Allison from San Francisco wrote in to ask me what to do with her old school twin sweater sets from the 90's. Yikes! It seems like so long ago, but I must confess, I have a few myself. Here's my advice, pull every single one out of your closet, your dresser, your wardrobe, your guest room closet, underneath your bed, wherever they might be hiding. I don't think you need to get rid of all of them. While you probably won't be wearing them together any time soon (bear in mind, fashion is constantly getting recycled, I guarantee they'll come back strong sometime soon), these two for one pieces make great separates. Let's not forget, chic ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama have been known to don a sweater set on quite a few occasions.
As your sift through your assortment look for a few things:
- Shape (boxy or slim?)
- Fit (long, short, tight, baggy)
- Quality (fabric, buttons)
- Damages (holes, stains, pilling, etc.)
If the fit is still perfect, the fabric is great (think silk knit, cashmere, angora, merino), and it's damage-free, I say keep it. (Something that has all those characteristics, and is still stylish, is irreplaceable.) Now, think back to the 90's - short boxy fits, wide ribbing - and just don't go there. It's not worth keeping if it's cheap, low quality, or just not right.
I'm sure you all have something that fits the bill, so keep it, and mix it up. Wear the shells or underpinnings with a pencil skirt, or under a boyfriend blazer. Pair the cardies with a dress or a patterned silky top and black pants (BTW look to the Gap, their latest product launch offers a few chic and cheap options). You can also try dressing the cardigans down with a pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt, a belt, and some boots.
Can't come up with anything? If all your sweater sets are just too old and crusty, give it up girls. Donate them so someone in need can have them, and free up some space in your own closet. It's a win win situation.