Pullovers (This Woman In Clothes)

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be responding to questions on the Women In Clothes survey.  For more on the book Women in Clothes, go here.  

Today’s post: “ARE THERE ANY CLOTHING (OR RELATED) ITEMS THAT YOU HAVE IN MULTIPLE? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU KEEP BUYING THIS THING?”

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sweaterI own about fifteen cowlneck pullovers, most of them big, wooly and cozy.  The majority are grey, but I have a red-orange one and a sky-blue one that I love.  Some are fifteen years old or more; the sky-blue one has moth holes in it, and another, a navy cable knit, is coming apart at the shoulder.  My favourite, a charcoal in a variety of textures, has accidentally gone through the dryer twice; it’s shrunk and has gotten very pilly.  I’m too lazy to shave it, but I’m also too attached to get rid of it.

I buy pullovers because they make me feel both covered and flattered.  I’m busty, and so all my favourite shirts are knits; buttons tend to pull and gape on me, so a sweater is nice and accommodating.  Big pullovers are forgiving if you gain or lose weight; when I lost 40 pounds a few years ago, there was no need to get rid of any of my sweaters, and now that some of those pounds are coming back on, the sweaters don’t mind.

When I was a child, I was frightened of putting on turtlenecks, and screamed at my mother to hold the neck open as she pulled it over my face, convinced that I’d get trapped in the fabric and suffocate.  Most of my sweaters have high, face-framing but flexible cowls that don’t feel constricting but cover me fully.  The cowls are a bit inconvenient in the depths of winter, when they’re bulky enough to interfere with a scarf but not fitted enough to replace one.  Until then, though, they fold nicely over any jacket collar, and provide a good place to bury my face in moments of discomfort.

I love this time of year, because all summer, my pullovers have been languishing in my closet.  Last week, it was sticky sundress weather, but this week is cold enough for gloves, and I’ve been delighted to get out the pullovers and even layer them under jackets and thermal vests.  The pullovers are long enough to obscure the fact that my pants are too tight on me, and roomy enough that I can put a t-shirt under them in case I arrive somewhere warm.  I work in an old building where the indoor climate is unpredictable, so once the cold weather arrives, layering is one of my most important sartorial challenges.

The one issue with my pullovers is that my husband is allergic to wool.  Shortly after we first started dating, I found myself in need of sweaters, and combed the city looking for good, attractive, cozy acrylic knits.  I came up mostly empty-handed, and decided that romance and merino would have to come to some sort of understanding, because my wool pullovers would brook no substitute.  This may be the reason we don’t cuddle more when the weather really calls for it.

Every winter, I try to convince myself that I have enough wool pullovers, dammit, and I do dabble in cardigans and, to a lesser extent, blazers, hoping they will help me feel more professional and chic.  Nevertheless, if I’m cold or sad or tired (and most mornings, from now until April, I’ll be at least one of those things), a big snuggly pullover is what I want.

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Is there one clothing item that you keep buying over and over?  Why do you think this is?  Please leave your own answers in the comments, or link to a response on your own blog.

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Next post: “WHAT’S THE SITUATION WITH YOUR HAIR?”

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