Answered Prayers


short-sleeve cardigan sweater

I know this isn't a dress, but regular readers will know of my preoccupation — really, obsession — with short-sleeved cardigan sweaters. I *love* them. There is no better A/C-fighter/shoulder-coverup in the summer than a short-sleeved cardigan. A cardigan, a nice tee, and a pretty skirt is perfect for nearly any occasion … but it's been so hard to find decent short-sleeved cardigans! (Searches tend to turn up these horrors.)

And now, in answer to unarticulated prayers, it seems that J. Crew — yes, that J. Crew — has them. In TWELVE colors, including orange, kelly green, and TWO different yellows.

They're not cheap, unfortunately ($65) but they're not insanely unreasonable, and I've been satisfied with J. Crew quality in the past. But here's the most important part: I called to get the neck-hem measurement, and it's 21.5 inches in the medium. Yep — if you're shortwaisted, as I am, that should hit you perfectly at the top of the hip, which is where sweaters should fall. (Honestly. They've done all sorts of calculations, and invoked the golden ratio, and everything. That's where they should be.)

Sadly, about half the colors (including the green, the orange, and one of the yellows) won't ship until 6/16. (I really want ALL OF THEM, but I'm going to limit myself to one or two and see how they work out. I'm even tempted by the bright purple, and I hate purple.)

Now if I could only find mesh polo shirts that measured 21 inches or less, shoulder to hem, in nice colors, WITHOUT some big honking logo, my (sartorial) life would be nearly perfect.

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0 thoughts on “Answered Prayers

  1. Of course, if you’re NOT short waisted, it means you’ll spend your whole day tugging the darn thing down to cover your midsection. Sigh.

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  2. Cpeep – I’m with you. Hi, my name is Theresa and I am longwaisted.Erin – have you tried Lands End or Cutter and Buck for polos? Or even PinG(the golf people?)

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  3. Egads! “Quacker Factory Short Sleeve Beaded Monkey Cardigan”. Anyone at the company finding themselves saying that out loud should have thought ‘that just isn’t right’ and put a stop to it. I have been a tremendous vintage and thrift store shopper my whole life and I am taller than the average bear. I have found that it is easy to stretch a sweater. All you need to do is give it a hand wash (I like shampoo) and drain the sink. Give it a squeeze to get the water out of it (don’t wring!) and with the soap still in it, stretch it and place it on a clothes dryer to half dry. Once your half dry, put it back in the sink and rinse it out. Squeeze it a bit, stretch it and lay it on a large towel. roll it up, walk on it, then unroll and lay back on the dryer to dry. This works very well, but I’d never attempt it for some sweaters with design considerations like stitched on elements.

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  4. I too love short sleeved cardis, as here in northern California it is never really warm on the coast. And if it is we complain.Erin, look at the article on Pattern Review called Refashioning Sweaters. It is very clever and I am going to try it on a cashmere sweater I got at a thrift store for $1.50. I am going to cut it with short sleeves and band the edges with fabric.

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  5. Here here! I second the comment that these are absolutely essential to life. Actually, any cardigan and matching tank or sleeveless crew or short-sleeved crew or turtleneck or WHATEVER in every color in the rainbow is preferable. But all of these in at least white, black, blue, red, pink, yellow, and green are ESSENTIAL.We should erect a memorial to the inventor of these genius apparel items.

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  6. the boden cardigans i like have mid-length sleeves. short sleeves are great, but i like to be able to tie something around my waist.

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  7. Target of all places has some decent, cheap short sleeved cardigans- the Merona Cable Knit Cardigan. Twenty bucks, several colors. I have yet to find the perfect one for my, ahem, shape- or lack thereof. So I’m going to knit one. If I manage to do it, I’m going to make a dress or skirt to go with it. Mighty big goals I’m setting for myself.

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  8. Hmmm… could you sew those perfect polo shirts? It might be a little hard to find the right fabric, but you could make it the exact right length for you. ^^I actually don’t *know* if I’m short-waisted or not… I guess that’s because I tend to make empire waist dresses where that measurement is less critical… >>;;But yeah, I need more of those short-sleevies. >.<

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  9. J. Crew ROCKS. Whoever’s in charge there now deserves a medal.The colors are great, clothes are flattering, interesting, well-cut and well made. Heck, I was in there yesterday and even tried on a pair of trousers. Now, let me get this straight: A. I don’t wear pants, B. I don’t like pants, C. I was not in the market for a pair of pants (I was really just trying on the jacket but for some reasons brought these in with me too) but holy crap, they fit really, really well. I almost bought them except for reasons A, B & C above. Maybe when they’re on sale…

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  10. $65 for a short sleeved little cardigan sweater is INSANELY expensive in my world. That’s a completely crazy price for what that sweater looks like. I can’t imagine with gas and food prices like they are who would pay that for that for any summer sweater, let alone a little nothing like the one pictured. Makes me think this entire blog must be bs. Don’t think I’ll be coming here again. Seems like the goal is to get people to spend money.

