Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The new, "people wearing sweaters, occasionally" blog

I feel like I'm amputating a limb just because taking care of it is too much work.

But, from here onward if this blog is to be updated, it will be even more erratically. I've alluded to it before, but this sweater blog was done for a class at the University of Pittsburgh called Publishing in the Digital Age.

If for some reason, you loved it excessively, I'll tell you that I might start a less specific blog somewhere else. If that happens, I'll post a link.

Thank you to my 13 readers!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review of Dress Up Games

I know a little bit about of a lot of things. But the one thing I claim expertise in is online makeover and dress up games. I spent the summer working at the library at my university as a student supervisor, which meant that I told people to do shelve books and played dress up games for 6 hours a day. I would feel confident standing before the supreme court and telling them that "Forever: A Wedding Dress-Up game" is the absolute best that there is. Play it on deviant art.

It has a unique menu that allows you to choose each different piece of the dress and they all go together. The artist really solved a lot of the problems that make these games annoying. The second two screen shots are from the only games I could find that are strictly sweater themed. Neither of them is very fun, because you have to drag the the clothing item onto the body and move it around until you get it in the perfect position. Don't even play them, man.

I was really disappointed with the lack of good sweater games. I wish YavMamemo would make a sweater game! She (or he) is the best!

You can play this Sweater Dress Up Game here. But I wouldn't bother.

This one is called Cowl Neck Sweater, and you can play it here. But, probably don't.

Maybe I should learn how to make my own, non?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweaters for Your Insides

Sarah Illenberger is a sculptor based in Berlin and she has made sweaters for your brain, heart and intestinal tract.

I had fun trying to read her bio in German, but I only got a vague sense of what it was about.

Here is what I gathered with my wasted 8 years of German education:

Her work is often practical and she doesn't use a computer to modify her images. Also she has an eye for detail.

This piece is called "Vollig Weichgekocht." Sorry, I can't tell you what that means. If you can't read Deutsch, but you can read English, designboom featured her work.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm Going to Call This One a Medieval Squire's Sweater Vest

Anna bought this thing from a friend at an Arts, Crafts and Crap sale at Pitt. I'm really jealous. The belt and the tights with the pattern of the sweater make my imagination go go go.

Like, maybe she's a princess who wants to be a knight, but she can't because she's a girl. And she watches her brothers dueling and training all day while she's stuck embroidering. Until one day when her threads get hopelessly tangled...SHE SNAPS, cuts her hair to her shoulders, knits this sweater with her family's crest and starts kicking ass.

Photo credit goes to Michel Sauret, who whipped out his real camera, a digital slr, when I complained that my point-and-shoot was out of batteries. Anna and Michel both have noteworthy blogs. Anna's is a spunky little food blog and Michel's considers what it means to simultaneously be a Christian and a Steeler's fan.

So click those links!

white, "the eagle's eye (for children)" floral pullover

It's been a hard Thanksgiving break for my family and I. We lost my grandfather in 2007 and my Uncle this summer. This year only one grandma, my dad and I were able to sit down to the meal together, because of work and illness complications.

Also my mom and I had a lot of blow-out arguments regarding my life and choices. I'm feeling very beaten down.

But the good news is that at home I found a sweater that my friend Christine gave me in high school. I really love it, but it never quite fit. There was an adorable picture of her wearing it in fifth grade on facebook, but it's gone now, so you just get me. Sad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Breaks

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has slowly been growing on me post the Great Conan O'Brien. Fallon's interviews are the stickiest part of the new (eh, 9 months isn't too long) show. I wish he would let go and be crazy. Watching his interviews is like watching two acquaintances catch up on the boring details of their lives. I want to be laughing my head off.

I did find some nice Thanksgiving, ebay sweaters on the Late Night blog, thanks to Cory Cavin. It might not be too late to buy one.

Have a Great Thanksgiving!

