Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 47 -- Mr. Ed

As we are nearing the half-way point of this blog, I just want to assure everybody that, yes, I do have enough sweaters to make it 53 more days.  No need for a national panic to ensue...and if I have to wear that festive Halloween sweater in April, by George Clooney, I'll do it.  Anything for this blog.  Yeah, anything except keeping up with it...I'm afraid that I've kept up with the Kardashians better than I have with this blog (poor Bruce...I promise not to name any sad-sack sweaters after you.  The same may not be said about Scott, however).  Oh, I've been very good about wearing a different sweater every day...just not so great about reflecting upon that experience.  But fear not, I remember every little stitch (and itch) about all of these sweaters, so there won't be any sweater-fraud on my watch.

So, I present today's offering: the 2nd in a 4-part series (but not nearly as compelling as Downton Abbey, I'm afraid) which began back on Day 29.  While that one displayed a modicum of creativity (look Ma, stripes!), this selection is simply a chunky-knit,  carnation-hued turtleneck, sold at the Gap at or around the Y2K.

Amongst my friends, I am not exactly known as a "planner."  I like to wait until the very last minute to decide what to eat, watch, do, etc...even if that renders that my weekend plans be relegated to collapsing on the couch and clearing out some of those ominous exclamation points on my DVR. For this blog, however, I am a regular Type A personality...even going so far as to plan my sweaters up to five days in advance (and, as an extra bonus, I've even been coordinating my sweaters with the weather forecast.  I tell you, I am a new person...for about 50 more days, anyway). Knowing that I teach hockey on Friday afternoons which is why I am always cold on Friday night (which makes me even less likely to want to plan outings with my friends), I decided to put all of this simulated handknit posturing to the test.  If this sweater can keep me warm and display some semblance of early-February-Valentines-Day joie de vivre, it'll remain in my collection and continue to take up a lot of room in my closet (especially when stacked on top of its 3 other siblings).

Okay, all together now..."Awww!"

All I ask is that a neck maintain its that too much to hope for?

So, after a long day on the ice, I have to say that this l'il bugger really held up his end of the bargain.  This had a nice, upbeat color, and the fit was fairly agreeable as well (I'm still not a fan of the rolling hem on sweaters, but, it, for the most part, stayed in place). It was chunky without being too bulky, and, wouldn't you know it, that little turtleneck held its shape all day.  I still opted out of plans for Friday night, but that had less to do with being cold, and more to do with being way behind on American Idol because I keep falling asleep during those boring auditions. Suffice it to say, this one made it to Hollywood week.

My rating: Tom Cavanagh (despite my strict rules against looking an actor up on IMDB, I had to this time, just to get that spelling correct). Like this sweater, Mr. Cavanagh ruled the airwaves in the early 2000s in his whimsical drama series Ed. His winning dimples, charming personality (and this lovely carnation hue) made him a frequent guest on late night talk shows, and it seemed that he was poised to become a permanent fixture in our entertainment lives. But, for whatever reason (oh, cruel, cruel fickle television viewers), Tom Cavanagh just didn't happen for us.  He made some attempts (as Zach Braff's brother on Scrubs, various voice-over work), but, despite his talent, hand-knit quality, and boyish good looks, he seems to be relegated to the once-a-year Hallmark channel movie appearance (usually around Christmas).  Which is a shame, because when you need some cheer on a cold February afternoon, you can do much worse than a blush-colored turtleneck and the proverbial best friend from literally every cable series from the past 10 years.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 46 -- Brooke Burke-Boucle

When history looks back upon my life (it'll probably be a really slow news day), there's a chance that they will cite my affinity for late 90s/early 2K sweaters from the Limited. In multiples.  And, as I have shown time and time again (and there are more lurking...good Lord, will I ever be able to wear an individual style again?), nobody wins when I buy in bulk (unless it's a bulky non-itchy turtleneck in a cheerful color...why can't I find that great white whale?). Savvy readers will recognize this sweater (in turtleneck form) from an earlier survived, but will his rose-colored brethren smell as sweet?

So, in the immortal words of David Coverdale from Whitesnake (as if I could name anybody else from that seminal late 80s hair metal band), "Here I go Again..." While neither he nor Tawny Kitaen would ever be caught rolling on the hood of a Camaro wearing a semi-boucle sweater from the turn of the century (or slightly thereafter), surely they can empathize with my attraction to this lovely shade of pink.  Is this love that I'm feeling...possibly. We'll see after I give it a spin in the old muscle car today.

The recipe for this sweater was too complicated to transcribe--
 (wool, nylon, acrylic, eye of newt...)

Methinks this sweater is insecure about its stomach.

After giving this sweater a whirl (on the ice, of course), I deemed it fit and ready for the occasional wearing on my ragtag team of mutant sweaters.  I liked the color, it fit nicely, and there was nothing about the fiber content that caused me any undue stress.  All was running smoothly in my world until...

I kind of got roped into a last-minute gig/job/obligation as a chaperone for the park district's Daddy/Daughter Dance.  In a snowstorm.  My first thought, however, wasn't, "Do I really want to spend my Thursday night at a Daddy/Daughter Dance," or "But I'm three weeks behind on Project Runway...".  No, it was, "Had I known, I would have worn a cooler sweater." As I've stated before, the bylaws mandate that if a sweater is good enough to be kept, it must be worn for the entire day (unless, of course, you are in for the day, and then you are allowed to change into a sweatshirt). 