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  11. Wow, that anonymous comment is pretty harsh. $65 is expensive for a sweater for me, too (thrift-store shopping for these is definitely possible), but Erin often just links to things because she likes them — and sometimes they really are insanely expensive, like the Ike dress a while back. If you think it’s too expensive, don’t buy it — nobody’s “making” you spend money.Thanks, Erin, for calling these deals out — while I’m not going to buy it either, I like to expand my sartorial vision of things that can go with dresses. 🙂

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  12. It’s not hard at all to shorten a sweater sleeve, just cut out the sleeve, and re-cut with the sleeve cap closer to the cuff–of course the cuff needs to be wide enough to fit one’s upper arm, and the new shoulder cut should fit into the existing armhole–it’s a 15 min. job.re: expense of sweater from J.Crew:Historically, mankind (and womankind) have never spent as less as we are right now for apparel. Those lovelies we see on the vintage patterns would have paid considerably more of their income proportion than we will for a $65 Egyptian, long fiber, full-fashioned sweater (which is what this is).The current mind-set of our economic culture is to pay as little as possible for manufactured and hand produced goods, hence the sorrowful cycle of manufacturing doom we are currently inflicting on economies less powerful than ourselves.Shame on us for thinking we deserve the cheapest garment now being produced in the world, it comes with a heavy human price.

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  13. I’m obviously a different anonymous, because I linked to the sweater and then promptly bought it. I’d been looking for a moderately-priced kelly green cardigan to wear over a Target dress, and this is perfect. Thanks Erin!

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  14. I second the vote to make polos. After all they are just glorified t-shirts. Um (brain trying to work) Kwik Sew has a decent pattern as I recall. And I remember googling for rib trim and finding a place that had a bunch of different weights and colors. Just in case you need arm twisting er encouragement, ya know…

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  15. Thank you so much for calling JCrew to ask about the shoulder to hem measurement…for us to use! I, too, am short waisted. Most shirts fall at an unflattering spot on my hourglass figure, making me look cylindrical. (Yes, I did read that fabulous comment a kind lady left awhile ago about how to dress for your figure, or to re-figure your figure, if desired. It was awesome!) Anyway, just wanted to say thanks, because I would have bypassed these helpful cuties altogether otherwise, assuming that they were the usual JCrew-made-for-gazelles kind of thing.

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  16. Jen O, clothes may have been more expensive at one time than they are now, but not that much more expensive. For example, the 65 cent “steel magnolia” pattern (if dating from 1965) cost about $4.50 in today’s dollars.Something that cost about $10 in 1965 costs $65 in today’s dollars. So the price of that J. Crew cardigan is comperable to a $10 sweater in 1965. According to this page, that’s probably the price of a nice sweater at that time: http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/prices/1965.htmlIn 1965, minimum wage was $1.25/hr, so a person would work 8 hours to earn the sweater. Minimum wage is currently $5.85, which means a person would work 11 hours to earn the sweater.

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  17. Jen O, clothes may have been more expensive at one time than they are now, but not that much more expensive. For example, the 65 cent “steel magnolia” pattern (if dating from 1965) cost about $4.50 in today’s dollars.Something that cost about $10 in 1965 costs $65 in today’s dollars. So the price of that J. Crew cardigan is comperable to a $10 sweater in 1965. According to this page, that’s probably the price of a nice sweater at that time: http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/prices/1965.htmlIn 1965, minimum wage was $1.25/hr, so a person would work 8 hours to earn the sweater. Minimum wage is currently $5.85, which means a person would work 11 hours to earn the sweater.

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  18. Erin, I know you don’t need me to defend your post, but after that utter BARB from Anonymous, always remember that your blog is awesome. :-)I haven’t decided whether s/s cardis are my style yet — although I am a bit curious about the refashioning tutorial on PR…might have to check that out.

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  19. Oh dear, Anonymous @ 6:12:00 PM, how encouraging people to sew their own clothes translates to ‘the goal is to get people to spend money’ is a little beyond me.I agree wholeheartedly with the short sleeved cardigan thing, it lets you eke out your cotton summer frocks a little longer into Autumn (as we are in the midst of in Australia).

