The crop top is one of the year’s biggest trends, we are informed by VK. This is great news for 60% of American women. Crop tops very flattering to those who carry their weight through the hips and thighs, as the visual weight of a short sweater helps balance the body. However, cropped tops also draw attention to the midriff, which is not where many middle aged or post-partum women want anyone to focus. So, if a flabby tummy is your unfortunate fate, you want to steer towards those tops which are shorter. The designs above all end just below the bust at an ‘Empire line’. For many women, this is the slenderest place on their torso, and it makes sense then to draw focus to it. However, design #4 (at right) cuts right across the belly, so if that’s the pattern you favor, just work it shorter.
My body is at the opposite end of the spectrum with broad shoulders and a large bust. So, this should be a trend I allow to pass right on by. However, design #4 by Karen Garlinghouse could work for me. The v-neck visually cuts my shoulder width and lengthens my torso. It ends just below the bust, which also works for me. And, the ruching (gathers) at the center front gently enhance a bosom, rather than visually flatten it. Perhaps best of all, the ¾ sleeves will hide my flabby upper arms. (Although I am tempted to shorten them to elbow length.) Design #5 by Shiri Mor (third from left at top) is a near miss for me. Undoing most of the zipper from from the top down gives you a v-neck, but it lacks the bust enhancement of #4. Even the greatness of the swirls at the back would earn it a place on my needles.
Robin Melanson’s lace dress (#7) is a stunner, especially in hot pink. The cap sleeves don’t work for me, but, in all honestly, I am sure I would run out of steam after two or three or four feet of knitting and finish it off as a fabulous skirt.
Have I mentioned that I love knit (or crochet) skirts? I live in skirts all summer because to me there are so much more comfortable than shorts. And knit skirts have the advantage of an elastic fabric to make them even more comfortable. Right now I am wearing a skirt that I knit when I weighed 30 lbs. less than I do right now – and it is still fits well and looks great. In winter I think there is nothing more chic than a knit skirt and boots. Except maybe an openwork skirt worn over leggings and boots. Anyhow, back to VK . . .
My second favorite from the ‘Rule Botanica’ story is Jill Wright’s cabled top. You know I love a v-neck, and the cables and ribs lend a lengthening vertical line to the body. For me, the cap sleeves are a concern, but I could add some elbow-length sleeves. That would be cute worn over a long sleeve T-shirt to make a trans-seasonal garment.
Intarsia is back! Back, indeed. As in flashbacks to my college best friend’s intarsia tsunami wave sweater worked in 23 different shades of blue. The destructive power of that wave nearly derailed her newbie knitter confidence. And, as I recall, it became her very first UFO.
Intarsia is a trend which naturally trends young. (See college knitting comment above.) One reason is that cute images, such as small, furry animals are often featured. Say hello, kitty! The other reason is that if you have any of those womanly curves, your sweater is no longer a flat plain to frame your picture. As your sweater curves in and out, the image distorts just like a fun house mirror. So, curvy girls want to keep their images small and off the bust, like the fox at right. Or, move your intarsia work to the back of the sweater where you've got a nice flat expanse.
Color blocking is another flashback having a revival this decade. What I find most interesting in the designs is how the placement of color draws the eye. The most obvious is how the bright yellow stripe brings attention to and broadens the shoulders. This is a good look for those women who need to balance broader hips and thighs with more visual weight on top. The pose of the model in lilac and mint green shows off the racing stripe down the arm, but it also disguises the less flattering design on the body of the sweater. Very broadly spaced stripes like these visually widen the torso – not what most of us as looking for our clothes to do. And, by framing the purple with a contrasting bottom and neck band, as well as the vertical stripes, the body becomes very boxy. Some side shaping would help, so I would definitely add that to all of these designs.