I considered bending the rules (since this was a last-minute engagement), but I decided that if I don't have my integrity on this blog, what have I got (besides a closet full of sweaters from The Limited that have yet to be put to the test).  And, once I paired this with a really cute skirt (from this year, thank you...I don't have the same issues with other articles of clothing) from Anthropologie, this sweater really didn't look too dated. And, besides, most of the "daughters" at this dance were from the 4-7 year old demographic (which means that they weren't even alive when this sweater was created), so I was fairly certain that their knowledge of knitwear trends was limited to the primary-colored turtlenecks on The Wiggles.

My rating: Tom Bergeron. Surprised?  While most people just accept Mr. Bergeron's existence the way they acknowledge the return of air-brushed t-shirts and the ongoing presence of Gary Busey on practically every reality show over the past few years (has anyone made the transition from Celebrity Fit Club to Celebrity Rehab so seamlessly? Come to think of it, Tawny Kitaen was also on Celebrity's that for synergy?), I maintain that he has more talent than he is ever given credit for.  I will ignore his work on the sound-effects laden America's Funniest Rigged Home Videos, and will focus my attention on his wry witticisms and subtle humor in the spray-tan fest that is Dancing with the Stars.  The fact that this sweater can go from day to evening says quite a bit, and Mr. Bergeron is no stranger to the special event hosting gig himself.  Between Tom Bergeron, Mario Lopez, Chris Harrison, there is no pageant or reality contest left unturned. Nobody would expect a ten year old multi-fiber sweater to be able to attend the "big dance," but Mr. Bergeron does so with an arched eyebrow here and there, a clarification of his co-host's jumbled statements, and, on occasion, a playful grab of Maksim Chmerkovskiy's nether regions (and who could blame him for that?).  While this sweater might not be your first choice when you look into the armoire in the morning, it is certainly no less deserving than some of the newcomers to the collection (Billy Bush...I'm looking squarely at your aw-shucks grin).  An under-appreciated host with, if not the most, than certainly with just the right amount.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 45 -- Don(ning) Henley

You didn't expect me to buy just one sweater from Hollister, did you?  So here we are again...only this time it's in a lovely shade of pink.  With a pouch.  And bell-shaped sleeves.  This can't end well.

When this much of the mannequin is showing, you just know I'll
be battling with the hem all day.

What's the proper henley etiquette? 1 button undone? 2? All?

And this is what is known as the "purl" stitch.  If you turn
this inside out, it will look like a normal knit sweater (with odd seams).
Since I had trouble just putting this sweater on the mannequin, I knew that this would not be a day in which I tucked my legs under me on the couch while wearing thick socks, sipping a piping hot mug of cocoa while watching the snow fall gently outside as I watched a marathon of My So-Called Life on TV (back when the name "Jared Leto" did not evoke anything other than a longing sigh). Nope, this day started with a 6:30 am lesson and did not end until I woke up on the couch at 1:30 am to the strains of a real estate infomercial and an impossible pain in my neck from improper sofa pillow placement.  So much for that hot chocolate...

But that about sums up this sweater.  It looks fairly cute, and the "reverse" stitch technique puts it a few notches above an ordinary mediocre sweater. But, due to the abbreviated length (intentional?) and wide sleeve width (irritating!), this lovely pink confection was really more of a (literal) pain in the neck.  I spent more time pulling down the hem while rolling up the cuffs that I really couldn't enjoy the laid-back surf attitude that a Hollister henley promises. It's cute in theory, but is actually more trouble than it's worth.

My rating: Edward Norton.  For someone so gifted, Edward Norton sure makes it difficult for everyone to like him (not that he cares, of course).  I alternate between finding him adorable (see: Y2K relic Keeping the Faith, and 2012's Moonrise Kingdom) and then being appalled by his arrogance and prickly personality in pretty much every interview he does.  While it doesn't always show up on the screen, his method acting perfectionism and highly vocal criticisms of his directors (not to mention those bell sleeves) make his acting skills and boyish good looks seem almost wasted on him. Refusing to do press for a movie like The Incredible Hulk is understandable, but, c'mon...The Italian Job was actually a lot of fun.  Talent and a lovely shade of pink can only take you so far...after that, we have to enjoy spending the day with you (and, let me tell you, I had as much fun tugging at this abridged hem as Roger Ebert did in Death to Smoochy).  And, besides, he dated Courtney Love...for a long time.  That's got to say something about him.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 44 - I Ain't No Holla-ster Girl (is that song in your head now?).

I've long been intrigued by Hollister.  Back when it was only in a few malls, it was really a unique experience to shop there, and you got the sense that you've stumbled into a secret passageway from the board game Clue. How did this surf shack suddenly appear mere steps away from the Stride Rite store? From the front porch with the surf magazines strewn about, to the wood floors and casually arranged merchandise, shopping in Hollister is like traipsing through the Malibu summer cottage for a latter-day Frankie and Annette.  You can practically taste the salt water and feel the sand residue in your shoes. And who doesn't want to feel like a surfer...even (or especially) when one is right next to Auntie Anne's in a Midwestern mall. I loved being transported to another state, if, for no other reason, than to escape the overly aggressive skin cream salesman in the nearby kiosk.

