05 December 2007

Let's shelve the chunky sweaters, shall we?

It was brought to my attention yesterday by a reader that even though we're very much in cool temperature territory (cheers to the few flakes that fell yesterday morning!), I have continued to recommend tops more appropriate for Spring and Summer than Fall and Winter.

And of course, she's right, because quite honestly, I don't "do" cold weather tops. Whenever I start to get a case of the chippy nippies, which is often, I just turn up the heat -- a miserably uncomfortable habit to which both my dog and work colleagues can attest.

I recognize, however, that just because every blouse/shirt/sweater I own is either 3/4-sleeved, short-sleeved, cap-sleeved or sleeveless doesn't mean every blouse/shirt/sweater you would like to own is of that same sort as well.

So, I've done my do-gooder duty and compiled for you a collection of what I consider to be office-suitable Winter tops.


'Caridad' blouse by Diane von Furstenberg
($225 at dvf.com)
Long-sleeve slim cashmere sweater by Karoo Mark Eisen
($69.30 at shopbop.com)
Silk-cotton oxford stripe blouse by Marc by Marc Jacobs
($159.60 at shopbop.com)Cowl-neck sweater by Nola & Scout
($149 at intermixonline.com)

Jersey tunic top by Neal Sperling*
($225 at lagarconne.com)

Plaid fitted tuxedo shift by McQ
($131.50 at net-a-porter.com)
Frill neck blouse by L.A.M.B.
($99 at eluxury.com)
'Natasha' sweater by Myolee*
($137 at starsandinfinitedarkness.com)
'Shari' turtleneck by Fashionista
($79 at bluefly.com)
'Jennifer' silk blouse by Trovata
($89.90 at nordstrom.com)

'Carnaby' blouse by Sunner
($64.90 at nordstrom.com)

Ribbed cashmere-blend turtleneck by Generra
($93 at saks.com)

*your editrix's top picks


Teek said...

Sweetie, those are still mostly autumn and spring pieces. Imagine you had to go to work in your parent's town. (Where you've admitted to mostly wearing fleecy pajamas and multiple pairs of socks.) Then imagine you didn't have your own thermostat at work. These are the conditions most of us mean by "winter".

The Natasha sweater is fabulous though - I wish it had full length sleeves but I can make do.

D Cup said...

i don't think that many of these are large-chest friendly, are they... :(

Noelle said...

I'm a B cup, so you'll have to forgive my ignorance, but how are these tops not large-chest friendly? None of them are low cut or particularly tight... I really need to be enlightened, because one my best friends is a D cup and I'd love to buy her a top for Christmas.

Also, I'm with Johanna on the winter tops. What's shown above is basically what I would wear from December to March. With the thermostat turned way up, of course. As my mom used to say, "It hurts to be beautiful". She was kidding... sort of :-)

DD cup said...


As a woman to whom God has given quite a bit, I'd be happy to jump in. My first thoughts when I scanned the picks:

1) Turtlenecks (and crewnecks as well) are a big no-no - the more open-necked the better to break up major chestage. V-necks are a great pick.

2) Button-downs can be trouble - the "keyhole effect" as Johanna calls it is never a good thing.

3) Blousiness is usually going to make a big chest look even bigger. I try to go for body-skimming, but not *too* body-skimming.

4) Depending on how comfortable your friends is with her ladies, she may or may not go for detailing on the front (ruffling, etc.) I am less so, so I tend to go for tops with plainer fronts.

Hope this helps! And thanks for the recommendations as always, Johanna, you're my favorite daily read!

sweater lover said...

I, too, love the Natasha sweater. As beautiful as the neckline is, I'm willing to bet it's itchy as hell. A chance I just might take now that year-end bonuses are around the corner!

J, have you purchased anything from that line? I'm wondering how the sizes run compared to familiar brands. I never know if I'm going to end up with a shrunken "designer" sweater or an Old Navy tent made for someone's middle-aged mother (probably not the case here, but still).

Chicago reader said...

Teek, I live in a pretty Wintery climate (Chicago), and I never wear much more than what Johanna has posted here during the coldest times of the year. I might pile on two scarves, a hat, some unfashionably bulky gloves and a parka, but when I'm indoors, I like to remain slim in silhouette. There's nothing less attractive than a woman with a three-inch bulk of sweater surrounding her.

but that's just me.

Noelle said...

Very helpful, thank you!

Teek said...

Oh, fear not, Chicago, I am no advocate of the nylon puffy vest and L.L. Bean chunky rib-knit cardigan. I wear mostly slim fit wool, cashmere, and cotton sweaters, and wool and tweed skirts and pants, and look for pieces that can be layered.

Some of these tops are great pieces, but, say, the Marc Jacobs blouse would be way too thin and summery for me to wear in winter. It doesn't even look like a winter piece to me. Or the Caraby blouse, which would be drafty and uninsulated (and make me look like a tent.)

