UNDONE (The Sweater Song)

When I was in high school, a boy I knew nicknamed me “Sweater”. I’m not one hundred percent sure why but I have always believed it was partially because I wore a lot of sweaters (even when the weather dictated otherwise), and because I attempted to carry off the punk rock version of a 1950’s Sweater Girl look. Pencil skirts, pegged jeans, and lots of vintage sweaters.

I loved the nickname and I loved sweaters. I still love sweaters and nothing makes me happier than the onset of sweater weather. Being a native of Southern California, a born and bred real live Valley Girl, sweaters are really all you need for warmth and comfort. Sure there’s the occasional need for rain gear, an umbrella, or cool night gear, add a scarf and perhaps gloves, but a sweater always works.

As a teen and young twenty something I scoured vintage and thrift stores seeking out angora and cashmere cardigans and pullovers as well as oversized loose knit mohair sweaters like Captain Sensible and Johnny Rotten wore so well. I once went as far as (accidentally) flying home from visiting a friend in San Francisco wearing a sweater I borrowed (the truth is I stole it) from a friend of her boyfriend’s – a multi-colored blue mohair beauty that I wore until it unraveled rather unceremoniously.

From my teens until now, my fifties (I can’t quite get used to thinking of myself as “in my fifties” being only a couple of months into them…), there exists one sweater that I try to update every couple of years. The perfect black turtleneck. My perfect one is actually a mock turtleneck. My love of this style of sweater started when I found one that belonged to my mom when I was in high school. It was slightly fitted, had three quarter length sleeves and landed just below my waist. I wore it with everything and it was always perfectly appropriate for anything, and with anything. I wore it until it too became too tattered and thread barren and had to be put to rest.

I’ve never found one just a perfect as that first sweater but it’s not stopped me from trying. These days my perfect one would have sleeves that are just a tad too long, and fall more at my hips. I still prefer a mock turtle to a full turtleneck because I’m quite full in the chest and having that bit of neck show above the collar seems more flattering. I still wear them with anything and everything.

For some strange reason, sweaters just make me happy. Maybe it’s a comfort thing?

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