Mary Wells: How to Keep Warm During the Cold Winter


Only 41 days until Christmas! wOw’s Gypsy introduces her sweater awards.
I haven’t told you about my sweater search. Few people in the Western world need a new sweater. But there are mountains of sweaters out there now and coming on for the holidays. There are some great ones, a lot of unbelievably ordinary clones — and some that are so terrible I shake to think who could receive one in a Christmas box. 

There are a lot of fine sweater T-shirts this fall in the more expensive lines. Perhaps they are a way of easing customers into buying the big fancy sweaters or jackets to wear over them. I looked hard at those sweater T-shirts. They are so useful. Armani and Loro Piana always make good ones. They come and go in most other lines. But this year I award First Prize to Akris. They have produced the lightest, finest wool and silk long-sleeve T-shirts for under balmy little jackets — you can wear those T-shirts under different jackets from morning through the night. Akris has made them in a wide selection of subtle, interesting colors too. I think those T-shirt sweaters are an astute gift for anyone from 16 years old to 100.  

Here are my Serious Sweater Awards: Brunello Cucinelli gets one for its fox hooded zip cardigan. I saw it when fall arrived in Capri and again in Monte Carlo. Gucci has a similar one. They aren’t over the top, these fur-collared sweaters. They are chic and cuddly. Next — although I have to admit there has never been a Loro Piana sweater I didn’t like — this year their indoor-outdoor sweater coats are special. One, a long creamy beige cable-knit and the other a sleek navy fitted jacket. Both have that celebration quality of Loro Piana — the only drawback to them is that strangers actually tend to stroke your arm or your shoulder. Armani has a black-and-white-stripe cashmere coat that is indoor-outdoor and reeks taste. And maybe my favorite so far is Hermès’s new v-neck pullover and cardigan set with rough, hairy edging. Doesn’t sound great? It is.

These are luxury sweaters but they are class acts; they aren’t frivolous, in style only for the moment. They aren’t frivolous in price either. But there are fancier, costlier ones around that are not more wonderful. This Christmas one of these would make a gift you will see on a good friend for years and years.

Looking around from country to country I have been impressed by how much black is being sold. My friends in the stores say color is what you see in magazines and on websites. Black is what women are buying. There are fantastic little black dresses by the best of designers with slits up the leg or unusual architectural shapes. Women are going to wear them short or knee-length or longer but they’re going to wear a lot of black. It looks as if the stores called it right in setting aside strong colors for handbags.

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