Thursday, November 12, 2009

My favorite kind of mafia.

Here's a true story: I just threw back my head, moaned, and screamed (much to the alarm of my roommate, Danielle) "I just want cashmere so badly right now!"

Chicago is in the midst of a rare and precious Indian summer, but all I can think about is snow. I've had Pandora's "Jazz Holidays" on rotation for a solid month now (seriously, isn't Danielle a lucky girl?), as if I could force winter weather to arrive through sheer willpower. We've had our share of cold - that record-breaking month of freezing rain won't soon be forgotten, not by my sad Sue London ballet flats that were purchased in September and are already in pieces - but I've always felt that where chilly and wet are concerned, snow trumps rain by a long shot. I think it stems back to childhood associations. Snow meant no school and hot cocoa with marshmallows. Rain meant a bad hair day.

But guys. It's coming. Bone-rattling gusts off Lake Michigan and literal feet of frozen goodness will be here before you know it, so don't let them catch you unawares. Begin rounding up the essentials now. La Vie en Ginger presents Winter Weather Week, kicked off with an item so classic your mother might have one in her closet (but don't hold that against me):




I would swap a kidney for a pile of J. Crew cashmere tees right now. I'm actually only half-kidding. Nothing feels better against dry skin than cashmere (not that there's any excuse for dry skin...I've got a great tag-team moisturizing regimen that I'll elaborate on some other time); nothing layers better over a white t-shirt. This is the single most versatile item of clothing to have in a winter wardrobe, other than perhaps a well-cut pair of jeans. But that's hardly seasonal.

Don't be fooled by your own thriftiness. Cashmere does come in grades, and a cheap cashmere blend is likely to pill after only a few wears (like two heads, two-ply is better than one). Pay close mind to the drape and feel of your cashmere: it should feel luxurious, but anything too soft (read: thick with surface fuzz) is a fickle friend. Neckline is a matter of personal preference. V-necks are flattering - they elongate neck and body lines - but a boyish crew-cut is trendier (and more conducive to a toasty sternum). Shivering, goosebumped décolletage is never sexy. Trust me, pals. I've done the research.

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