Usually, I would peruse the t-shirts and proclaim that I don't really like to wear so many logos (when the truth was probably that the fabric was a little thin or the cut of the neck was an impossibly deep V).  But, of course, I always wanted to leave the store knowing that I could bring a little bit of the surf shack back to my house (if not the male models on the bags...are they even real?).  Unfortunately, I haven't been back to Hollister since the tragic incident of which I found myself thinking, simultaneously, "This music is too loud," and "It's so dark in here that I can't even see what size I'm looking for." Shortly after that, I was "ma'am-ed."  I haven't returned.

So when you find what you perceive to be reasonable clothes from Hollister (reasonable in that they are somewhat cool, but aren't plastered with logos and won't make you look like you are a contestant on one of those MTV Real World vs Road Rules Challenge shows), naturally, you snatch them up.  I believe that this purchase contained two sweaters and some (long since lost) winter accessories like a severely marked down scarf and a pair of fingerless gloves (what's. the. point?).

I bet you think I'm going to keep this sweater, don't you?

Not snowflakes...what shapes do you see in these clouds?

If the acrylic doesn't warm you up, the hood sure will.

Looking at these pictures, I can definitely see how people get fooled by online profiles on dating sites. This sweater looks hearty and substantial...two great adjectives for a game of Mad Libs, but neither of which apply here.  It was relatively thick, but didn't have a lot of "give" to it, nor did it have the comfortable fit of a chunky winter cardigan (dude, when you're just throwing something on after a day on the waves, you don't worry too much about styling).  I know that I wear this sweater quite often (translation: once a year), but I think that says more about my desire to represent the surf culture at large than any kind of affinity towards this sweater.  The pattern is cute, and, were it in a soft and cozy knit, this would be a hang ten.  Right now, it's more of a wipe out.

My rating:  Oliver in Kate Hudson's brother...Goldie's son?  He with the impossible dimples and the winning smile? Okay, now you're with me. Because of where he's from and who his parents are, you really want to like him.  He always seems to be the best looking specimen on the screen in a sub par television series, and there certainly is something very attractive about the pattern on this cardigan. His Hollywood good looks and easy-going persona promise a day of surfing, snowboarding, or some vocation that is equally embarrassing for most Midwesterners. But this sweater's heritage from a surf-inspired store does not make up for a day of tugging and adjusting, and really isn't worth sitting through an entire episode of that sitcom with David Spade (I hate to mention him again...but I just cannot understand how that show is still on the air). Plus, it just is not as cozy as it looks. There is hope for Oliver Hudson (he's a lot cuter than most of the stiffs that they use in those paint-by-numbers romantic movies around the holidays), but I fear that my closet cannot provide him with amnesty any longer. Maybe he'll find a new home where they let him play that SoCal music as loudly as he wants.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 43 - (Not-So) Great Scott!

Behold, the red Gap turtleneck from Holiday '06.

(I was hoping maybe that speaking in biblical parlance might make this sweater seem more important that it actually is).

It wasn't very invigorating when I wore its sibling in tan a week ago, and it's even less so now.  Sure, the neck has kind of an interesting pattern and the fit is fairly good.  And who doesn't need a good red turtleneck this time of year?  Other than that, however, there's not much about which to pontificate here.

Aren't I demure?

Note to designers: sew your hems with orange thread and I'll purchase your garments!

Oh, there's a different pattern on the neck...that's certainly
worthy of an additional photo.

If you thought Argo got your pulse racing, wait until you read about my adventures in this basic red cotton-wool blend sweater.  Right...ummm...maybe I should have said, "If you thought Lincoln was a thrill-a-minute roller coaster ride of a film, you'll really enjoy reading about this crimson turtleneck from six years ago." What can I say? This turtleneck left about as much of an impression on me as most of NBC's fall lineup (sorry, I think Jay Leno's monologue just infiltrated this blog). While I was fairly non-plussed by this sweater, I didn't really expect to be "plussed.".  It's a red turtleneck, people.  Move on.

I'm going to hang onto this sweater, just in case I am in a flash mob and we are required to wear dated knitwear in various shades of cherry.  I may not wear it again for a few years, but, when I do, I am sure that it will be every bit as much of a non-event as it was today.

My rating:  Craig Ferguson.  Have you ever overheard anyone say, "Hey, did you see Ferguson's show last night?  It was hilarious. Watch that skit he did on YouTube." Yet, the show has not yet gone the way of Magic Johnson, Chevy Chase, or Caroline Rhea's late night offerings (I bet you forgot that she even had a show...and, possibly, who the heck she even is).  There will always be people who choose to wear a slightly ho-hum red turtleneck and who opt for just sorta funny when they could actually watch something hilarious (without even having to upgrade their cable packages). And for those people, we have this perfectly fine Gap turtleneck and some mediocre late night TV hosted by an only slightly less mediocre Scottish improviser. He's inoffensive enough (unless, of course, you are watching him try to do some short-form improv with Drew Carey), but there are better options out there when you're ready to break out of this sartorial and not-so-satirical rut. I'm hanging onto this sweater, but only because of his Scottish accent (but don't go looking for any favors from me, Billy Connolly--I'm saving the last spot on the Scots roster for Gerard Butler).

Day 42 -- Because He Cares

Ah, my old friend, the snowflake striped v-neck sweater.  So we meet again (and we will meet again...and, if I dare wear your relative in vest form...again).  This time I see that you are a bright cherry red for the season, no?  How festive!! Since your little goldenrod sibling survived what was almost certain elimination, I'm guessing you're feeling pretty cocky.  But I wouldn't tackle a Whitney Houston song just yet...there are no "locks" in the cutthroat world of sweater blogging. Nobody is guaranteed a spot in the finale.