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  20. I’m a long sleever myself. (I was the kid with the blue lips at the pool), but I do have an overly strong attraction to cardigans and therefor a rather large collection of them. nothing shows off a dress while keeping you perfectly comfortable like a good cardigan.

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  21. The unkind annonymous poster probably has read very very little of the blog because a few posts in and it’s obvious to anyone that Erin’s a warm hearted encouraging person who’s just blogging to share her passions

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  22. Well the barb throwing anonymous did say she(he?) would not be coming back…so that’s one less negative person to deal with here. It’s anonymous’ loss, not ours. And on the $65 sweater — isn’t it better to buy one at $65 that will last for years than many at $10 that will have to be replaced?I was always told to buy higher quality classic clothing items and less expensive trendy items. I’d rahter save my money for a really good sweater, jacket, pair of shoes, than keep buying stuff that doesn’t hold up. Isn’t that being more frugal? And some people live in places where the thrift stores aren’t so good…and the “consignment” stores want to charge as much as brand new! I try to buy things off season on clearance…of course you run the risk of it not being in your size/color.

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  23. I love that you posted about this–I bought the purple and it took a month to get here, but I have been wearing it nonstop. And I too gulped at $65 but price-per-wear isn’t so bad…They also just came out with (double gulp) $98 Tana lawn blouses. Sigh.

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  24. Hiya kb, even I (Queen of Spendthriftness) couldn’t bring myself to pay quite that much for a Tana lawn shirt, but you can locate Crew/Liberty options available half price or less (eBay and elsewhere). Do keep your eyes peeled.

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  25. I was thinking what Jen was thinking when I read this, that Erin, you are so creative, how can it be that you have not found a cute way to make short sleeved cardigans out of long sleeved ones and post a tutorial about it here???? I picture maybe cutting the sleeve where you want it, serging it or something to keep it from fraying, then maybe adding a seam and some light-weight elastic? Maybe a bit of fabric, like Jen suggested, as trim? Gross-grain ribbon? A little button closure??? I expect to see something amazingly cute here shortly.

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  26. Very cute sweater. Get the colors you couldn’t live without (in case there is a run on these) and then wait. Things at J. Crew invariably go on sale. A sweater my sister bought for $70, I later snapped up for $12. So you’ll be able to get more of the colors you liked!

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  27. Jen, almost all of the clothes are assembled in third world countries, as we all know. They make all of the clothes in the same factories, with the same fabrics, and the same patterns, and then they just slap different labels on them and price them accordingly. There really is very little difference in quality among any of them. I saw this on a television program. So if you are laboring under the mistaken impression that this little cotton sweater must somehow be worth $65 just because they call it Egyptian cotton and put a J Crew label on it, you’re wrong. It’s the same little cotton sweater that you can probably buy at a discount store for under $20. The mark up on clothes is among the highest of all manufactured goods. My guess is this sweater literally cost under $1 to make from beginning to end.And, as far as the shame we should all feel for not welcoming the price so that others can have a better life, that’s so ridiculous it’s laughable. Everyone knows that the workers who have miserable lives earning slave wages are never, ever going to see the profits from these garments. All of the profits go into the hands of the factory owners, just as they always have. I think most people would be willing to spend a little more than they are for clothes if they actually had jobs at decent wages like they used to have when clothing was still made in the US.But, American citizens can no longer afford to pay what they used to pay for clothes because they not longer enjoy the real income or standard of living that they used to enjoy. This is because their good paying jobs have all gone offshore so big business can reap more profits.We all know this, and the fact that anyone could argue that $65 for a short sleeved cotton sweater is a reasonable price has to be a shill. Give me a break.

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  28. sadly, for me, I need things to be 24″ long (if I am wearing them with trousers, 25″ is better).I am 5’2″ but my torso is as long as my husband’s — he’s 5’10”. :/

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  29. For what I am about to say I need to remain Anon… I used to work in Custom Brokerage, and sadly Anon 3:23 is partly correct. Some company’s do do that with the label switching for the same exact sweater and charging different prices. Also that $65 dollar sweater would be imported for about $5 US dollars. Sometimes a little less sometimes a little more depending on the fabric content and the maker. Believe me I could tell you stories… those designer bags selling for hundreds of dollars,”that everyone seems to Have to have” are imported into the US for between 5 & 20 dollars, depending on the type of bag. It is basically a crying shame. Things are being imported into the US for pennies on the dollar compared to what it retails for, And you know what we all pay the “price” for that. After that little dose of reality I refuse to buy designer labels and I stick to thrift stores or I make it myself, or do without. Ok I will step off my soap box now.