(Sorry classmates, I'm in the country lands with a very slow internet connection. I don't have the patience to leave or respond to comments.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Althea Crome

Althea Crome knits miniature, conceptual, sweaters with sewing needles. The sweaters is Coraline were her doing. How fortunate that there is a miniature sweater knitter in the world. That movie would have been slightly less perfect if she would have chosen to become a Journalist or a Blogger or something. I also recommend looking at her online gallery of work.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Her Royal Highness, Queen of Public Transit

I think it was the 61f that I was on just now. There I encountered this elegant woman in a royal, white, hairy sweater jacket carrying a scepter in the crook of her arm. The passengers rightfully relinquished the coveted front seats.

At first I thought the scepter was a ruby encrusted silver cane, but I think it was actually an umbrella.

I'm so glad I got up the courage to take a picture. I don't have a camera phone so when I'm capturing essences without permission I can't be very covert. Against my specific instructions the flash went off, but her majesty was unphased. She's probably accustomed to paparazzi.

I'm starting to get all nostalgic because I'm leaving Pittsburgh in a month and may never live here again. I'm going to State College for lord knows how long and perhaps it's the Port Authority that I'll miss most of all. Literally. Tearing up thinking about it.

sweater vests as fuel for political performance art

During the Canadian Federal Elections last year, Marg Princess Warrior (Mary Walsh) burned pale blue sweater vests in twisted effigy of Stephen Harper, conservative, incumbent Prime Minister. I've never actually used "effigy" in a sentence before, so here's to hoping I've done a respectable job, eh?

"Does he think that putting on a blue sweater vest is going to make us think 'my goodness, what a kind-hearted, cozy, cute little PM?' And forget all about the fact of his soul sucking evil work of planning to put fourteen-year-olds in jail for the rest of their lives?"

Marg Princess Warrior: The Stephen Harper Sweater Vest Bonfire from NL PRESS on Vimeo.

That "eh" was too much, right? I'm such a spaz.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I recently found out that my parents are putting their house on the market this spring. They've been planning to move to Northern Pa to be closer to my father's job. He's been commuting to Corning, NY for a few years, since the State College factory closed. So this will be my last Christmas in the house I grew up in. Everything is happening too fast.

This is a picture of the book pile in my old bedroom. Not to be arrogant but it was hands-down the best bedroom in the world. My mom and I painted clouds on the ceiling when I was in fifth grade; I think we were inspired by a Sherwin Williams commercial. I made those woodland creatures to be chess pieces during the art camp I taught when I lived at home two summers ago. No sweaters, just a little insight into the life of your narrator.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today on Modcloth.com

The only thing I've ever bought from Modcloth.com was a clear plastic umbrella with goldfish printed on it. It ended up costing me over $200 because I overdrew my bank account and had fees. Banking is for the birds. Anyway, I love everything they sell, even though I can't afford much of it. Today they're is an amazing angora and wool cardigan that I needed to repost. Here is how they sell it.

"We won't be surprised if you end up in front of a street style camera in this grey, wool and rabbit hair blend cardigan! This printed cardi is overflowing with features to make it an instant wardrobe classic. An oversized fit and ribbed hem and sleeve cuffs are sure to provide a cozy, comfortable fit [...] Delve your hands into the deep kangaroo pockets, throw up the roomy hood, and zip up the hidden, silver, center zipper before you embark on your day of fabulous fashion fun!"

Can they write any more sickeningly cute? I still love the site. It's like looking at Vogue, you're not going to buy anything but the pictures are almost enough.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Aran Island Sweater

This is a water proof sweater, because it's made of lanolin. Click on this image to make it larger. You really need to see the details to understand the significance of the pattern. Rick bought this sweater from a woman in a one-and-a-half story cottage on Aran Island when he was sixteen. It was white then.

According to Rick, all of the families on the island have their own pattern. The fishermen wear these sweaters to sea, and if they shipwreck, they can be identified by their family's pattern. The central pop-corn panel represents a field and the hope that it will end up being full. The diamonds represent nets for industry and enterprise. These nets are empty, signifying that the family is not wealthy. The cables separating the panels represent strength and steadfastness.