My office and apartment are both kept too cold for me, and I have poor circulation, so I am particular about warmth. Plus, I am a 32DD, so the problems of bustiness discussed above apply.

laura said...

If dressing with one's audience in mind is key, as Johanna has attested on many occasions, then how is it OK to ignore the comfort of others by subjecting them to screaming hot thermostats? Not to mention the damage such hot, dry air can do on one's skin and hair.

(I'd give a little plug to the environment here, and advocate against thoughtlessly abusing energy, but something tells me that would be barking up the wrong tree.)

It's winter. It's DC. Wear long sleeves. Embrace cashmere, merino wool, and sweaters of substance. Not chunky, just sweaters that look good, feel good, and do their job.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Laura. Sky-high heating bills subtract from one's shopping budget, no?

Johanna said...


I have a personal thermostat in my office. My colleagues know that if they step foot into my jungle lair it's at their own risk.

Monte, on the other hand, has no say. I do turn off the heat and crack a window during the day for him, though.

And sorry, but the whole "green" argument is falling on deaf ears. I recycle my Coke Zero cans and don't drive -- what more do you want from me?

Anonymous 11:56, however, is speaking my language...


Anonymous No More said...

dd cup, your post was amazingly informative, I had no idea. I am a 32B (on my biggest days) so what works on me is almost the exact opposite of what works on you. Your advice will help me as I shop for my sisters.

Jo, maybe a post on cute and professional blazers and jackets should be next?

manhattan_darling said...

I actually have the Sunner blouse, and I have just started wearing it now that the weather is a bit cooler (I'm in NYC). I get compliments on it every time I wear it -- which is usually with skinny black pants and round toed pumps. Love it!

brown rowergirl said...

I just ordered the gray sweater from Stars and Infinite Darkness. Itchy or not, it's a beeyoot and I want it!

whateves said...

d cup and dd cup - my first thoughts exactly as i checked out these offerings, not for me (being a sister in the well stocked upper half). the 'Carnaby' blouse by Sunner has a heinous cut for anyone with a large chest (think maternity). not a diss on Johanna, juss saying and was glad i wasn't the only one who thought this.

Johanna said...

large chested readership-

Hey, I'm sorry for including so many unfriendly cuts. I was just telling my colleague this morning that sweaters are the bane of my existence, because they are the one item of clothing that can't really be tailored if you're one size in the chest and another everywhere else. This is one of the main reasons why I only own one turtleneck sweater and one crewneck sweater.

I don't know where the line is drawn in terms of size (I think it's dependent on proportions as well), but I'm only slightly smaller than the second commenter and I don't take issue with the cut of the Carnaby blouse. As long as you have a small-ish waist and thin-ish legs, I think you can still get away with that silhouette without looking third-trimester.

anonymous no more-

asking me to do a post on jackets is like asking me to watch a "True Life" marathon - YES! YES! YES!


d cup said...

dd ~ exactly!

i have to say though that i guess johanna's wisdom is rubbing off on me because i don't think i would have known these shirts weren't for me if it wasn't for all of her educational posts on the subject

from a guy's perspective said...

I think turtlenecks look great on women with large chests and thin waists!

Wow, could I have said anything more male?

be practical said...

Life is not always a fashion show, missy. Big shapeless sweaters are a necessity for EVERY woman, regardless of size. You're no exception.

jordin said...

Who in this city at your age is paying $90+ for a blouse/sweater? This is ridiculous! Go to Target or the Banana Republic outlet, and you can get the exact same thing for a quarter of the price.

Anonymous said...

be practical sounds just like my dad...haha good thing I don't listen to him when it comes to fashion!!

Another DD gal said...

There is no way Johanna you are a C cup. If you were sporting C's you couldn't wear the braless dress in your side bar. Maybe you *wish* you were a C. There is nothing wrong with B, just saying you have no idea what D/DD women are going through when shopping.

DD cup said...

Just one last point from me on the Carnaby blouse, for the sake of larger-chested gift recipients this Christmas! The pleating right above the chest and shiny fabric don't do us any favors, but the main problem is that it totally eliminates your waistline, even if you have a teeny one. Beautiful color, though!

It's the same reason I avoid swing jackets even though they're so gosh darn adorable. Le sigh...

Anonymous said...

another DD, you must not have seen the pic of Jo at the DC Style even that someone linked to in a comment yesterday. They're *def* at least a C.

Anonymous said...

another male perspective: my bf hates turtlenecks b/c they cover up too much skin and give my round face a double chin effect. Turtlenecks are warm but not for everyone! especially the round faced!

Anonymous said...

My guess: Johanna does in fact wear a C ... and since they are fake, it allows her to wear such things and everything stays in place?