One of my issues with this sweater used to be that it always looked like I was wearing a name tag. They might not seem like a significant nuisance, but, believe me, after several "made-you-look" incidents, it does get to be a bit of a irritant. I doubt that this was discussed at the board meeting when they designed this sweater, but it's something to consider for all of you aspiring designers out there.

Okay...I'll admit it.  I forgot to take a picture of this sweater, and
yes, I'm a little bit behind on this blog.  But I will not compromise
the sanctity of the freshly dry-cleaned sweater for a mere glamour shot.
Side note: Isn't it sweet that the dry cleaners admits that they care? 

Remember this sweater from Day 39? I compared his brother to
a member of Duran Duran...this version should be so lucky

Is there a support group for snowflake pattern addiction?  Or maybe
just one for people that are forced to read blog entries about them?

Just once in my life, I'd like someone to take a look at me in one of my faux-ski sweaters and ask me if I've just come back from Aspen.  Or Squaw Valley...Sun Valley, or any Valley that doesn't start with "Death."  No such luck, but, fear not, I've got plenty more from the Lindsey Vonn/Picabo Street/Suzy Chapstick wannabe collections. I think I've made the case for sweaters of this ilk.  Sure, if I worked in an office and this pullover signified my "outfit" for the day, well, maybe then I'd need to rethink things a bit.  But I see nothing wrong with a simple snowflake pattern on a lambswool v-neck if one's workplace is an ice rink (or a preschool, perhaps).  And I will not change my position on this matter (but it's still only Day give me a few days in April wearing snowflakes like a banner across my chest and I could be otherwise convinced).

My rating: Brian Dennehy. There are other character actors out there that do what he does (which is, essentially, playing "The Heavy"), but none do it with the warmth and charisma of Mr. Dennehy. He may not appear in too many movies that don't start with the phrase "Direct to DVD" anymore and this sweater won't make the folks at E's Fashion Police bat a fake eyelash, but there's just something about them both that I trust.  This is the sweater that you'd wear when you're having people over to watch some random football game on a Sunday afternoon (just keep Dennehy away from the pigs in the blanket), and, if you need someone to play the down-on-his-luck former police chief, look no further.

 I am pretty sure that I've worn this sweater several times over the past few years, but I cannot seem to recall exactly when.  And the same could be said for films from the Dennehy canon over the past few years: I know I've seen him in a few things, but what were they?  (Did I mention that one of my many rules for this blog is that I'm not allowed to go to IMDB or other research sites to look up facts about these actors--it all has to come from the vast files of useless information in my brain).

But none of that really long as we've got 1986's classic action film F/X and a delightful little snowflake pattern across the chest of a roomy lambswool sweater, all is right in the Sunday afternoon part of the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 41 - Mock Mock Mocking on Heaven's Door

I've noticed, as of late, that certain other colors have crept into our lexicon as "holiday colors." I don't know if we should blame the craft stores or the makers of M&Ms (who, in my opinion, can do no wrong...except for those ill-conceived candy corn M&Ms from last year), but it's definitely a thing.  Halloween has now added purple to its orange and black motifs, and I've noticed brown joining the ranks in the Valentines decorations.  What's next...gray feeling left out of the Easter celebrations?

All of this is to say that I'll be wearing a purple sweater today.  I know that it's not exactly a Valentine's Day color, but at least it's in the same candy department.  And I've been avoiding this sweater family (more like an entire sweater colony) for, well, 40 days now, so it's time I took them on.

For those of you keeping score at home...first of all, why are you doing that? But are the redundant details: the oh-so-not-on-trend sweaters are from (cue gasps of disbelief) The Limited, and carbon dating puts them at around 1998 (give or take a few years).  The tag claims that they are hand knit (Ha!), and they have a variety of fibers in them...none of which are cashmere.  I thought that I only had this sweater in a mere three colors, but I unearthed two more when I was rummaging through my parents' attic (some doors should not be opened).  And since I have similar sweaters in all of these colors (or would gladly purchase an upgraded version if the need arose), I came into this hoping for a rating somewhere between Charlie Sheen and Nick Nolte. I knew that this crime syndicate of mock turtlenecks needed to be stopped, if for no other reason,  than the sheer amount of space that they take up in the armoire.  Plus, I'm sick of their smug attitude.

He may be standing there coyly, but, make no mistake, this sweater
is not on your side.

Mocking me even from cyberspace...

Since I was going to a basketball game at Northwestern (and their colors are purple and white), I decided that this would be a great test for this mock turtleneck.  I would be watching the game most of the time, and there isn't a jumbotron in operation at the arena, so I would not be spotted with a neck that just can't go the extra mile and be a turtle...or a cowl...or even, worst case scenario...a funnel.  But when you think that way, be very careful about checking in on Facebook...lest you find that an old childhood friend is also at said game and wants to meet up with you at halftime. I decided that, per the rules of the blog, I had to "own" my look and I could not cover up this sweater with my coat.  And, as far as I can tell, nobody was pointing at my neckline in horror (probably because it was so busy mocking them) and my friend did not appear to be worried about my grip on reality...or at the very least, this century's fashions.  