I found a site (clanarans.com) that sells Aran Island sweaters and it looks to me like this one is from the Murphy Clan. If you have an Irish last name (I don't) you can look up your family's pattern on the site. It's exciting that a sweater can have so much cultural significance.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Green Popcorn Sweater Jacket

Jess and I sit one cubicle apart at work, where we try to raise money for nonprofits over the phone. According to her, our high pitched voices play off of each other until we are both very extremely squeaky. "You already contributed to the Nation Associates? Well consider this a thank you call and remember, The Nation is nearly 800,000 dollars in debt thanks to Time Warner."

She wore this Kelly green sweater on Thor's day this week. So far, this is my favorite on the blog. I've never seen anything this good at goodwill, but she claims that's where it's from. The only problem with it is that it stretches like gak.

White Guess (Wrap)

I'm kind of at a loss. This sweater isn't very unusual, but how do I classify it? Not a cardigan, too long and no buttons. But not really a shall or a wrap. Not a poncho. I guess I've been pretending to have a better sweater vocabulary than I do.

This is Megan. I noticed her studying in the Great Room of the Cathedral of Learning. She took a very long time fixing her headband for the picture.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weddings and Cardigans

Scot Huber has some very pretty photographs of cardigans at a wedding. I knew him many years ago when I worked in Dorchester for a summer.

Sweater Habitats

A million people, at least (at least) have said to me, "ellen, I wish I could have my own sweater blog. I really think it's such a crucial thing to document all of the sweaters out there, and you can't do it all by yourself. But where would I look for people wearing sweaters? I'm just no good at it."

Usually I walk away after muttering something about the shackles of my responsibility, but now I hope to put your insecurities at rest. Here are the top 5 places to find people wearing sweaters.

1. Your local, independently owned coffee shop.
2. The English Department of any respectable university.
3. Any public broadcasting station.
4. For many copies of the same sweater, try a private high school.
5. At a bus stop near any location on this list.

But the best sweaters are the ones that pop up when you don't expect them to. So this list is completely worthless! Hahahaha.

Just keep a camera with you at all times and tell me if you actually do start a sweater blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Horizontal Stripe Cardigan

Went to an awesome lecture tonight with Urban SA. It was given by Franklin Toker, at Carnegie Music Hall. He covered the history of Pittsburgh's landscape and architecture since the ice age.

Then Nathan (a very enthusiastic freshman in the urban studies program(not yet actually, technically)) and I went to Kiva Han where I saw this gentleman and his STUNNING red cardigan. He was leaving so I only got his name and one fact. Eddie and he likes bright colors.

But the good news is I think I've gotten my confidence back with regard to asking strangers in sweaters to pose for pictures. If you've been keeping track, this is actually only the third sweater I've approached without prior knowledge of the wearer. I've really passed up a lot of good ones because by the time I've gotten my courage up the person has walked away or started a cell phone conversation.

Watch people when they aren't with anyone. Most don't go more than three minutes without calling someone. And that is my commentary on contemporary culture for the day.

Warm Day, English Class Attack!

The weather is like summer time today! But it's been so cold that everyone is being cautious. No coats, but still that one protective sweater layer. I had my Writing Youth Lit class again (and omg someone had to drop because she plagiarized her piece!). It is a sweater mecca.

So here are two selections. Sarah is a brilliant student who plans to become an English teacher. Like me she hates wearing pants and loves cardigans. She said this outfit was her joyous response to the warm weather. She reminds me of the not pregnant version of my ninth grade English teacher, Miss Rito. This is a little creepy, but I'm going to go there. We had a World Literature in English class together last spring and I drew a portrait of her in pen from across the room during a lecture, because she has a very nice face. I'll try to find that notebook...

And here is Colleen. This is one of my very favorite sweaters and I think it looks very sporty with those blue shorts. She got it at Forever 21. We met during the Red Eye Theater project last spring. In 48 hours students write and produce plays. I got the key to the props room! I think Colleen was on the stage crew. But she is also a very entertaining actress and killed the "Because he liked to look at it" sketch (that might not be the exact title) in the Vagina Monologues.

