Shades of gray


As I mentioned recently on Twitter, I picked up the gray sweater above this weekend at Kenneth Cole.

I think I have a problem: It is my 14th gray sweater.

This becomes especially troublesome when I know that in my last batch of castaway clothing that went to charity, there were at least three more.  You know how Inuits were supposed to have about a hundred words for “snow” (which is actually a myth)? I think I’m like that with gray sweaters: Each of mine is distinctly different.

Well, except one.

grays-001 I picked up this one (click on any thumbnail to enlarge) at Armani Exchange on my recent trip to Hawaii. It was one of the few items in the store that wasn’t emblazoned with some form of A/X logo. It has a cool checkerboard effect in the knit pattern, and an interesting neckline. (Wear with: Blue patterned dress shirt, dark gray trousers. Or maybe even navy ones.)

grays-002This is a super lightweight “luxury blend” from Banana Republic, where I suspect I picked up the V-neck sweater habit. (Right now the guy on the opening page of the BR website is wearing a … gray sweater. Curses!) I think I read somewhere that a V-neck collar makes your neck look longer — which is something I don’t actually need, since I’m already sort of giraffe-y to start with — but I also think they look a little more professional than crew-necks. (Wear with: fine-gauge tee, since anything stiffer leaves weird marks through sweater, and dark-wash jeans.)

grays-003 My Charlie Brown sweater! I went through a phase awhile back where I ended up with a lot of shirts or sweatshirts that had horizontal lines across the chest — I bought them, Mr. Brooks and CPOS brought me one back when they visited Germany — and this is the only survivor. (I think the design is supposed to make your pecs look bigger. I’ll take all the help I can get.) This all-cotton ribbed one is by Pure Stuff, and I picked it up at Last Chance. It’s a total weekend sweater. (Wear with: jeans.)

grays-004Despite what I mentioned in #2 up there, I don’t have a moratorium on crewnecks: This 100% cotton crewneck from Gap is a good casual-Friday type of sweater. It looks a lot luxe than it really is, so it’s nice and comfortable. (Wear with: a crew-neck T-shirt, beat-up khakis.)

grays-005This one is — wait for it — reversible! This would be one of my favorites except it’s a snug fit, so I have to stretch it out a bit lest it look like I’m trying to emulate Scottsdale douchebags. I don’t think I’ve ever worn the light side out — it’s always been the darker one. (Wear with: T-shirt that can be tucked in to jeans with a higher waist — it’s as short as it is snug, and without the right pants it could veer into “crop top” category. And, as such, fit for weekends only.)

grays-006I bought this at the men’s Topshop store — yes, it’s called Topman — during this summer’s trip to New York, but haven’t worn it yet. Mostly because it has this built-in scarf detail that I haven’t quite figured out how to arrange without looking … really fey. Also, because I tossed it in with all the stuff from Ben Sherman, it’s been kind of squished and needs a steam to relax the wrinkles. (Wear with: “Blue Steel” expression, maybe?)

grays-007 One of my favorites! A heavy-cotton shawl-collar sweater from J. Crew. Lately I have an issue with that store, because I feel like they’re trying to reposition themselves as more upscale than what we expect them to be — as if their competition is Nordstrom and not, say, Banana Republic. $128 for a denim utility shirt?  $240 for a Japanese selvage denim utility shirt? No wonder your store numbers are down. Give me some freaking classy basics for a only slightly unreasonable price. Sorry. Getting off my soapbox now. (Wear with: colored tee.)

grays-008I, uh, haven’t taken this one out of the plastic bag yet. Awhile back, Gap was running this online special with a ludicrously low price for cotton V-neck sweaters. So I picked up three different colors. But it was mid-July, so I stored them. This one is lighter than the photo has made it look — almost like a heather. (Wear with: black button-down, indigo jeans or black moleskin trousers.)

grays-010This is the only sweatshirt I’m counting among the contenders — when I did my tally, I left out any upscale hoodies and the like. I’ve had this cotton fleece V-neck by Polo Sport for years. It’s a castoff from my ex — well, I don’t think I can technically refer to it as a “castoff” when what really happened is I just started wearing it so often that it ended up being “mine” instead of “his.” (Wear with: T-shirt, track pants.)

grays-011This is the granddaddy of my sweaters – I have had this since college. In fact, the day I was photographed for the newspaper wearing approximately 75 layers (chambray shirt and purple henley I had purchased at JC Penney with gift card my aunt had given me as high school graduation present, atop white T-shirt, all tucked into stone-washed jeans), I had actually worn all of that PLUS THIS SWEATER (which I believe was a Jay Jacobs purchase), because I was sick and showed up to work wearing all of that because I was cold. (That also explains why I didn’t have a belt for the photo.) Anyway, this is my designated bad mood/under the weater sweater. If you see me wearing it, run. (Wear with: scowl, fever.)

grays-012This one makes me wish I lived somewhere it was cooler, more often. (In temperature, of course). It’s a silk and angora mock-neck that I picked up at Last Chance — I used to remember the brand name but it has slipped my mind now. I want to say it is six letters, and it starts with C-U, but a C is the only letter on the label. Anyway, super soft and I love it. (Wear with: dark tee underneath as liner — it’s a loose knit! — and light gray trousers.)

grays-013This lambswool/cashmere V-neck from Banana Republic also has a collar, so there’s extra visual detail to set it apart. It’ is, however, a tightly knit lambswool/cashmere sweater, so it’s very warm: I learned this at work one day, when I was like, “Is it 90 degrees in here or something?” while flapping the bottom of the sweater open to get cool air circulating around. (Wear with: Crisp white dress shirt, dark jeans or trousers.)

grays-014This sweater makes me a little sad — so much potential wasted! I love the charcoal color, the burled threads, the vertical stripes … I bought it at Banana Republic right when I moved to Colorado and visited my brother in Denver. It’s 50% wool, and it’s a turtleneck, and when I wear it, my neck itches like crazy. Also, the store only had a large, so the fit isn’t the most flattering — it’s bigger and boxier than is best. (Wear with: jeans, for that jaunty Irish sailor back from the sea effect.)

Oh, and that one up top? I spent Sunday morning with friends checking out the new  Barneys, where I saw beautiful trousers by Nom de Guerre and watches by Nixon … and I couldn’t afford to buy a thing. Then, rather than grabbing a bite at Pita Jungle, we ended up eating a $22 lunch at Fred’s … inside Barneys. Followed by one of my friends picking up his watch at Cartier, then another one getting a belt at Louis Vuitton.  By this time, I had turned into “the guy who sits down somewhere and texts, while everyone else oohs and aahs over merchandise.” I seriously hated walking the mall that day. Then someone wanted to go to Kenneth Cole to look at boots, and on the back-wall mannequin I saw a gray sweater. It had a zipper front, and a cool collar, and all felt right with the world again. (Wear with: T-shirt, different conglomeration of friends.)

WHAT SAM WORE: 11-10-09
The shirt: Cotton button-down from J. Crew.
(I have the same one in purple, too.)
The pants: Boot-cut corduroys by Seven for All Mankind, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Converse All-Star slip-ons, that Funny Michael made on as part of the Project (Red) program. They say “Sammit” on the back!
The scent: Kiss Him (yes, licensed by the band).

One response to “Shades of gray

  1. I love this post! I could have written the same but with black sweaters. MB could do it with black shirts.

    Seven for All Mankind cords are so wonderful and comfy.

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