If you saw me any time in the past three months, I was undoubtedly wearing black leggings, low-heeled boots, and a very fuzzy charcoal turtleneck. I figure that this ensemble is good for at least five more weeks of constant wear before I'll have to replace it with something less wintry. I'm already pondering what that might be, without enthusiasm.
Here's the sweater, bought deeply on sale in early December at J. Crew:
It's a merino-alpaca blend, with a soft, bouclé-like (and slightly hairy) texture. Its fluffiness means it pills like mad, especially with daily wear. I occasionally rake it into submission with a de-pilling comb, but it can always use an hour of meticulous de-pilling by hand. I never bother, except to pull off any that resemble caterpillars.
You may be relieved to hear that I throw it in the wash even though it's supposed to be dry-cleaned. It comes out fine, and for a few days it doesn't smell like chicken soup or whatever I've been cooking.
I've never worn anything continuously like this since I spent 12 years in school uniforms. I claimed to hate them, but saw uniforms as a creative challenge in those days. I learned to bend the nuns' rules without breaking them. In high school, I wore my brown serge jumper with billowy-sleeved crèpe-de-Chine blouses, cuff links, sheer nylons, and high heels while other girls wore button-downs, knee socks, and loafers. I must have burned up my lifetime sartorial candle from both ends back then because I have never looked so consistently chic or unique since. On the other hand, I spent my weekends in things like overalls and Earth shoes. Uniforms can be a salvation for people for me.
I have this idea that I am going to wear this sweater until its physical demise, that it will disintegrate into a pill of woolly shreds one day, or spontaneously combust, leaving a few chicken-scented ashes. I believe that it's absorbed both my DNA and personality to the point where we're related now. I could be cloned from this sweater, but it would be far nicer to clone Possum instead. He has left lots of DNA and fur on it because he loves to lie on me/it for petting sessions and naps, stretched out from neck to hem.
I am finally getting a bit tired of its charcoal drabness, but it still strikes me as perfect. It's just long and fitted enough to look slimming. I never have to tug it down. It's warm; I can pull the sleeves over my hands. The turtleneck is floppy enough that I can pull it up to cover my ears and nose when I'm freezing. But it's not hot. I have heavier turtlenecks that roast me on all but the bitterest days.
As I've said before, I could never be one of those women who blogs about wearing the same dress for a year, changing it with creative accessories and shoes each day. I don't accessorize well; the result would be a boring blog about happily wearing the exact same thing every day... imagine that. I do occasionally tie on a wool scarf if I'm going out.
I love beautiful clothes and observing the whims of fashion, but I have never dipped more than a toe in the sea of designer labels. Practicality, price, and comfort matter to me at least as much. So I guess a "uniform" makes a lot of sense in my case, despite years of rebelling against the concept. I don't know what my spring look will be, but it will certainly include flip flops and exclude charcoal gray.