Lost Pink Knit Mitten

I frequently see adorable little children wearing the cutest little sweaters. But what would I say to their parents to get them on this blog? "Hi, I'd like to take a picture of your child and put it on the internet." I don't think they would be cool with it. So this lost little mitten is the best I can do. Imagine it on the small little hand of a three year old girl whose eyes look as dumb as a pug's. Or just imagine a pug wearing this mitten because that is even better.

I really like pugs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honey I Shrunk the Kids

Writing a blog can be a guilt trip. How many have you seen where the most recent post goes like this, "I've been so bad at posting lately! I promise I'll get better soon!" and then no more posts.

It's like a disease. I haven't posted in a week (which is very bad because I'm working on this for a class) and of all people Rick Moranis is the one to remind me how negligent I've been. How? Why? Because there are at least four ridiculous 80's sweaters in that terrible little movie, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, which I watched on a movie marathon night this weekend. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I could find. But the neighbor's wife had a crazy floral pullover and Wayne's wife had several very matronly sweaters.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Maroon Avalon Pullover

Alex dates back to the days of State High Art Club. The day I met him he invited my sister and I to see Bright Eyes in Philadelphia. Which we did. Now we go to college together. And have similar taste in sweaters. Look at that thing! It's basically a maroon version of the blue one in my profile picture.

Alex what are you even majoring in? I have no idea.

You'll probably be seeing him again, because he claims to have many great sweaters. So for now, I'll leave the rest unsaid.

Dumb and Dumber Joke

"Oh, it's a Cardigan, but thanks!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Banana Republic's Casual Black Pullover

Mario told me that he bought this sweater this week for his new temp job where the dress code it business casual. We work nights together where that certainly isn't the dress code.

They told him the temp position could lead to a more permanent position. That wasn't true and apparently his sweater is also simply casual, and not business. A disappointing day for Mario all around.

But brush it off, Mario, because you still have all of your talents. I've heard him, his Spanish is amazing. And his English skills are pretty night too. I think he was a national political debate champion. But my favorite talent of his is really more of an interest. He reads at least a novel a day and has incredible knowledge of English and Spanish literature. So hire him already! Why can't any of us get good jobs.

Blue Cardigan

I think I'll keep going in reverse chronological order. This is Hadley who is frequently at my house. She came downstairs this morning looking very sweet with her hair in a black ribbon and this blue cardigan. And that's all the information I have on this one. I've been overwhelmed by sweaters this week and it slipped my mind to ask anything.

My best guess it that it came from Forever 21, because I know she's worked there (and maybe still does).

Hadley was among the masses of students who got arrested during the G20 and it looks like they aren't going to drop the charges. Seriously, how could anyone believe that she was a threat to society?

BC Ethic Mohair, Mesh Pullover

I have 3 more sweaters to post that I encountered before this one, but the story that goes with this one is exactly the sort of sweater story I was hoping for when I started this blog. That equals TOP priority.

Put your mind back to the early 2000s, if you will. I was in middle school, but Steve was living a raver's life, hard. One morning after being awake for 16 hours, in a trippy sort of state, he realized that his house was oppressivly boring.

At the time, Pittsburgh's Avalon Exchange (something like 90 percent of the sweaters on this blog have come from that store) was not a consignment shop. It sold new clothes designed to make your eyes spin in glowstick filled crowds. Steve, bored to death after 16 hours, but unable to sleep, decided that going to Avalon was his answer. The new problem was that when he got there, it hadn't opened yet.

I would have looked for some other entertainment at that point, but Steve is clearly more passionate about his outerwear. He sat down on the curb and waited for over 2 hours until they opened.

