungle, a camouflage-hued turtleneck is a wise idea.  But, barring that unlikely occurrence (I don't camp), there's not a whole lot of benefit to this little (50%) acrylic wonder.  It's too short (natch), has a lot of (to use a technical term), "fuzzies" coming off it, and, well, it's kind of ugly.  And although his light blue brethren is bit more attractive, it's not by much and looks aren't everything.My rating: Stephen Dorff.  While there's a certain bad boy quality to this camouflaged wonder, the costs (numerous bar fights, constantly having to pull the sweater down) far outweigh any benefits he may have as an actor.  And now that he's doing those smug commercials for the smokeless cigarette, I think even he realizes that he can no longer coast on the appeal of this chunky blue yarn or his appearances in those mid-90s Aerosmith videos. Too bad--there was some talent there.Add 2 more sweaters to the body count--thank you, Stephen, for making this one easy.                        

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 12--Embracing my inner Coldwater Creek shopper

Since this is my last day in wintery climes before a (all-too-brief) trip to Florida, I thought I'd embrace a somewhat festive and snowy sweater.  Being that it is from the Limited (again, probably early 2000s...was there a sweater explosion then, or was it just me?), I am hoping that I'll have an instant gag reflex with this one.  Otherwise, the white, almost snow-like yarn on the sleeves will probably lure me in...

Inoffensive enough to keep, right?

Any sweater can fake its way through the day, as long as only close family members or unassuming store clerks are involved.  And when it's the Christmas season...well, even Stacy London would have to cut me a little slack here.  So, while I hesitate to use the word "swagger" (or worse, "swagga") here, I will say that I had a little pep in my step with this one. It's soft, it's cheerful, and, wonder of wonders, it kept me warm.

And I really didn't give its, ahem, age a second thought...not even when I went to the hipster Holy Land of Urban Outfitters. I obliviously perused the rack of "re-fashioned" Christmas sweaters near the front of the store, and even considered purchasing more than one.  Why not...I'm capable of irony.  I get the joke.  Christmas sweaters are ugly...and the uglier they are, the cooler I am.

Yes, for a brief moment, I almost provided a home to these Coldwater Creek cast-offs.  They even have skates on them...it'd be a business expense!

And this was my fatal error: I gave up the right to buy these sweaters with a tongue firmly planted in my cheek because I was wearing my sweater, sans irony.  The person who would go the whole day wearing this perfectly acceptable Nordic sweater, without shame, is not allowed to wear an ugly Christmas sweater and pretend that it's cool.  Because these sweaters, although originally from Talbots or Field Gear, are now from Urban Outfitters and will thus be worn with skinny jeans, short jean shorts with black tights (thank you, Katie Holmes, for that trend), or, dare I say it--jeggings...and I neither possess nor desire those items of clothing, thank you.  I learned a lesson today.  A painful, but valuable one.  I kept this sweater...but I lost out on the opportunity to wear others that are far boxier, have way more acrylic and feature NFL-approved shoulder pads.  Oh, to be a hipster at the holidays!

My rating: Timothy Hutton.  Although he has an Oscar to his credit, he will probably not rise to those levels again (although he was quite good in "Beautiful Girls," but that's been a while) and has to be content now with an occasional wear on a snowy day, or a successful series on basic cable.  A solid player, but has a tendency to make you feel old for liking him.  Hipsters + Timothy Hutton do not mix...much to my dismay.  I guess there's nothing wrong with being an Ordinary People (Person).