Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gail Carriger's Winter Tales: The Red Cardigan

For some of us, Fashionable Reader, it is finally winter. I don't know about you but in my neck of the woods it is still bright and sunny but has come over quite cold. For me this means . . . sweaters!

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.

Here's mine:

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.

A cardigan is not for you here is a knitted blazer from 1942.

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


  1. Coincidentally, I wore my red cardy today. It was my pop of color over black. AND it earned me several compliments. I love my red cardy! :)

  2. All my cardigans & shrugs are black. So they'll go with everything.

    Though I do have a purple dress I'm trying to find a silver shrug for. I can only find silver bolero jackets. Those are way too short. If I lift up my arms even a little bit people would see what I'm trying to hide.

  3. Amusingly, I own the red cloche in the "Vogue" picture.


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