I met my friend, Kathleen in college when she rushed my sorority and ultimately became my little sister. Pretty much inseparable, we easily snagged the best Big/Little pair title. Almost forty years later, we are still close. She is smart and funny, and beautiful, or in my sons’ vernacular, smokin’ hot. She always looks good and pulled together, and a big part of that is her wardrobe. It would be easy to imagine that she can just put on anything and look great, but that’s not the case. She is very much aware of her body and what flatters it – and what doesn’t.
Kathleen can move through a store either scooping up a dozen things that all look great, or coming away with nothing at all. . It’s fascinating to watch. All I see when I look at her is tall and thin with slim legs – a silhouette she enhances with leggings and boots and long tops. Or straight dresses and a classic cropped cardigan. But that shape has its own downside. She will happily admit that she has no waist at all and avoids things that require an hourglass shape. She looks great not because she has a perfect body but because she knows the body she has, and she's developed her personal style around it, never wasting time or money on things that don’t flatter.
I think many of us, myself included, struggle with developing a clearly defined sense of style. As knitters, it’s doubly challenging, because what we enjoy knitting, may or may not be what we like to wear. We end up choosing a pattern to knit because, oooh, I love to knit cables and oh, isn’t that button band cleverly constructed! I will tell you that I knit many a short-sleeved sweater that I never wore until I realized that in my non-hand-knit wardrobe I had exactly zero tee shirts. I don’t like them, so why was I knitting them?
In a clothing store, we can pick up a garment and try it on before we buy it, but it’s harder with knitting. Unless you have the luxury of a trunk show or sample garment at the yarn shop, you can’t try it on before you knit it. (This is not an intentional promo for the Rowan Mode trunk show this weekend, but it did seem to fit in there perfectly) Failing a sample to try, you really have to know your body and your personal style.
I am not suggesting that we stand in front of a mirror and take an inventory of our figure flaws. Who wants to do that? No thank you. But it is important to know what flatters us. It’s easier to figure out than you imagine. You could start with a peek in your closet to see what your own, but a better place to start is your laundry hamper which is that collection of clothes that you actually wear. Take a little notebook into your laundry space and note the following:
Is your hamper full of tee shirts? You should probably look at knitting short-sleeved tops in a fine cotton or cotton blend.
Do you find yourself folding a dozen sweatshirts each week? Think about a comfortably oversized drop-shoulder sweater in a cozy bulky yarn.
Look more closely and see what kind of necklines you prefer. . Do your gravitate to v-necks or round-necks? Are you a turtleneck fan?
How do they fit? Are they relaxed or close-fitting?
How long are they?
What is the sleeve length?
Do you have a lot of tailored blouses in the hamper? Chances are you prefer set-in sleeves and v necks
Then take a look at the garments in your closet that haven’t ended up in your hamper for a while. Write in your notebook what is it about each that keeps you from reaching for them regularly? You don’t have to write it down, but it’s easier to be objective when you see the facts in your own hand.
Armed with the knowledge of what you like and what flatters you, the yarn store is a lot less overwhelming. You can immediately dismiss that sweet little evening top with the jewel neck because you really prefer v-necks. You can feel confident casting on the bulky sweater because it look like an upscale version of your favorite sweatshirt.
If none of the designs suit your style, let us help you design one that does. Crazy for Ewe is a Custom Fit store, which means that you can knit whatever you like, with exactly the yarn you want, in exactly the size you need. It’s easy as pie, and we’re doing private Custom Fit sessions in safe, socially distanced environment.
Knowing exactly what you want, confident that it will fit and flatter you, knitting is still a bit of a leap of faith. Even with the most accurate information available, and doing the best we can, sometimes our knitting still doesn’t turn out the way we imagined. If 2020 has taught me anything, it is this: The most carefully made plans are no match for circumstances beyond our control. But we knit anyway. Just as we get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other despite it all. It’s faith, and it’s hope. Knitting is a tangible statement of a belief in the future and a willingness to continue on whatever the circumstances.