I could try to look on the bright side of life here and say that it was warm, not very itchy, and was a reasonably good (albeit boxy) fit...but why bother.  Every time I open my closet, I see this sweater mafia on the shelf, practically daring me to wear them.  It's time a took a stand.  I will not be bullied by yesterday's matter how many of them there are in "the syndicate."  I will not be mocked by lambswool...even if said fiber comes in a lovely shade of orange.  I accept necks in all lifestyles and persuasions: crew, v, turtleneck, boat, and, heck, even a cowl on occasion...but I will not allow those that mock me or anybody that I know. It takes a brave person to banish an entire sweater family...but I may have finally found my inner medieval tyrant.

Am I the only one that thinks this is reminiscent of those old Benetton ads?

I know that I have nearly 60 days left of this blog, so tossing five sweaters out in one day might render me in a (quelle horreur) sweater vest come day 93, but, to be honest, I'm really pretty tired of this sweater.  It fit fine, kept me warm, but there was no spark there.  And the thought of wearing this sweater four more times...well, that's a fate I do not wish upon anyone (unless they are uber hipsters, in which case, have at it).

My rating: David Spade. There was a time when I found his snarky arrogance amusing--and that time was about 11:15 (CT) when he would do "The Hollywood Minute" on SNL. Back in those days, he came off as a 99 pound lightweight taking on the behemoths of showbiz, and we loved him for it.  He would no sooner begrudge us a mock turtleneck (or five) than would he fawn over a star's latest vanity project.  Flash forward a decade and a half, and now he mocks to an audience of zero (Oh, I'm're a fan of Rules of Engagement?  Yeah, that's actually still on). His holier-than-thou attitude is unearned (I'll grant him Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, but only because several members of The Brady Bunch and Leif Garrett appeared in it), and nothing about him has earned the amount of shelf space that these sweaters take up.  Mocking in the late 90s was fresh...mocking in 2013 is just sad.  Sorry, David...but your Hollywood Minute appears to be up.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 40 - Chenille, Schlemazel, Hasenfeffer Incorporated (I never understood those lyrics...)

So it's Day 40.  And it's only February 1st.  Despite what Punxsutawney Phil predicts tomorrow, there will still be at least 60 more days of sweaters.  Which would depress me, except for the fact that, as you may have noticed, I really love sweaters.  Just not all of my sweaters.  But, in honor of Valentine's Day, I have proclaimed February 1-February 15th to be "Wear Red/Pink/Heart Sweaters" for a fortnight (why the 15th?  I think you always get at least a day's grace period with I really wanted to write "fortnight." Blame Downton Abbey).

So, for Day 40, we are re-visiting an old "friend" from the (not-so-distant) past.  You thought we were done with chenille?  You thought wrong!

Previously on 100 Days of Sweaters, we met the Chenille family.  They hailed from the Gap's Holiday '05 collection...(despite their pastel hues to the contrary, "holiday," refers to Christmas--not Easter). This orchid colored turtleneck suffered a devastating loss when his sky blue brother was shipped off to another home after a less-than-favorable review in the Sweater Blog, and now he fears for his own safety. Although his lilac brother remains in a stable household (having survived Day 25), the two are currently estranged (the riff was possibly caused by jealousy over lilac's better genetics: sturdy neck, and those well-defined sleeves and hem).  What's to become of this orchid chenille half-cowl/half-turtleneck?  Will it ever find a loving home?  All answers will be revealed in today's blog...

Don't let the pretty pink color and the oh-so-soft fibers suck you in...

This neckline was just made to fuss with.  It doesn't really sit flat,
nor does it do that cowl thing.

What is only slightly less annoying than a short hem?
One that (intentionally) rolls up.

Even though this sweater was, as I remembered from his relatives, soft and cozy, the ill-defined hem was kind of irritating, as was the non-committal turtleneck and the bell-like sleeves.  It was a festive color, but certainly wasn't special enough to merit a golden ticket to Hollywood Week (or, in the case of So You Think You Can Dance, Vegas, baby).  Not to mention the fact that I can barely tell the difference between this "orchid" color and the "lilac" relative from blogs of yore.

Should it stay, or should it go? I decided to wave goodbye to it, and as it drove off in its carriage with its new governess, I saw the tears streaming down its synthetic fibers until it became just a small speck in the distance.  Luckily, this decision was made even easier for me when when I tried to wash it, as the gel detergent left a big blue spot on the back of the sweater (which, oddly enough, didn't come out even after 4 washings.  Thanks, I can have no donor's remorse).

My rating: Joe Jonas (yeah, I went was only a matter of time).  Although he is, unarguably, the best looking of the Jonas-trio (and we're not going to discuss the "Bonus Jonas" as he has not yet come to Disney Channel fame), his time in the spotlight might be just about over. Sure, we had some laughs (mostly at his expense) and we all enjoyed his voice mail breakup with Taylor Swift, but his appearance on that tacky dating show last summer (with "The Situation," no less) may have forever stained his reputation just like gel detergent on a chenille sweater.  He is definitely more attractive than his sky blue brother, Kevin (does anyone actually watch his reality show?), but his well-maintained stubble does not outrank the tailoring, beautiful lilac coloring, and classical training of younger brother Nick (appearances on Smash and The X-Factor, notwithstanding).  So, despite his ability to wear aviator sunglasses like nobody's business, this sweater is no longer "Burning Up" the turtleneck charts.