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  30. I usually love this blog, but $65 for a sweater like this? You have got to be kidding!!!It is time to END GROSS CONSUMERISM!When you make these purchases you are contributing to inflation from American Big Business which supports Asian sweatshops. … save $58 and go to your local thrift store (Goodwill, Salvation Army). Last week I spent 1 hour looking and snagged like new cardigans for $4 each. For $21 I got 2 summer skirts, 2 tees that match, a linen blouse and a cardigan. All look practically brand-new. PLUS the Goodwill provides jobs to disabled people in my area.

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  31. The “partially correct” ploy is the most overworked disinformation technique going. A person pretends that they are really the expert with insider information, and then agrees in part with your claims so that they can then mitigate them, just exactly like this person did. The sweater didn’t cost $5. I’m sure the sweater cost something closer to 5 cents. On the program I saw, jeans were made for a quarter a piece. And, they aren’t SWITCHING tags. They are making clothes and putting the tags on them that they are instructed to put on them. The tags are for different manufacturers, but they are being put on basically the same clothes. Some of the names would be for higher priced clothiers and some for lower, but the clothes were all coming from the same factory, and the quality was all comparable. And they named the names of the manufacturers and they were names that everyone knows. Once more. This wasn’t something being done without the knowledge and instruction of the manufacturers. This is the standard practice. Same clothes, same quality, different labels. And, you don’t have to shop at a thrift store to pay a reasonable price for clothes. Remember the insane mark up. Well, because of that retailers can reduce the prices by 75-80% and more and still make a good profit, so buy on sale or off season. You can always shop at places that don’t charge so much. It makes sense since the clothes are not really all that different. You don’t have to pay $65 for a cotton sweater. You can buy one new for under $20. I’ve seen them myself. But I’m not here to sell sweaters for anyone.

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  32. I really don’t get all of the bile from these anonymous posters. Feel free to cackle and shriek in horror over a $65 sweater, but keep in mind that no one is forcing you to read this blog or buy the sweater.

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  33. No one is cackling or shrieking in horror. Although hyperbole and sarcasm is just one more technique in the arsenal of those who try to discredit genuine information. I’m only pointing out the facts about the mark up and quality of ready to wear garments in light of our current economy. When you can’t discredit or argue those facts, then you can only resort to “shrieking” “Go away, we don’t want you here! You aren’t playing the game we’re playing…the game of putting ridiculously priced garments online and trying to convince people that they are reasonably priced.” In other words, advertising for various retail labels (and by extension — all pricey retail establishments) under the guise of a fashion blog. And, of course no one can force people to buy things. But, advertising agencies and propaganda organs have been manipulating people into doing things which are to their detriment for decades now.This is just one more of those sites. Therefore, I feel it’s necessary to have a dissenting viewpoint so that people aren’t persuaded that $65 for a cotton sweater “isn’t insanely expensive.”And, I might add that if you don’t happen to agree with my dissenting viewpoint, you also are free to ignore it, or argue it, or stop coming here, just as you suggested that I do. And, I am only posting anonymously because I can’t post under my name. The blog site won’t allow that.

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  34. Somehow, “even if the world is running down, we can make the best of what’s still around” is coming to represent this post as well! I wouldn’t be caught dead paying $65.00 for that sweater, even before the rise in food and gas prices. Well, because I am notoriously thrifty. I certainly don’t feel that I should condemn anyone else for doing it, though. I have been shopping at thrift stores since I got my first paycheck and realized how far it wouldn’t go. Now that my paycheck is much bigger, I realize how much farther it can go. Frankly, I am tickled pink that some person is willing to buy an expensive, classicly styled jewel necked cashmere sweater and cast it off after one season, so that I may wear it for years on less than a $5.00 investment.I am a fiber hound and I can walk down the sweater aisle at Sallies with my hand on the arms and pull out the silk, cashmere and long fiber cottons. So, I don’t completely buy the idea that all of the cotton sweaters, for instance, come from the same place of the same raw materials. I understand that this may be a rule of thumb, but it is not an absolute.What is up with these anonymous posts? Are there that may cyber bullies here on Dress a Day that a person has to feel that they must hide their identity in order to speak their mind?

