Friday, August 10, 2012

Paean to a Navy Cashmere V-Neck

It's been so long since I last posted on What I Wore. In my penultimate such post, I was pondering a certain fatigue with WIW posts in general, my own in particular. At the time, I was fairly confident this was a temporary response, and I still suspect it is, but I'm surprised at how long it's lasted.

And it's extended to shopping, although this is as much a function of circumstance as of resolve to stay out of the shops. I'm generally just preferring to stay on our little island, where there's no commerce at all. Luckily, I'm not keen on mail-order shopping for clothes. And when we've been in Vancouver this summer, we're generally there with a full calendar of family obligations to attend to.

Not that I haven't picked up a few pieces. I did grab a gauzy, ethnic-printed tunic on sale at Club Monaco last week, and earlier in the summer I bought two dresses, one of which has been perfect for any summer-festive occasion I've had the pleasure of dressing up for.

But I've learned something about me and summer dressing. First of all, summer clothes are often so tempting in their colours and breezy shapes, delectably cool textures -- piqué, seersucker, eyelet -- but they're so much kinder on firmer, younger figures. Second, I love summer prints passionately, but can too easily end up in Artsy Cousin territory, with a strong dollop of almost-Frowsy-Comic rather than any High Wasp restraint.

And finally, my lifestyle in the summer means that most of my wardrobe languishes unworn. I picked up several beautiful white linen pieces in Paris a few years ago. I've worn the dress four or five times (had to find a slip to wear underneath it -- not as bold as those Frenchwomen!). I finally got the wide-legged pants hemmed earlier this summer, thinking that perhaps I'd wear them more if I could wear them with flats. But there hasn't been an appropriate occasion since, although I could swan around the garden in them, I suppose, lounge down on my colourful beach chairs reading my Dickens' title of the summer.

So what do I end up wearing? Well, here's me heading to town the other day. And yet again, I'm wearing the navy cashmere v-neck I bought at Eric Bompard in Paris this past spring. It's the lightweight version, and I bought it one size too big, in the Large, so that it's got a comfortable bit of slouch. Because it's so light, with the sleeves easily pushed back, it's suitable to wear even in low 20s temps.

And it's so delicious to the hand. Seriously, I can't resist sneaking a little pat here, a stroke there. And do you agree with me that it polishes up an otherwise-potentially-sloppy pair of boyfriend jeans rather nicely? I've also thrown it over my navy-and-white striped jersey maxidress, over a sleeveless shift, with my denim pencil skirt, with printed "flouncier" skirts. Indeed, I'd say there's not much that can't be tidied up to smart or dialled down to casual with the simple addition of this magic ingredient.

You might argue that the same effect could be achieved at a lower price point in a different yarn -- a silk-cotton blend for summer, or wool-silk, or light merino for fall/winter. And I would agree that you could get this same look, less expensively. But not the same effect. Because for me, something about this sweater is transformative, its quality felt from the inside out. I wear it with a keen sense of pleasure not only in the worth of its fabric and its construction. I also wear its affirmation that I thought I was worth spending the difference on. Not that its price was especially astronomical, but it took a deep breath or two, and it had to be rationalized by thinking ahead to how much it would continue to please me. Somehow, I believe that my conviction about the sweater's worth, coupled by its reminder that I deserve such worth, results in a difference to my overall demeanor, however subtle, when its part of my outfit.

And just it case you think that I've spent more than I need only to end up with a sweater that needs tender laundering . . . this goes in the delicate cycle of my washing machine -- cool water, gentle soap -- then gets blocked into shape on a drying rack and is usually ready for wear by the next morning. So far, I've probably worn it twenty times in the two and a half months we've been back, and I've washed it four or five times. There's no sign at all that hand-washing is hard on it, no sign that steady wear is doing anything but making it softer.
Indeed, the sweater is a testimony to the notion of paying more for fewer, higher-quality garments. In fact, I'm pleased to note that I find that to be true of almost everything I'm wearing in this post. Want a rundown?
Besides my Bompard v-neck, I'm wearing Current/Elliott boyfriend jeans I've had for several years (and WIW-posted about before).
My Wendy Brandes gold fleur-de-lis necklace has become an almost-daily accessory -- I love its elegant simplicity, the nod to my francophile leanings.
My Hermes double-tour is another reminder of the value of "more with less," a cherished gift from a generous partner.
The M0851 bag is fading into an odd but interesting colour from its initial Tomato -- it's summer-casual, and will be replaced by its black counterpart in a few more weeks. The style, I believe has been discontinued. Too bad, because I find it works as well as a trusted Executive Assistant on my behalf.
And the loafers, ah the loafers! I love these so much, these Fluevog beauties, that I don't even mind that they're now on sale at considerably less than I paid for them (not in my size, so I was right to snap them up at full price.)  I wear these with jeans, with skirts, with skinny, with bootcut. Did I mention that I love them! These and my Birkenstocks are what I've lived in this summer.

So there you have it. Still hanging out in jeans and navy, as when I began pondering the WIW earlier this summer. I've yet to know whether my style-posting ennui will pass eventually, although I suspect that to be the case. Meanwhile, though, I'm considering abandoning any LBDs in favour of the TNCP (trusty navy cashmere pullover). . . . What about you? How has summer* challenged or clarified your wardrobe priorities?


*and I should hasten to note that summer was very late in arriving here, in anything other than an inconsiderately temperate form that make cashmere not only tolerable but often almost necessary. Over the last week, finally, my v-neck is only coming out in the late evenings and early mornings. And I don't mind at all.