Day 39 - Blame it on Rio

Do you ever have one of those days when you just feel like putting on a maize lambswool v-neck and dancing the day away?  No?? Well, if maize doesn't suit your fancy, how about this exact sweater in red, green...or, heck, why not a sweater vest in purple?

I realize that this is a familiar refrain to the reader(s) of this blog...but I'll sing it again.  I bought this sweater at Abercrombie & Fitch around 1999 (yes, Virginia...they used to make clothes for people above size 00), and, presumably, I liked it so much that I purchased it in all 3 available colors...and a vest. I doubt that I ever tried it on, but that's neither here nor there (and you try to get somebody to let you into a fitting room at Abercrombie...see how that goes for you).

I just love me some ski-poser sweaters, don't I?

Shocker...a snowflake stripe across the chest! Was that a thing?

Since I have this sweater in no fewer than four incarnations, I was really hoping that this one would be the goldenrod straw that broke the sweater shelf's back.  No such luck.  In fact, surprising nobody, I actually enjoyed wearing this v-neck.  While I always eschewed the maize crayon back in my Crayola 64 days (not that I ever left, of course), this particular shade struck me as actually kind of cheerful.  The fit was nice, and I think we all know that a snowflake stripe across the chest is my sweater kryptonite.

The only problem is that I have this in 3 other colors...and I highly doubt that I could part with the spring green or cherry red versions.  Where are those sweater-devouring moths when you need them?

My rating: Roger Taylor. As the drummer for Duran Duran, he was often viewed as the "quiet one," and it seemed that he was always relegated to the back of the group photos in Bop Magazine (Is that still around? Such a great name!). He didn't get the screams that John, Simon, or Nick received (never did get that one...still don't), but he was consistently cute and almost never had a regrettable fashion choice (Mr. Rhodes cannot say the same).  While the majority of the Duran fans (I still cringe at the word "Durannies") dismissed Roger, I always had him in backup reserve, should John ever fail me (he never did...have you seen him lately?). So even though the red and green v-necks of the world get all of the sweater airplay, sometimes it's the goldenrod version that is your true hero sweater...the one that is willing to sit back and let others get the glory while he keeps you warm, happy, and "dancing on the sand...just like that river twists across a dusty land."

Day 38 - Not Exactly a Shue-In.

I've already admitted that I find myself a little bit behind on this blog.  How behind?  Well, if this were a credit card, I'd be receiving that wonderful little phone call by now.  Part of the reason for this is due to my own tendency towards procrastination....even on deadlines that are self-imposed.  But another significant factor for my blog-avoidance comes from a lack of inspiration. The sweaters that are truly awful are easy to write about...but the ones that are merely "fine" cause me blognesia (copyright 2013).  Exhibit A: a multi-hued chunky tan turtleneck from the Gap's Holiday 2006 line.  Normally not the stuff that anybody pays too much attention to--throw on a pair of humdrum cords, and you've got yourself a Saturday outfit to run errands in.  But now that I actually have to pay attention to this sweater, I'm afraid I might nod off.

The tag said "Holiday '06." Nothing says "Bring on the mistletoe"
like a tan chunky turtleneck.

Would you believe that this lone row of orange stitching on the sleeve was actually a
selling point for me?  Of course you would...and it's absolutely true.

The pattern on the neck is a little different than the rest of the sweater.  Fascinating, I know.

Well...what can I say about this one. "It had a good beat, and you can dance to it...I give it a 76". It beat my expectations (which were, admittedly, pretty low) and fit fairly well.  It had some cotton in it, so there weren't any visible pills on the sweater, and the neck held its shape. In the 31 flavors of sweaters, this was vanilla...maybe French Vanilla...but vanilla just the same.

So I kept this one.  Will I ever wear it again? Possibly.  Will I even remember wearing it two weeks later?  Probably not.  I guess that's just how it goes for a tan turtleneck in a closet full of coral cardigans and pink pullovers.

My rating: Andrew Shue.  Sure, he was "the cute one" on Melrose Place and we all know not to "mess" with his sister (a.k.a. "The Babysitter"), but has anybody really thought about him lately?  I recall that his charity was called "Do Something," so one has to wonder if he's been heeding his own advice.  Even though his career has not been too memorable as of late, he could probably stage a comeback at some point, as he is well-constructed and has a nice personality.  While I don't always reach for a tan turtleneck, when you need one, it's good to know that there's a solid performer around, just ready and willing to "Do Something."  Would I wear it to Shooter's?  Not unless I was being forced to by Dr. Mancini or Crazy Kimberly.

Day 37 - Lisa Turtle(neck)

When you're only on Day 37 of a hundred sweater blog, record warm temperatures are not exactly welcome.  I wasn't sure if I should switch things up and give one of my summer sweaters for a spin, or should I just ignore mercury and proceed as planned?

Although for a brief moment I considered wearing a (gasp) sweater vest, cooler heads prevailed, and I decided that today's 60 degree temperatures were merely a blip on the (weather) radar and I would proceed as planned.  But, just as a "nod" to the weather, I went with an 100% acrylic selection from an unlikely source: Delia's.  Yes, that Delia's.  I cannot tell you what I was doing in there, but you can be sure that I was called ma'am while making this late 2000s purchase. I'm predicting that the pseudo-empire waste will either look incredibly dated, or make me look 8 months pregnant.  Other than that, I have little-to-no expectations for this navy, once-trendy, turtleneck.

