On Tramps and Sweater Girls

She gets too hungry,
for dinner at eight
(Check!)

She loves the theater,
but doesnt come late
(Check!)

She’d never bother,
with people she’d hate
(You’d better believe it, sister!)

Thats why the lady is a tramp

Doesnt like crap games,
with barons and earls
(Heck, just put me in front of the quarter poker machine, I’m good.)

Wont go to harlem,
in ermine and pearls
(Who wears ermine anymore?)

Wont dish the dirt,
with the rest of those girls
(Well, maybe….)

Thats why the lady is a tramp

She loves the free,
fresh wind in her hair
(But those Santa Ana’s gotta go!)

Life without care
Shes broke, but its ok
(Ramen noodles, baby!)

She hates california,
its cold and its damp
(We only wish!)

Thats why the lady is a tramp!

Probably the least sexist song ever sung by Frank Sinatra. The way it reads to me is “this woman plays by her own rules, and conventional people slut-shame her for it.” Back in the days when popular lore dictated that Good Girls Don’t (though that’s been shown to mostly have been a myth), there were a number of things that would make a woman’s morals suspect. Being divorced, being too independent, wearing “too much” makeup or form-fitting sweaters all were cause for clucking and castigation. The same sweaters that might have raised suspicion back in the fifties seem almost modest now (or maybe it was those rocket-nosecone bras that made them seem so risqué).

But the reason I actually led off this post with those lyrics was because I had been certain that in there somewhere was a line about “prefers cashmere to furs.” And I wanted to write about cashmere. What the heck, I’m going to write about cashmere anyway.

My cashmere habit began many years ago on my first ski trip with my then-boyfriend-later-to-be-husband and his family. His mom loaned me a moth-eaten, navy cashmere crewneck sweater to wear as a warm layer underneath my flimsy parka. I couldn’t believe something so light could be so warm! And soft! One taste, and I was hooked.

I’ve purchased several cashmere sweaters over the years of varying quality and price. While some might be more stylish, you can’t beat Land’s End cashmere pieces for a good quality/price ratio. Like all of their clothes, the workmanship is quite good, and their cashmere is soft, but sturdy and doesn’t pill or look shabby after several wearings.

This cashmere cardigan in heather grey is one I wear quite frequently during the cooler months. The styling is classic, it goes with everything, and was a go-to layering piece for a majority of our Paris trip.

One of my favorite styles is a V-neck. I recently realized I didn’t have one in a neutral color, and just ordered this one in black.

Bloomingdale’s Sutton Studio line also offers some nice styles and colors, and if you can hold out until they go on sale in January, you can get some fantastic bargains.
Tunic, $169.

Wrap sweater, $149. (Love this color!!)

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8 Comments

  1. October 25, 2007 / 9:55 pm

    Are you able to wear wrap sweaters or shirts? I have a terrible time with them. I think it might be the bust. And I have this other thing, where I don’t feel comfortable layering under a shirt, like it’s making me feel too big, or hot, or something. But I am happy putting a sweater over a shirt when I’m cold. Whatever!

  2. October 26, 2007 / 2:00 am

    I can if the sweater is not bulky. The one I picked I might be able to wear. If you click on the link, they’re also showing it worn loose, and I could definitely wear it that way.

    I actually do better with a light sweater under a blouse than visa versa. To me, most blouses feel bunched up and bulky when worn under a closed sweater (OK with an open cardigan, tho).

  3. October 26, 2007 / 3:07 am

    I absolutely agree — I’ve been adding to my cashmere wardrobe a few pieces a year. Last year I managed to snag 3 v-neck pullovers at Banana Republic in the post-Christmas sales for under $100 each! grey, black, and powder blue — I love the luxurious light warmth of them. And knitting with a cashmere yarn (over the years I’ve made a pullover, socks, a scarf) is wonderful and turns small gift items into something special.

  4. October 26, 2007 / 12:34 pm

    I was wondering if you used cashmere in your knitting. I’ll bet the finished results are gorgeous! Is is easier or more difficult to work with than other materials?

  5. October 26, 2007 / 3:36 pm

    it’s lovely to work with — haven’t found a downside! You can just imagine getting to have that softness against your fingers as you work. As well, with knitting socks, gloves, scarves, and hats out of it, I get to work with beautiful colours that I would be unlikely to buy a sweater in (at cashmere’s price points, a bigger garment has to be classic to be versatile). Some of the smaller cottage yarn businesses are doing spectacular things with dyeing, working the subtleties of the colour wheel in very inspiring and satisfying ways. That and the yummy feel of cashmere — even better than chocolate!

  6. October 26, 2007 / 4:13 pm

    Forget Frank. You’ve gotta go with Ella on this one. The Ella in Rome Birthday concert version.

    Even cashmere makes me itch. I wish I could wear it.

  7. October 30, 2007 / 12:38 pm

    Hmm, Kathyr’s comment answered my question – can even cashmere make one itch? Not only am I the princess and the pea (I once felt a lint pill on the underside of the mattress cover while I was trying to get to sleep!), all wool so far has made me itch, even through a shirt. Alas. Maybe I could borrow someone’s cashmere, just to be sure…

  8. October 31, 2007 / 12:16 am

    I find that cashmere is much less itchy than wool, but I do generally wear at least a light t-shirt underneath.

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