I took up knitting this weekend, dear readers. For real. Stop laughing. I really did. My friend Kelly’s been trying to get me interested for a while. She’s all talented and whatnot, making socks for her daughter and stitching up a storm of gorgeous scarves and shawls. So, I acquiesced and agreed to join her Knotty Knitters meeting (I’m not making up the name) and even agreed to *try* to knit something. She suggested a people scarf in lilac. I counter offered with a cat scarf (for Penny, right) in black. Yes. A cat scarf. In black. While everyone else happily chatted and stitched with ease on their brightly colored items, I labored over every knit and perl of my tiny black scarf. How demoralizing. Why do people do this, and in an organized fashion, no less? Why are twelve grown women sitting around on a perfectly beautiful Saturday afternoon making stuff with sticks and yarn? I know I’d rather be outside by the water, sporting my Tom Ford sunglasses and sitting in a café with a coffee, but no, I persevered.
As I continued to struggle with Penny’s scarf (how could you say no to Penny?) and eventually got better and faster, I realized the beauty of making something with one’s own hands. I’m not a sewer, can’t make jewelry, don’t have a hope of ever designing shoes or handbags. But now I can knit. How cool is that? Obviously, designers have been onto this “natural” or “exotic” look for quite some time now. Sometimes they call it “tribal,” although they never quite specify which tribe, now do they? I’d love to meet that one tribe out there that seems to be the fount of all sartorial wisdom. They must be utterly exhausted from being so inspirational! But alas, I digress…
The basic point is, many shoppers will spend lots of money to wear something that looks like they might have possibly made it themselves. Odd? Maybe, considering just a generation ago, women like my mother had to make most of their clothes (limited access to stores, time and money constraints, etc.), but aspired to wear store-bought clothes when they got older. Well now, we’ve come full circle, with designers high and low alike creating fashions that evoke a sense of hand-craftedness and an ethos of do-it-yourself. If it’s a knotty, knitty look you’re going for, look no farther than 3.1 Philip Lim‘s silk lattice blouse, above, available on eLuxury. I love the juxtaposition of the open neckline with the deep, luxurious fabric of the loose-fitting body and flutter sleeves.
At $355.00, this is definitely a save-up-for-it piece, but a similar look can be had for a fraction of the cost from JC Penney, right. Their a.n.a. brand bubble-sleeve eyelet top gives you the same open-weave neckline with flutter sleeves and a tunic-style bodice for only $14.99! And, in a cotton-polyester blend, it’s machine washable, which silk most decidedly isn’t. Nice. If accessories are the way you like to try out new trends, then go for a woven handbag to get that safari look. Why not try Elliot Lucca’s Aruba bag, left, from Nordstrom? It’s roomy, and will go from work to weekend effortlessly.
To achieve the same look for much less, check out Forever21‘s weave flap duffle tote, right. It’s vegan-friendly, and actually a big bigger than the Elliot Lucca bag – go figure! Both bags offer the oh-so-important cell-phone pocket on the inside. I so love that feature in a handbag. Finally, if you really want an item which illustrates the curious dichotomy of home-spun/designer goods, be sure to pick up a pair of Stella McCartney crocheted wedge sandals from Neiman Marcus.