Despite the high and defined waist, this sweater really didn't come from A Pea in the Pod.

Why, yes, that's a cat hair on this sweater.

Even though this sweater hails from a store that offers Charms Blowpop knee-highs and Justin Bieber nightshirts, I have to admit that it actually surprised a good way.  It had a nice drape and the defined waistline was actually somewhat flattering.  The acrylic didn't seem to be bad thing here, and I really appreciated that there was some length to this turtleneck, especially when I demonstrated a sit spin.  If I didn't know better, I might even assume that this actually came from a store of quality...especially since there were no discernible pills and the sweater really held its shape.  All in all, a dark horse in the sweater run for the roses.  As they say in Bachelor parlance, this was one of "The most shocking twists ever".

My rating: Mario Lopez.  Yes, I said it...Mr. A.C. Slater himself. When you make your fame wearing acid washed Z. Cavaricci jeans, and saying lines like, "Hey Mama" and "What's up, Preppy," it's difficult to imagine that you can ever survive that image.  Especially when the show that you're on (or the store that you were purchased from) is aimed squarely at those who have not fully developed their sense of humor yet (and may still be wearing rubber bands on their braces).  So nobody was more surprised than I was when Mario was able to shake off those bike shorts and actually do a credible job of hosting various shows and reality TV talent contests. He is cute without being obsequious, and takes his duties of being a sweater quite seriously.  Despite his coming of age on Saturday morning and syndicated TV, this sweater turned in a solid performance and will definitely be back in reruns sometime in the near future.  But I wouldn't wear it with acid-washed jeans, however...some things should definitely stay in the 90s.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 36 - A "Limited" Career

Since I make the rules for this blog (and there are more rules than you even know about), I only have myself to blame for this...but keeping a daily blog isn't as easy as it seemed on Julie and Julia (or even on Doogie Hauser). If you let just one day go by, all of a sudden you are trying to recall minute details about some very ordinary items of knitwear.  And if you let, ahem, a week (or two) go by, well, good luck trying to remember if you're keeping this sweater because it was warm or only that it didn't itch too much.

So, with plenty of further ado, I present to you...a sweater from the Limited (from, as always, circa 2000).  And not just a singleton sweater, mind, this is a sweater that I own not just in blue, but also in black, plus a v-neck version in carnation (giving it an exotic name might make it seem more stylish). I'm not going to bother with the fiber content, because there are at least 5 different ones named, and I still don't get the distinction between "lambswool" and "wool," nor do I understand why they have to list "rabbit hair" separately from "angora."  Not really worth looking up on Wikipedia, however, especially since I just looked up "boucle" just to try to identify the genetic make-up of this turtleneck.

I'll admit that the color isn't quite as pretty as it appears in this picture.

I think this sweater falls into the "it'll do" category.  If I worked in an office, perhaps it would have been turned into a toaster cozy long ago, but, since I am in frozen conditions nearly every day, this semi-boucle selection just barely passes muster (especially since I am not exactly sure what "muster" entails). It fit well enough, and the neck stayed put.  I enjoyed the lovely "cornflower" color (a great Crayola color...even if the crayon was mysteriously more waxy than his 63 other brethren), and I never felt cold.  If this were a date on, I might agree to a second, albeit coffee, date. I don't think that I would grab a step stool to reach this sweater if it were on a high shelf, but, if it were at eye-level, I would have no qualms about wearing this one for a day at the rink.

My rating: Dean Cain.  Despite his good looks and well-maintained physique, Mr. Cain can never seem to rise above his mid-90s television renown as the Man of Steel in "Lois & Clark."  There are other far less talented and not nearly as attractive actors that are enjoying a lot more success than the man who would be Superman, just as there are a lot of other sweaters that get more wear than this turtleneck...which is a shame on both counts. Sitting on the proverbial sweater shelf when one is that attractive can be tough, but, then again, there's no shame in the occasional Lifetime movie, or, even better, the Hallmark Channel's inevitable Christmas romances (always a guilty pleasure).  Dean, you may have been able to leap tall buildings, but sometimes you still need a step-stool. Maybe I'll try to keep this sweater on a slightly lower shelf...that's the least I can do for truth, justice, and the American turtleneck.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 35 - That's What Makes This Beautiful

In the sometimes ancient world of my sweater collection, this particular sweater would have to be considered a newborn.  In fact, in many ways, it is a "preemie" as it hails from the Boden Spring collection.  Nevertheless, I tried it on (a feat as rare for me as, ahem, sending my sweaters to the dry cleaners) and, well, spoiler alert, fell in love with it instantly.

Nothing makes me pull out the credit card faster than the combination of "coral" and "vintage inspired knit."

It's hard to see here, but there is actually metallic gold thread in this pattern.  Brilliant!

Different pattern on the sleeves? Thank you, Boden!

This sweater has a great thick knit that is somewhat rare in cotton sweaters, and fits in a perfectly oversized fashion.  I love the semi-boatneck, and there is such a cool metallic gold thread that runs through the knit.  While I'm not exactly sure what "Hotchpotch Jumper" means, I'm certain that, in England from whence Boden originates, it is a positive thing. I love the color combination of the coral and khaki, and the sleeves being a different pattern is such a fun feature.  I don't really see how this is vintage, but, as someone who loves being "retro" without having to actually dig through the piles at a thrift shop, I will take their word for it.  The only problem I see with this sweater will be keeping myself from buying it in the other two colors that are offered (I mean, I don't have any cute yellowish-gold or blue and aqua sweaters).  Wouldn't it make more sense for a "preemie" to have a sibling? I'll check back in with all of you once the spring sweaters (I mean "jumpers") go on sale in May.

