A week or two ago I saw a young woman sporting a beehive hairdo. This woman was maybe in her mid 20’s and it wasn’t any disheveled Winehouse-esque look either. She was quite well dressed and her beehive was well done and perfectly in place. It sparked a brief discussion amongst the person I was with about fashion trends that have come and gone over the decades and some that have come back again. Acid wash jeans, leg warmers, the peasant skirt, and of course bell bottoms all came to mind.
Then on Friday I was given a book of men’s sweater patterns that was published in 1940.
The photographs in this collection of vintage classics are hysterical, as are the names of the sweater patterns. But the more I looked at the actual sweaters, the more I realized that there was nothing about the garments themselves, other than maybe the fitting, that has really ever gone out of style for men. I guess they've never really left and that’s why they call them classics.
The sweaters range from V neck and crew neck pullovers, vests, cardigans, and even a turtle neck. Most are done in a simple stockinette with ribbing at the bottom and on the cuffs, and some patterns have simple textures like basic cables or all over ribbing. But the one thing I couldn’t figure out was why the bottom band of so many of the sweaters is folded up. It looks funny.
The book was put out by Chadwick’s Red Heart Wools. Yes, Red Heart, the company name that for much of anyone’s recent memory has been synonymous with awful acrylic. They are trying to remake their image though, with the help of Debbie Stoller of Stitch N Bitch fame and a new line of natural fiber yarns. The patterns all seem pretty well written and easy to follow with measurements to block the sweater pieces to.
If you’re interested in getting a copy of this classic collection of classics, you can probably find one for sale on eBay, Etsy, or Amazon. I’m pretty sure you won’t pay the cover price though!