And he was rewarded with this stripy little number. These days he's a fashionable supervisor at my office with a well developed catch phrase for any bad situation, "It could be worse, it's not like there are Nazi's killing all the Jews."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chuck's Farm Pullover

Madness. A muddy farm covered with 500 people selling and using drugs while Chuck, a tall, bearded man of 50 years, stands on a tractor, crazily plowing around their campsites. Oh, and he's carrying a plastic cup and a gasoline canister while he does it and asking everyone not to drive onto his squash. It's a music festival (sort of) but it's free and no one really cares about the bands. Kids walk around openly doing wip-its and selling mushrooms out of vans.

Richard, my friend eloquently postured on his 1988 Volks Wagon, made in Brazil, managed to be the craziest person that I saw the whole time. And I'm pretty used to his tricks.

I haven't seen this sweater since last March. It's a straight forward tweedy looking blue, gold, black and maroon pullover.

Sylver and Black Flying-V Pullover

This is Renee, one of those people I like and am destined to continually run into around Pittsburgh, but never really get to know. I don't like that state of acquaintanceship, it feels inadequate. I suppose it's very difficult to be friends with everyone who is friendly; where would you get the time? I don't know anyone with that kind of open schedule. Think of all the texting and coffee meeting you would have to do. Unfathomable.

She was wearing this outfit on Thursday (I've been away adventuring). She got the sweater a few weeks ago at Goodwill. It looks very comfortable and is unusual enough to attract attention--two solid criteria for a decent sweater.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Diamond Anthroplogie Cardigan

Siobhan Vivian is the author of A Little Friendly Advice and Same Difference. She is also my professor for Writing Youth Literature and the person who revealed to me the biggest hoax in the history of the literary world.

It is this: there are publishing companies where people write entire plots for novels and then other writers write the actual words. Just to be clear, THIS WAS NOT THE CASE FOR THE TWO AFOREMENTIONED, SIOBHAN VIVIAN NOVELS.

But, really, how lame is that. The company decides what sort of novels they think will sell and then just manufacture plots. Then a "writer" fills in the details. It's like popular music only more heartbreaking because it's not common knowledge. I guess I should have known, with so much shit in bookstores. In a way it's reassuring. The majority of English language novelists aren't just getting dumber than they were in days of Dickens, Woolf, Lawrence or Hemingway. The market is just inundated with mass production.

Well, forget about that for now, because Ms. Vivian is definitely my style of writing teacher. Finally someone who won't let the writer talk during workshop. What I really like is that when a student produces something not up to class standards, she doesn't hold back. She tells them to redo it, please. AND we get graded for the notes we give other students about their work, which I love because it motivates lazy people (including me) to actually think about the writing and spend time on their comments. In those respects she's similar to Janet Kafka, who is my all time favorite.

I've basically just been waiting for Siobhan to wear an exciting sweater to class and today it paid off. Check it out, a colorful cardigan from Anthropologie that she got for half price because her friend works for the company. I need Anthropologie connections.

I also wanted to post this really great missing cat poster that I saw on my way to work yesterday. It's sad that Leo is missing, but how brilliant is that sketch!

Target Wins Again

This could work, and it's 20 dollars at Target. Unless I have amazing thrift store luck I'll probably have to drop that kind of dough.

Maximum Authority Wielding Best Student Council Cardigan

Halloween is my very favorite holiday, but I NEVER think of a costume until the day before. Listen to what I've been the past three years: a monkey (the most thought out), a communist panda (that consisted of a panda mask I had from the San Diego Zoo and my red good-night clothes), and a giraffe (pretty much just brown permanent marker splotches and high heels). But this year I'm doing it right (and I'm going to be something human). I'm going to be lady Kanade Jinguji, President of the Miagamy Academy, Maximum Authority Wielding, Best Student Council. Otherwise known as THE BEST STUDENT COUNCIL!

Lost? Probably. Ley me catch you up. This week my boyfriend and I got hooked on this super-fun anime series, Best Student Council and watched the whole thing. I really recommend it. The story is ridiculous and so funny and there is this latent lesbian undertone that is so cute and also surprisingly hot for such an innocent cartoon. Anyway the point is that, as part of the Miyagami Academy uniform, all of the girls wear one of the best sweaters imaginable.