Cute and fun...and oh-so-hotchpotch (I think).

My rating:  One Direction. Adorable, fun, (and British), they seem to have everything going for them (catchy music, great color schemes, awesome hair). While time will tell if their career can last past the screaming teenagers phase, (and who knows how this metallic thread will weather the dry cleaners), I will certainly enjoy their music now and "Live While We're Young."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 34 - An All-Star Tribute to Gene Kelly

When I was talking to one of my friends about this blog, she asked me, with deep concern in her voice, "What if your Mom reads the blog and you make fun of something that she gave you?"

There are two errors in this statement.  The first being, "What if."  My Mom is pretty much the only one who reads this blog (except, according to the Blogger graphs, some advertising group in Germany). Secondly, and this is major, none of the sweaters heretofore reviewed in this blog have been from my Mom.  And for good reason: the sweaters she gives me are always amongst my very favorite.  Perhaps it's because she's never set foot in any of the stores that offer sweaters of the "Buy one, get the second one half off" variety.  Actually, it's because she has very good taste..and the more that I wear itchy and short acrylic sweaters, the more I come to appreciate the high quality and timelessness of her gifts.

For the past 33 days, I've been forced to come up with moderately talented actors or singers to describe my many "just so-so" sweaters.  Today, however, is different.  Today I get to wear one of my (if not the) favorite sweaters. Like a fine wine, I save this sweater for special occasions (except for me, "special" might mean something different that what it means to other people).  Unleash the Kraken!  I am wearing my cashmere All-Star (literally) sweater!!

Look at those adorable stripes on the sleeve!  

And in orange and two shades of pink, no less!

Contrary to the picture, this star is actually pink...

Don't you wish you had this sweater?  This is a case in which a multiple (i.e. an identical twin) would be ideal because I would just fall into a deep sweater-induced depression if anything happened to this guy. It is warm, soft, stylish, cheerful, and fits exactly right.  It is the epitome of what it means to be a sweater.  And you all know how much I like stripes on a sleeve...and the color orange.  It is absolutely a joy to wear.  I'm not sure if I knew how great this sweater would be when my Mom gave it to me for my birthday about 8 years ago, but, if it's not to late to say it, "Thank you, Mom!  This sweater is truly the bee's knees."

My rating: (and I've been waiting so long to give this rating) Gene Kelly.  He sings, he dances, he directs....he does it all, and does it to sheer perfection.  He makes me happy merely be his presence in a film, and he never disappoints (I'll even allow Xanadu because it's so awesomely awful). He is a treasure and a true star. Just like this sweater.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 33 - The Polka Dot Hypothesis

One of the problems with doing this blog is that I am constantly wearing mediocre utility players from the past decade, but never any of my all-stars.  What's the fun in buying a new sweater if I'm only allowed to wear mock turtlenecks from the late 90s? Well, that all changes this weekend. Since I'm attending a convention (which has absolutely nothing to do with knitwear, I promise.  I do have other interests), and possibly taking photos with famous people, I can assure you that there will be no acrylic sweaters from New York & Company in my suitcase.

I didn't realize that my dress form was so voluptuous...

This is Kate Spade.  Your argument is invalid.

I'm sure that, in-and-of-itself, this sweater probably doesn't look too specular.  It's color-blocked, has on-trend 3/4 length sleeves and a respectable fiber content.  AND IT'S KATE SPADE!  Actually, I bought it because it accompanied a cute polka dot dress from Kate Spade really nicely, and I am not very adventurous in mixing brands. If the Nordstrom catalogue says it matches, who am I to argue?
Maybe this was kind of like cheating.  I didn't really put this sweater to the test in a real-world situation, but, then again, I did wear it almost all day...and in public (I even wore it to see "Book of Mormon").  I'm not sure how much more "real" I could get with this one.  Perhaps I'll try to pair it with something other than the dress at some point (am I allowed to break up Garanimals?), so I suppose my rating for this sweater is really only based on how well it worked with this dress.  Which it did.  Sometimes one item of clothing has to take a back seat to another (or so I've gathered from Clinton and Stacy). In this case, the polka dot dress was the star and this cardigan was the bit player.  And he played his part very nicely.

My rating: Johnny Galecki.  As someone who has only now discovered the genius of The Big Bang Theory, I have become quite enchanted with Jim Parsons, the breakout star of the show.  But, as we all learned from Will and Grace, one cannot have a show with "Just Jack"--you have to have your supporting players. It doesn't take a PhD in physics to understand that the best straight men are there to support and encourage the zany genius of their sidekicks, while rarely ever getting credit for their selfless acts.  Although this sweater might seem somewhat dull (I'll admit that I've been guilty of reading a magazine during the "Leonard" scenes), especially in relation to its cost (again, people--it's Kate Spade!), it supported the pratfalls and antics of its co-star, and let his true, polka-dotted genius shine through. This sweater might not ever prove String Theory (something that seems to be very important to the characters on this show), but it can certainly make a cool dress look very smart indeed. Bazinga!