Saturday, November 05, 2011

Prepare to Party: Beaded cardigans

One of the most irksome aspects of this time of year, fashion-wise, is being inundated with glitter, beads, sequins and other shiny baubles that we are supposed to desperately need for our fabulously busy holiday party season.  I'm always either intimidated, or feel inferior, because (a) I don't get invited  to that many parties, and (b) the ones I go to aren't all that splashy!

But it's easy to get sucked into the idea that one should invest in a half-dozen party outfits...

My antidote: I bought a (used) beaded cardigan.  These are readily available, at all price points, and are quite versatile.  See some ideas below.

Black cardigan – John Lewis, turquoise – Debenhams, black – John Lewis, curry – Vanessa Bruno, navy – CC, gray – Day Birger et Mikkelsen  
Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Miriam Salat, tee shirt – Donna Karan, jeans – Levi’s, gray short boots – Acne, earrings – Alexis Bittar, tee shirt – James Perse, loafers – Vaneli, cords – NYDJ

Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane, turtleneck – Gucci, gray skirt – Michael Kors, pumps – Miu Miu, earrings – Kimberly McDonald, pink blouse – Acne, taupe pants – Stella McCartney, oxfords - BP  
Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Forzieri, gray dress – Diane von Furstenberg, gray pumps – Calvin Klein, earrings – Alexis Bittar, taupe dress – Calvin Klein, bow pumps – Valentino

Some thoughts on buying vintage cardigans:
  1. Check every seam, especially around the arms, and down the sides, to ensure that there are no irreparable holes.
  2. Check the elbows for signs of wear.
  3.  Make sure that you can easily and comfortably fasten the sweater - this is NOT the garment to wear in the currently fashionable shrunken look - it puts too much strain on the fabric.
  4. Is the thread holding the beads still in good shape, or is it beginning to rot?  When it goes to pieces, it goes ALL AT ONCE...
  5. Are the beads intact, or are they starting to flake and tarnish?  A little bit of patina can make a formerly too-garish sweater much more subdued and attractive, but you don't want to get one that's positively green and shedding little bits of bead everywhere.


  1. I love a little sparkle:) Great outfit ideas!

  2. Bellissimo!!! Grazie!!!

  3. Love these! I don't get invited to many parties either. Hmmm - perhaps we both need to throw one ourselves so we can wear one of these?

  4. Perfect timing - and a great solution to the holiday obligations we may or may not have. Just last night I was wondering if I should take the plunge on something sparkly but hate the idea of sleeveless "party" dresses that simply aren't me. A sparkly cardigan, on the other hand is something I could make work. Thanks!

  5. This is perfect timing because I've been musing on my holiday outfits. All of mine will be built around a black sequined cami/tank -- worn with velvet pants and a cashmere cardigan, worn with a velvet tunic and simple skinny pants, etc.

  6. Jen - you're reading my mind! I think Monday's post will be a "not so crazy eights" for the holidays. The original Vivienne Files talked about a core dressy wardrobe, and I'm going to build on that.
    thanks for being here with me!

  7. I will second the "perfect timing" sentiment - I have a fundraiser to attend tonight and yesterday was frantically thrashing about the interweb for a new outfit (getting ideas, then planning a trip to the mall - shudder). Then I calmed down, realized that all those sparkly outfits were not practical and I had plenty to choose from in my own closet - and settled on the modestly beaded cardigan! I will wear it with a dress, belted, with tights and platform pumps. Already own it all - win! Thanks again! -- Queen Lucia

  8. I don't feel like I can wear sparkly things and be taken seriously; it's my own hang-up, and probably sourced from my mother making negative observations of women at her parties wherein some erstwhile doyenne was not wearing sparkle well. And it could be that my mother was just jealous. Anyhow, I think a subtle show of sparkle is chic. To be safe, I'll confine mine to my earrings or a row on a pretty cardigan.

    Good reminder to shop for special holiday things at a consignment/vintage store!

  9. It is Summer in the southern hemisphere, so a sequined camisole or tank as Jen suggests would work best over the coming festive season in my part of the world. Now where to find one?