There was a time in my life when the idea of the “fashion sweatshirt” was anathema to everything I valued. I like my fashion fanciful, glamorous, ostentatiously unconventional, and cheap. The high-fashion sweatshirt is none of those things. It’s boring, it’s plain, and for what it is, it is expensive. The idea of putting a designer label in a basic sweatshirt and charging a fortune for it repelled me almost more than the idea of wearing a sweatshirt in the first place repelled me. But then I tried one, and now I adore them.
My distaste for sweatshirts is in large part revenge for the way they tend to look on me. I am not an Olsen twin, and I have a difficult time rocking that “model off-duty” look because I am not an off-duty model. When I wear clothes that look like shlubby old pajamas, I just look like a normal person running around in her shlubby old pajamas. I figured that adding a designer label to one would not make it any more attractive on me than did the heavy old Champion one I wore to gym in high school.
Then one day, in a post-baby fit of hormones, I bought one. It probably has less to do with the baby and more to do with seeing how cool a particular It Girl fashion editor looked in hers, but the baby hormones short-circuited my brain so I forgot all about the old Champion sweatshirt and convinced myself that in a $100 sweatshirt I would look like someone who hung out with Alexander Wang.
I regretted the order almost immediately, but it was too late to cancel. When the sweatshirt arrived, I figured I would send it right back to the company. But then I tried it on. In the box the sweatshirt had looked just like the old Champion version, but once I touched it I realized the fabric was completely different. It looked similar, but it was softer and draped more attractively over my shoulders and around my waist. The cut was different, too. Instead of being a big, flat, boxy square, I looked like I was wearing a very attractive cashmere sweater, but cooler. I looked like the sort of person about whom one would say, “She wears cashmere sweaters like they’re sweatshirts.” I even fantasized that my messy hair looked “artfully messy” and not just messy.
As much as I liked the look, I still probably wouldn’t have kept it if it had not been so darn practical, too. It made me feel like I looked fancy but was as comfortable as pajamas. Ad, best of all, it was washable. Even the cheapest of my fancy silk charmeuse H&M blouses is dry-clean only, and in the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg: “This shirt is dry-clean only, which means it’s dirty.”
All my glittery, fanciful outfits looked like a huge pain in the ass to wear, style, and launder, but the sweatshirt could just be thrown into the wash. If something got on it, I could rub a stain stick on it and it would come out. If it got a hole in it, then I would be the girl in the cool sweater with the hole.
I could wear the darn thing every day with my high-waisted jeans and be ridiculously comfortable and still look like a cool person, or at least think that I looked like a cool person, which is really about 98% of the point. Now all I need is at least three more.