Its a yellow cardigan (my favorite incarnation of the sweater) with red trim. I think I'll have to make one by altering another sweater. I've also scouted out purple hair dye. Ok, so they might actually be wearing blazers, but mine is going to be a sweater, because no one is going to know who I'm supposed to be anyway!

On a final note, the best compliment I ever got was from my boyfriend's little brother. He and his friends were visiting us in Pittsburgh and they all thought I was asleep, but I wasn't. I was faking. Our apartment was a big efficiency so there was no wall between the living room and bedroom. Our guests were talking when Noah said, "tonight I realized that Ellen reminds me of an anime character." I was smiling all the way into sleep!

[image uploaded by tangsoopap on pgotobucket.com]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Sweater Curse

If you hand-knit a sweater for someone you are dating, you are doomed to a sudden break-up.
The legend of the sweater curse has gotten a lot of blog press over the years and there are many first hand accounts of the phenomenon, online. A certain Ms. Dean actually uses it as a relationship test (read here). It has its own very thorough and serious Wikipedia article. I advise you to read that article in its entirety so that you are fully warned and prepared, but here are some highlights:
"The significant other may simply not want to wear anything hand-knit. A hand-knit sweater can also subject them to ridicule, either because the sweater looks bad (i.e., poorly made or unfashionable) or conveys overly domestic connotations."
Also, "a sweater may not suit the intended recipient's clothing style or it could make them uncomfortably hot."
"No controlled studies have investigated this phenomenon, and the available evidence is largely anecdotal , which is generally of low reliability due to cognitive bias."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Charcoal J. Crew Cardigan

In two days the G20 will turn Pittsburgh upside down as thousands of protesters from across the country and the world descend upon us. Most likely some of them are going to smash things. Some will probably light fires. A lot of them are going to have dreads. But, before the anarchy begins, I want to make a pro-dreadlocks public service announcement: Friends, you can have a regular job, and even become a supervisor of non-dreaded human beings with nappy hair.
It's great right? This is Melissa, a supervisor at the telephone fund raising company where I work, taking a smoke-break in her Charcoal gray sweater by J. Crew. Do you know what else she's doing? See that orb spider at the top of the post? She's seriously involved in watching it eat a large stink bug. This is no casual smoke-break spider observation. Insects and arachnids are her fascination and her bogymen. Last week she somehow attracted a praying mantis to the parking garage and tonight she spotted the biggest spider I've ever seen outside of a terrarium. At her house, she and her roommates catch moths in jars and fling them (the moths, not the jars) at orb spider webs. Then they vicariously enjoy the feast.
In sweater related news, she picked up the cardigan for 2 dollars and says she wears it, like, everyday.

For more advice on doing the corporate thing with dreadlocks

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vintage Art Deco Argyle Pullover in Mint Grey

Here is Jill who got this sweater 4 days ago at Avalon Exchange. As soon as I took this picture a friend texted me that I had just taken a picture of his/her (anonymity is crucial in these situations) crush for my sweater blog. Jill has graciously allowed me to email her with any further questions...finally giving me the chance to think out a post about someone I don't know, so that will be coming later. I wanted to get this up before I found another sweater and became overwhelmed by acyrilics. Who knows, maybe there will even a love story if this anonymous texter is successfully smooth and his/her friends don't announce these things on their sweater blogs before the proper times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Okra Target Cardigan

Kirstin, a senior art student at the University of Pittsburgh, picked this Okra-colored cardigan at target while she was still in high school. Even now, she wears it multiple times a week. Multiple times a week (I've decided) is one of the requirements for "favorite sweater" status. Favorite sweaters must be worn until you can smell them from a two feet away (because no one who doesn't already like you should be getting that closer than that) and then you wash them.

