Back To Basics: Chic Sweaters

Fountain of 30

December 22, 2014 • Magazine, Male Box


Well, dear readers, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve ditched Venice and moved to Manhattan – Beach, that is. Yes, believe it or not, I have moved to the South Bay or at least the northernmost tip of the region. Let me tell you that this little enclave is a refreshing oasis of sophistication in the otherwise vapid and utterly plastic Los Angeles County. Just when you thought I couldn’t go more California, I move to the “Home of Beach Volleyball” but the little known truth is that beach life can be just as urbane and chic as my old life in New York’s Wall Street area. I have even discovered that between the hours of 7 and 8 am – when I walk my dog – it’s actually frigid enough on the beach to wear turtlenecks – and even fur! Of course, by 9 am I would be sweltering if I didn’t change into something slightly lighter, but no less seasonally appropriate.

You might think that a beach hamlet whose local mall is anchored by Macy’s might be a little – well – fashion challenged, but that simply is not the case. With Rodeo Drive about 30 minutes away and designer fashions generally just a mouse click away, the women of Manhattan Beach give their Big Apple counterparts a run for their money. I have always believed that you don’t have to live in a big city to be stylish or even fashionable, but the reason it helps is that you see other women around you regularly who share your fashion credo, whatever it may be. This can bring out the best – and worst – in you fashion wise.

I was all set to write a lofty piece about finding inspiration for your holiday party outfits among the season’s haute couture offerings, but I’ve come to realize that we need to get back to basics. Everywhere I looked this past week, everyone seemed to be headed to or coming from an ugly holiday sweater party – at least I hope they legitimately had that excuse. Sweaters happen to be one of the things I missed most about not having a proper fall season out here. I did a little research and found 3 must have sweaters for you. After all your holiday gift shopping, isn’t it time you treated yourself to a little gift?

Black turtlenecks are a staple of my wardrobe. For a few seasons in my youth, I would dutifully trudge to Saks and buy 6 merino wool ones at the start of each fall. These days, this wardrobe staple has taken on cult status with aficionados endlessly extolling the relative merits of weight and texture. This season I vote for texture and Vince’s yak and wool chevron knit turtleneck wins best in category. In the sea of black that a seemingly endless winter can often seem to be, you’ll stand out in the crowd in this.

I was once a huge fan of winter white in the concrete jungle, but I’ve rather gone off of it since moving to perpetually blue skied beach cities. This past week with its rain and sudden chill has spun me around again. After all, you can’t be a fashion editor without being at least occasionally fickle – and self contradicting! Why sport a boring cable knit crewneck cashmere when you can have Theory’s winter white wool boucle crew neck sweater? The subtle texture is quiet testament to your good taste and discerning fashion eye!

Finally, if you simply must wear ironic sweaters, why run the risk of people mistaking your sartorial sarcasm for genuinely bad fashion sense? Why not pick a print that is clearly tongue-in-cheek? Alice + Olivia’s signature Smiley Stace print sweater is a quirky, casual nod to your inner glamour girl that shows you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Remember, just say no to ugly holiday sweaters. If women can be chic and stylish in the Home of Beach Volleyball, you can carry the torch of good fashion wherever you may happen to live.

Happy Holidays and A Chic New Year to You All!

(Pictured left to right)

Vince Yak & Wool Chevron-Knit Turtleneck Sweater, now $124.20

Theory Jaidyn Bouclé Sweater, now $171

Alice + Olivia Smiley Stace Printed Sweater, $298

– Joseph Ungoco

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