De- frosting the freeze...
I'm sitting here this evening contemplating what to write about in this ,the first of my New Year 2018 blog posts. I considered writing about new trends for 2018 and how best to work them, I also considered another quirky history post.........
I then thought hell........ Its freezing outside (at least it is in Ireland) and the forecast for the next few weeks is arctic conditions with impending snow. Who really wants to know about Spring/Summer 2018 fashion trends at this moment in time.....
Most people want to stay snug and warm and get on with their daily lives in January trying to stay flu free and avoid the blues. However, there are a few stylish tricks that can be applied to do this from whatever you happen to have in your existing wardrobe right now.
Everyone ( In cold climates) has a sweater or two tucked away in their closets. Even better if they happen to be bright and cheery with embellishments or a vivid hue. I'm a great fan of the sweater or Jumper (as we like to refer to them here in Ireland) and they can as easily be dressed up as they can be worn casual.
I like to include in my January wardrobe anything twinkly that I had worn over the festive season. Apart from obviously Xmas slogan sweaters anything else sparkly or embellished should be worn with gusto in January (one of the bleakest Months of the Year in most countries weather wise). Shimmering your way through the coldest month of the winter is one of the best ways I can think of to kick January's arse into the long awaited spring.......!!!!!!! Ha Ha Ha!
A combination of embellishments and colours will do wonders for our "spirits" this month and what better way to do it than in a bright sparkly sweater bringing good cheer to the wearer while staying snug at the same time. Sweaters as we know come in all shapes and styles nowadays and in particular this winter season we saw the return of the "oversized" sweater.
This particular style can be tricky to pull off particularly if you are petite like myself. However, it didn't discourage me from the tempting offer of a good bargain during the winter sales. Before I knew it I had purchased a vivid blue sweater dress made from the most gorgeous sparkly wool mix in the H&M flagship store in Dame Street in Dublin.
The oversized sweater was reduced from €39.99 to...................€12!!!!!!!! So hey, I figured for that price I ain't gonna fret if it overwhelms me. So I hotfooted it in the direction of the till and before I knew it the frivilous sweater was mine. On my way home I thought about how I could make it work for me and decided that a belt was the way to go.
The colour of the blue is so rich and uplifting that when I wear the sweater I immediately feel happier and so as a result of this the sweater seems to work. Such is the power of colour. I did a post back in 2016 about the effect of colour in our lives and how important it is to include it. This can be achieved in many ways, be it in our clothing choices or including colour in our homes. Simply by adding a bunch of flowers or on a grander scale coloured upcycled (repurposed) furniture or soft furnishings we can "uplift" our spirits in more ways than even we realise.
This sweater dress can work for any shape or size too. If you happen to be taller with long legs it will work beautifully in its natural state ie loose with no belt needed. If you are a larger size it will also work with a belt defining those curves. If you decide to purchase a new sweater this month (and I hope you do and that its full of vivid colours) there are amazing reductions on the high street right now. Sweaters are the one item that are reduced significantly in the winter sales as they are too bulky and warm (hopefully we won't still be wearing them in June!!!...LOL) to be held over on the shop floor.
A few little known facts about the history of the Sweater..... (I know I could't resist Ha Ha!) The Sweater was originally made by the wives of fishermen and sailors from natural wool as it contained natural oils which protected the sea faring men from the cold even when the Sweaters were wet. Which meant that when the men sweated into the wool it still didn't chill them but retained its heat. Because of this unique quality the wearing of the "Sweater" among workmen quickly spread throughout Europe . In the 1890s it was adopted by athletes in the United States and officially called a Sweater.
In the 1920s it became a fashion item and was adopted by the likes of Coco Chanel . She liked to wear a lot of male style clothing trends and adopt them to suit her own style and lifestyle needs. So of course the "Sweater" got the "Coco makeover". She was first seen in a mans sweater which she styled by rolling up the sleeves and wearing a thin belt to cinch it in at the waist and giving her silhoutte definition.This was one of her personal favourite looks and of course it wasn't long before thousands of women were copying her take on the wearing of the Sweater.
The wartime years of the 1940s saw the emergence of the Hollywood"Sweater Girl". This was a very provocative image that was worn by the starlets of the time and again copied the world over. It consisted of a fine wool knit sweater or twinset ( A short sleeved top and cardigan set) worn over a very pointed cupped bra. By today's standards it would be innocent enough but at the time caused a lot of controversy. One of the Hollywood movie stars that adapted this style was the actress Lana Turner and she became known as "The Sweater Girl".
The Beatnik set of the 1950s era adapted the wearing of the black crew/polo neck sweater and it became an iconic look. It was further enhanced by the likes of Audrey Hepburn who loved the look in her normal life as well as on screen. She worn this look to perfection in the movie Funny Face in 1957 when she becomes involved with a group of arty beatniks ( A media sterotype belonging to the sub-culture Beat literary group.)
The 1960s and 70s saw the emergence and growth of Italian style and also the wearing of a more relaxed and casual style in clothing. This was great news for the knitwear industry and in particular the sweater. It was designed and worn in all patterns and guises. Designers such as Sonia Rykiel, Missoni and Halston all pioneered the humble Jumper. They tweaked and enhanced it as it became a massive heavy weight on the fashion scene.
In particular the 1970s/1980s designer Roy Halston Frowick known simply as Halston created turtle necks, sweaters, sweater sets, and used knitwear fabric to make jersey trousers and Jackets. The sweater had never been so fabulous and with a huge variety of dye colours and designs the possibilities were endless. The revival of the "craft era" in the 1980s has further augmented the popularity of the sweater and the hand knitted garment has had a complete makeover with intricate designs and graphic prints and colours.
The 1990s and noughties has seen the sweater as popular as it has ever been . Quirky takes on it such as the Sweater dress and various cropped styles ensure the continuing endurance and versatility of this great garment. It can be adapted to any era and had proven a strong contender in its role as a timeless classic.
Today in 2018 the sweater is abundant in its style offerings. The oversized style of the 1980s has made a nostalgic return to our lives. This time around with gusto. The high street is full of avant garde styles with graphic printing and metallic yarns in a variety of rainbow colours. Anything you Sweater loving heart desires is out there for you to seek. No doubt this great garment will continue to merge with the ever changing fashion world. It remains one of my favourite pieces of clothing and like Chanel..... I wouldn't be without it.
What are your thoughts on the humble and not so humble sweater.... Love to know in the comments.
Talk soon . LOVE XXX VIOLINKIT.