26 comments:

  1. Is it too late? I'm sure, now, that I need one of these - but where, in Victoria? As I prepare for September in Europe I find myself, not for the first time, asking 'WHY??' when I know that September will require too many clothes, too many layers as the weather inevitably swings from cold rain to sweltering humidity.
    I love your Island Summer look.

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    1. Hmmm, one of those great Brit-style shops (used to be?) on Government should have classic cashmere v-necks, no?

      I hear you on that shoulder season travel -- find the same thing in May when it can be low teens up to mid 20s . . . .Still, such fun to plan for!
      And you could always plan on making a cashmere purchase over there . . .

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  2. What a great casual go-to-town look. You look pulled together, very relaxed-chic. I love cashmere, but can't wear it. Within 30 seconds I'm pulling it over my head, itching to death. I can only wear them with something underneath - arms, torso, neck, everything.

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    1. Thanks, Lorrie. And sorry about the cashmere itch! Obviously that's not a delicious fabric to you.

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  3. You look fabulous. This is such a great, practical but still quite stylish and individual look. You're right, there's little the right navy v-neck can't do. I'm still kicking myself for not getting to Bompard on our last Paris visit. I have one of their silk/cashmere blend navy V's, which fits and feels like a dream but pills disappointingly. And those shoes...eeeeee! (That's me making a fangurl squealie noise.) OMG, they have my size...... would you tolerate us being shoe twins again??

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    1. Go for it, girlfriend! Fluevog twins For the Win!!

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  4. Oh, and I love that new blue background color, very serene.

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    1. Thanks -- I'm trying out a new template, finally, and this just came with, but seems to suit nicely.

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  5. You look terrific! You know, until I saw you in your sweater, I TOTALLY forgot that I bought the same one (more or less) at Holt's a couple of months ago. Egad. How first-world princess of me. Now I cannot wait to wear it! Oh, and you will get NO argument from me about the superiority of cashmere. There is no fabric that compares.

    Lorrie: I'm so sorry you have an allergy to it!

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    1. I've done exactly the same thing, forgetting I've got some garment that's actually pretty decent. I'm trying to sort out why that is and edit, edit, edit!
      Interesting to research reactions to cashmere/wool -- I do wonder if a finer (probably plus cher product is the answer -- apparently the itch/pricking has to do with how many microns thick the fibre is and ideally, cashmere much finer than wool, hair, etc.

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  6. I love the look with your sweater and jeans. It's perfect for Vancouver Island. I dress in a similar way when I'm here, but sadly not with your terrific Bompard sweater!
    I totally agree, you can't get the same effect, internally, with lower quality. Whenever I've treated myself to something luxurious and high quality, it just feels better inside and out.

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    1. It's like the Clairol commercial, right? That sense of "I'm worth it"!

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  7. Reading blogs only sporadically and am happy I dropped by for this one! You look very relaxed.

    Bompard v-necks are my 3-season uniform and some are going on 20 yrs old! I wash them in the machine too, delicate/cold, in a mesh bag for extra piece of mind.

    For those not visiting France, Bompard's site or catalog provides very good mail order; sometimes I get nicked w/ duty by Canadian customs and sometimes they sail right in.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're the one who introduced me -- just call yourself "The Pusher"! ;-)
      Missing you -- thought of you several times this last week wondering how your August is going -- look forward to your return, but enjoy the time out of cyber-space.

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  8. You look so casually chic in this outfit. Love the sweater. I think you are absolutely correct in how you have approached dressing. As much as I love my costume jewelry, my favorite pieces are my (to me) more expensive David Yurman pieces and my Michele watch. I wear them constantly.
    I'd love to see a Bompard sweater, they sound divine.

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    1. You're so right -- I, too, love the fun aspect of my costume jewelry, but I feel more confident and quiet pleasure in a few simpler, perhaps more elegant pieces -- that Wendy B piece, for example.

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  9. You look great; I love the sweater! Cashmere is so worth it. The old me would covet the white dress of which you speak, but the new me (the omg it is way too hot this summer me)is content to wear ugly boys shorts and baggy t-shirts (left overs from the Canadian Goose kidnapping ex from Brazil :p).

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  10. I think you look absolutely perfect. The outfit flatters and tells the truth at the same time. To me, it also reflects your voice.

    I too love a navy v-neck, but they look totally different on me. I almost prefer them on you, even though they are probably my top favorite piece of clothing of all time, for myself.

    Interesting.

    Anyway, you look great.

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    1. Thanks so much! this is exactly what I hope my clothes might do -- flatter & tell the truth at once.

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  11. Love the fluevogs. They look so casually chic.

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  12. Hi Mater, this is my kind of outfit! I love the fact that it is so simple, yet each element is so very special - that does make a difference in how you feel. I haven't worn jeans in quite a while - it's been way too hot here. I bought a couple of striped polo dresses from Lands End and have found them to be very comfortable and easy to wear.
    I don't have a navy cashmere sweater, but it's on my list!!

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    1. These jeans are so soft and light, the only ones I can stand to wear in the heat, really.
      Yours striped polo dress sound comfy and smart. Stripes and summer are a perfect combo, imo.

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  13. I'm glad you're getting so much wear out of the necklace. And I'm with you on the sweater -- I'm all about high quality clothing, especially nice-feeling fabric. I don't care how cheap something is -- if it has a "lousy" hand, it's too much. To me, a $5 t-shirt is a huge ripoff if the fabric makes my skin crawl. I'd rather spend more and get something that justifies the act of shopping.

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  14. I love this sweater on you and think you look absolutely perfect. I think this is perfect combination of casual comfort and luxury in that luxury is not something reserved for special occasions, but something to be enjoyed every day. Maybe it is just because I live in the east and have not been out to your environment, but seeing you in your sweater and jeans made me think of times spent in Nantucket.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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