My picture doesn't show it, but the shoulders are puckery where they meet the sleeves and there is a small pocket on the front. Kirstin says that warmth is one of her top two criteria for when sweater shopping and the other is color.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nathan's Vintage Commodity Exchange Acrylic Sweater

This is Nathan in his favorite (and only) sweater. He says it makes him feel like a spiritual guide, like it's something a priest would wear. Here he has paired it with his delicately pin-striped pajama pants. It is truly one of his favorite outfits. While "in-between-jobs," as he currently is, Nathan likes to wear his sweater to eat beans and bread, watch Survivor Man and read Wikipedia articles about Romans. He says he also likes to wipe his hands on it because it's like a nice big rag.
Since this is his only sweater, and he probably won't be making another appearance on People Wearing Sweaters, I think I'll take the opportunity to say a little bit about him. This morning he made really good sunny-side up eggs and coffee for me, because he is my boyfriend. He does other things because he is my boyfriend. Such as getting me small items at the Walgreen's and rationing the amount of ice cream that I can eat. Goodbye, Nathan. Thanks for being on my blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Navy Blue Sisley Cardigan

About once a day I see a person so well put together that I have wonder how they do it. Do they spend 40 minutes trying on clothes every day to achieve a polished outcome? Do all of their things just go together? How do they keep everything clean and pressed? Do they view dressing well as a commitment like a part time job?
I can barely manage to look classy in the three days following my biweekly clothes washing ritual. By the end of my laundry cycle I'm wearing sparkly pink skirts pulled from the bowels of my closet matched (mismatched) with strange t-shirts from second hand shops. There is no continuity with me. I can't imagine these enigmas ever having a badly styled day.
Today I fell off the bus in Shadyside to find that I was standing next to Kashif, one of those mysteriously elegant gentlemen.
And he was wearing, among other things, a sweater.
He said he was on his way to work at the United Colors of Benetton on Walnut Street, so I didn't keep him long. He was wearing a navy blue cardigan from Sisley, a United Colors sister company. Kashif came into possession of this cardigan a month ago but was debuting it today because the weather was cool enough. Sadly, he lost a red cardigan recently, but assured me that he would "probably get another one." If I find him at a good time again, I'll have to ask him what his dry-cleaning schedule looks like.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vintage JC Penny Blue and White Scholarly Sweater

Fall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is chilly and densely populated by people wearing sweaters. Believing that inside of each sweater there is a story, I am searching for the most cute, pretentious, eccentric and ugly sweaters in town so that I can discover a little bit about who is inside. No one is safe. Not G20 protesters, or professors, or weird little dogs. But to be fair (to myself) my sweater is up first.

My boyfriend took me to the Avalon Exchange for my birthday last year and said I could pick out some things from him as a gift. He talked me into this blue and white sweater with a scholarly posture. I can create surveys, write grants and plan for focus groups with practically the cast of a glance when I wear it. It cost between 8 and 12 US dollars when we picked it up in March 2009. I know I'm not giving away any secret when I say that Avalon is tight like that.

But currently it’s all full of sand. Why? On a wet June night I loaned it to a friend at Bonnaroo. She battled her way to the front of an epic Nine Inch Nails show while I pushed through a crowd of 20-something, California bros to see one of my (now ex-) favorite bands, MGMT. Maybe it was because I was sweaterless, but it was probably because I read more into Time to Pretend than MGMT put there that I was disillusioned. It was a devastatingly low-energy performance that sounded very little like the album and not at all exciting. While I was getting tossed about at MGMT, my friend Maggie was getting too warm for my sweater over at Nine Inch Nails. She took it off and set it on the ground. There it was promptly stomped into the wet sand by hundreds of steel toes. I’ve washed it three times, twice by itself, but I still think it looks slightly brown. Loaning it to her wasn’t the biggest mistake I made at Bonnaroo, but it has had a longer effect than that bunk acid I blew money on or that little indiscretion in the tent. The Sweater is still sandy, my boyfriend forgave me months ago.

I wore the sweater today for my first day of classes and someone told me it reminded her of blue berry muffins. Thanks, I agree.