This post is a response to Frugal Scholar's request to see those old cashmere sweaters. She was curious about what styles would go the distance. Easy: the sturdy, bread and butter classics, but also a few less-obvious choices. Below, four oldies.
1. Bompard intarsia v-neck
Around 16 years old; people still ask where I got it.
Each fall Bompard offer an intarsia, this model was heavily influenced by a Ballantyne bird pattern of that time. EB banished the birds; I wonder if Ballantyne went after them. This year's entry is the landscape jacket.
Intarsias can make the wearer look big as a billboard. Because the pattern on this one is placed to the side and the body is black, that effect is minimized.
An all-over argyle (which is an intarsia too) doesn't do those of us with size or a bust any favours either.
2. Bompard "M02" cardi in rose pimpant
I chose this colour to light up a dreary Canadian winter and it has–for 23 years! Almost shocking pink in the photo, it's really darker, a true, rich rose.
It's been invisibly mended by the wizards at Cheeseworth in Toronto (they offer mail service) and I can neither remember nor see the area. I've bought M02 every few years for decades. Wear it as a top (shown), open over a shirt or dress and as a spring jacket. Handy pockets, too.
Shown with navy lambskin stovepipes, a simple pull-on pair made by Izzy Camilleri. Pattern was a pair of old Agnès b. pants; these are about 17 years old.
3. TSE cabled v-neck
A gift from Dad, ca. 1990; I can see him still, assessing the yarn with a deft rub of his fingers, which he'd do even with strangers, stroking a coat or sweater sleeve and saying "Ahhh, nice!"
I wouldn't have chosen royal blue, but can see in the photo how it brings out my eyes. Dad liked blues, maroon and a clear, vibrant daffodil yellow on "his girls"– never pastels.
The knit's quite a fine gauge; one cuff is mended. I wear it gently, hoping to keep it forever.
The earrings are Tiffany bees ca. 1970, from my mother.
4. Cashmere/silk navy tunic by Gentry Portofino
When "Marina" was visiting last summer we discovered we both had sweaters from 1982!
Mine was bought in Paris, while traveling with a boyfriend. It was pricey ($1,150 in today's dollars). Boyfriend was not around to dissuade me; he had bought a sax and honked away under the bridges.
Sometimes young, heedless and in love (with the sweater, that is) has its own logic.
In fine condition still, it never pilled and somehow the moths didn't hit it. I've removed that Diamond Jubilee scarf to show the bateau neckline.
Grabbing these shots, I realized how good-quality old clothes lend comfort and familiarity, and I'm no longer apt to replace something just because I've "had it for ages". There is a time to dismiss the worn-out and dated, but there's also the particular pleasure of pulling out a favourite for another season.
What are your favourite long-owned items?