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  35. Once again, we’re going to talk about condemning people and thrift stores and our own personal idiosyncracies as if this were really germaine to the discussion.No one is being condemned. No one is shrieking. And people are posting anonymously because that is the only way this site will allow them to post, as I said in my previous post. My guess is that when retailers realize that very few people are willing to pay $65 for a short sleeved cotton sweater, because they simply do not have that sort of disposable income any longer, and because a similar sweater is available to them at less than a third of that cost, places like J Crew and others will conform their prices to what the market will bear, or go out of business.My beef is with sites like this one that pretend to be personal blogs, but are really manned by professional what? writer/ advertisers?whose goal is to sell things.There are 19 advertisements on the home web page for various pattern sites. And, I’m sure many of the links include more places selling fabrics/patterns/magazines/sewing machines, etc. At first I believed that sites like this and various other sewing sites were legit ie. were what they purported to be…but I soon learned that they are not. Their purpose is advertising. That is why they exist and that is why anyone who raises any ideas contrary to their agenda is met with such strong hostility, obfuscation, and finally banned completely.I came here hoping to see home sewn dress made from unusual patterns that “Erin” had constructed herself. But what you get is pictures of expensive fabric, expensive sweaters, expensive shoes, old pattern sleeves, and dresses in museums. Or, old dresses that were probably purchased at a thrift store and look like it. Where is the person who supposedly actually sews dresses and wears them.You don’t see her because she doesn’t exist. And, it’s the exact same thing when you go to any of the other blogs that are supposedly being done by a nonaffiliated person with a special interest or aptitude. They’re sales sites.Anyone who goes to these places with any regularity can easily dissern this. You aren’t fooling anyone.

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  36. Most people are able to post their comment with a name. It is not rocket science. Maybe to a person that considers herself a one-woman Adbusters, but most people are able to pull it off without complications.

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  37. Goodness me, pipe down gentlefolk, please! I’m getting flashbacks to driving in the back of my mother’s station wagon (c. 1967) with my four older siblings. It would be just about at this point that toddler-me I would have to resort to relieving myself in my pink plastic potty just to give them something REAL to complain about. Are we there yet?

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  38. I can assure you Erin is a real person who has made many lovely things. Look in the archives.To post by your name click the Name/URL and type in your name

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  39. I guess when you’re still going caca in your plastic potty in your mind (does that qualify as shit for brains?) economic recession, gas prices, unemployment, food shortages, worker exploitation,slave wages, poverty etc etc etc, aren’t really REAL enough problems in eirly’s condescending little world.

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  40. Anonymous, it’s just plain silly that you would suggest that statements about thrift stores and fiber content aren’t relevant to a discussion of this sweater. I do believe that Erin is a real person who sews atleast some of the clothes she wears. If you take a look back through the archives, you will see photos of dresses she has made. I personally like this blog because it is a nice cross section of mostly sewing related topics. There are good discussions here fueled by images from vintage patterns and vintage clothing, as well as more modern designs and ready to wear. It doesn’t bother me one whit that there are 19 advertisements on the home page for various pattern sites. I’m a sewer, so I welcome the variety.

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  41. I’m checking in to see if anonymous’s claim that blogger won’t allow him/her to use his/her real name is true.This is just a test.Thank you,Deirdrewww.craftcabana.blogspot.comWhoops! Looky there. It does seem entirely possibly to identify oneself, after all.

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  42. I love that “Anonymous” uses the phrase “I saw this on a television program” to justify his/her statements. Because we all know television programs are always completely truthful and are never influenced by advertising or investors in an attempt to sell anything.

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  43. I too have been on quests for the short-sleeved cardigan. However, a while back I switched to wraps instead—they cover the shoulders against crazy A/C just as well, but are a bit more versatile and FAR easier to find.No problem signing in with any of 3 naming options other than anonymous.

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  44. Good greif. Anonymous #1 and other Anonymouses (anonymice?) (you know who you are): Please, start acting like mature adults! Yes, $65 is a lot to spend on a cardigan, but is that any reason to accuse Erin’s blog of being “utter bs”? And this goes double for “7/10 split”. I am a junior in high school and you sound exactly like any of the many catty, cruel girls I sit with in classes. “Shit-for-brains” is hardly sterling oratory.And on the subject of Erin’s being a paid advertiser for clothing companies, may I quote from this post: “Now if I could only find mesh polo shirts that measured 21 inches or less, shoulder to hem, in nice colors, WITHOUT some big honking logo, my (sartorial) life would be nearly perfect.” (bolding is mine).~Ari

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  45. If only people who love to pick fights anonymously on the internet had better things to do with their lives. Like, I don’t know – become real advocates for the poor and oppressed around the world and spend their time well, rather than hiding behind a computer screen spouting possibly-true-but-wholly-uncited-and-really-pretty-unproductive discourse. That would be great.As it is, I’m here for dresses. So carry on, Erin!

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