As a rule, because of the Rack, I don't wear button ups, but I do think it is possible to find a nice cardigan that works with a chest, either because the knit has enough give, or because the shape is flattering. That said, I do have a number of cardies that are only button ups by show, not in actuality, because I have sewn them all the way up the front. But that is for another post, this post is about . . . the red cardy.
Mine is a vintage late 1940s, all wool, with a little uplift at the shoulders. Being very warm and wool, I always layer it over a pussycat bow shirt or some other long sleeve blouse. I am afraid it's packed at the moment so I can't tell you the maker, but I paid aroudn $20 for it from a vintage store and what pulled me in was the fact that it had no moth holes (and the color, me and my love of red). That is, of course, they key with vintage knitwear, make certain you check it over thoroughly for holes. My cardy is pretty basic, here are a few other vintage versions that might work for the well endowed.
A 1950s sweater via 1stdibs
Note the little dogs are placed above and below the chest area, but not on it? Brilliant. Also, see how very close together the buttons are? That keeps the cardigan from doing that awful "boob gap" thing. Winner!
Beautiful detailing around the neckline draws the eyes upward and away from the Rack. If in possession, I might add a couple hooks and eyes in between the three buttons over the chest, to prevent gaping.
Short sleeves and cabling add interest to an otherwise basic pattern. I also love a V neck. I'm not certain about the location and width of the cables, I'd have to try it on for certain, but I think they would work OK with a Rack.
And if a cardigan is not for you here is a knitted blazer from 1942.
So how to wear your cardigan? Here we have three versions of a red cardy worn open with a white filmy dress.
First is a 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage
The first is a vintage spring look. The second is a retro take on last summer's ubiquitous white lace dress, paired with opaque black tights. I might add big clunky motorcycle boots or docs for an even edgier take. And lastly, a sweet evening outfit with gray scale shades of white and patent shoes.
Or if you want to wear your red cardigan closed . . .
I believe that's Charlotte from Tuppence Haypenny first off, looking adorable in a red cardy with a print dress, and white tights with MJ peeps. Then I have a street take on the same idea, red cardy with a blue-base small print dress, only toughened up with black boots, socks, and a hardware-heavy bag. I like both these looks because they take a light weight summery dress and make use of it as a colder weather item. The last (a runway shot from Birna at the Reykjavik Fashion Festival Fall 2011) pairs a red sweater with a bolder print architectural dress, booties, and bright mustered tights. This kind of outfit carries with it many of the Spring 2012 trends.
And of course, in conjunction with my previous post, you can always go a little nautical with your red cardigan by pairing it with black and white stripes, or white and navy with gold hardware.
Lastly, red cardigans aren't all that popular in the Victorian era, so I gave you this as a good alternative for Alexia, the red overdress.
1884-1886 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art