There is something both collegiate and geriatric about a grey sweater, jersey or not, that usually has me running a mile in the opposite direction. Perhaps it’s the youngster’s instinctive allergy to looking too young – both in the sense that mirroring your grandfather’s dress-up box has zero sex appeal, and that I’ll inevitably be all up in that varsity jacket and/or Ralph Lauren school blazer situation in a few decades.
The Fall/Winter 2014 circuit, however, adamantly disagrees, but for one compromise in a graduation from past season V’s to turtlenecks (with the all essential hair tucked in), and to the point where it would be wiser for me to admit defeat and designer brainwash. Indeed, somewhere between New York’s multiple snowstorms and Paris’ sleepy grey mornings, the humble grey turtleneck has crawled its way to the top of my to-buy list for the upcoming Australian Winter.
In some kind of subliminal confirmation at a press dinner earlier this week, Ken Downing reiterated how strongly he felt about pale grey (not even charcoal) as the new black. And he has a point. Baby grey, as we’ll call it from here on out, is far less harsh and more versatile by being transeasonal and somehow more neutral in how exceptionally well the shade can be pared back with monochromatic or more varied colour palettes, and even itself, as most runway styling has preferenced.
While this is not to say that baby grey roll necks are a new prêt-a-porter trend as such (certainly, it would be the oldest of old news for Céline and Vanessa Bruno), I do feel like consumers have, on the whole, sprinted as fast as I to avoid the slippery slope of comfort dressing as fashion garb.
My first and foremost solution would be the old waist-tie – loved and adored by yours truly for its sliver of boyish charm and whatever hint of colour is required to tie one’s look together. This particular grey would be most effective to tone down silver bling (as Alexis Mabille has done here), to reduce the colour-blocking freak-out factor of pastels, to make black leathers look friendlier, and whites look homlier.
I would also tend towards chunkier, heavier knits, with some interesting texture by way of, say, cable knit, braiding or ribbing, so that the sweater is its own subtle statement without a giant tiger or silver cows.
How would you go about a grey day?
Too young? Too old? Too plain?
Vent your spleen.
From top left to bottom right: Altuzarra at the International Woolmark Prize during Milan Fashion Week; Vince Cable Knit Sweater; Helmut Lang Alpaca Blend Sweater; TOME NYC show during New York Fashion Week; Dion Lee show during New York Fashion Week; TOPSHOP Pull Style Polo; Michael Kors Chunky Cashmere Knit; Alexis Mabille’s show during Paris Fashion Week.