Vintage can be so tricky to wear. In fact, I typically eschew most vintage in favor of contemporary consignment. Unlike some die-hard vintage divas, I just can’t seem to rock a 1970s pantsuit or a 1950s pinafore dress.
But some vintage pieces seems to transcend the ill-fit tendencies of their respective time periods — and when you find those pieces, you’ve got to grab them. Today’s sweater is a prime example.
I found the studded 1980s sweater a few years ago in Williamsburg at Amarcord Vintage. It was merchandised as a minidress — and I wore it as such, until it shrunk after a trip to the dry cleaner. Lately, I’ve been repurposing it as a slouchy sweater.
When I initially tried it on, I was not convinced I should buy it. With the “look-at-me” collar and cuffs and the exaggerated batwing shape, it just seemed too Molly Ringwald. Then, a fellow shopper whirred around and exclaimed that if I didn’t take it, she would. (Never underestimate the persuasive power of a shopping competitor.)
Turns out, versions of this sweater have been making the vintage rounds. Back when Nasty Gal was still an eBay shop, it sold a version of this sweater, too:
The designer is Bonnie Boerer, who was known for super-embellished knitwear. In her heyday, Boerer named her sweaters whimsical names like the pearl-fringed “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” the rhinestone-covered “Twentieth Century Fox” and the appliquéd “South of the Border.”
There are plenty of similar Bonnie sweaters available on Etsy — I particularly like this spangled version, which is just $38 and can be dyed black for more drama. That said, 1980s knitwear is a tricky business — wearing a sequined sweater takes a certain amount of irony, so you’ve got to be adroit at styling. (I don’t have that gene, which is why I own nothing with sequins, period.)
The funnel neck can be styled as a cowl neck or as a turtleneck, like the way Nasty Gal styled it. (I can’t resist a cowl neck, so that’s how I choose to wear it.)
You tell me: What are your thoughts on the vagaries of ’80s knitwear? And would you style this sweater any differently?