Welcome to Liz’s Lemonade Stand, where the lemons of life are twisted into the sweetest lemonade. After reading this op-ed piece, be sure to check out the rebuttal, Intervention for Crew Neck Sweater Wearers.
Few articles of clothing as ubiquitous and timeless as the crew neck sweater exist. The workhorse of the wardrobe, cotton crewnecks oftentimes go overlooked in lieu of something more “fashionable.” Styles change, fads come and go; the demand for comfort remains constant. Berated as slovenly and despondent by some, the mighty jersey cotton sweater nevertheless is an integral part of a balanced sweater collection.
Cotton crew necks have stood the test of time unlike any other piece of clothing, save for perhaps socks. This may be attributed to the undeniable fact that crew neck sweaters are universally unflattering to the extent that their inherent shapelessness is embraced by all. Case in point, take a look back at elementary school textbooks. You’re practically guaranteed some lovely candid moments of shaggy-haired teens from the 90s decked out in monstrous glasses and a garishly colored crew neck. Give the poor kid a modern pair of jeans (read: pants that fit), swap the snazzy hair scrunchie for a casually unkempt haircut, add some edgy boots and voila! Your former Full House extra is now a twenty-first century hipster.
Aside from the so-ugly-that-it’s-not paradox, consider the crew neck’s inherent commemorative qualities. Coming home from a vacation to Yellowstone simply would not be quite right unless you had a crew neck to prove that yes, you did witnesses Old Faithful’s steamy, sulphuric glory. Take a campus tour of Stanford? You definitely need a crew neck to add to the college-visit sweater section of your closet. One of these days, you may even be sporting the classic “World’s Best Grandpa” sweater. The commemorative crew neck keeps those warm, fuzzy, feel-good memories alive and well. Unless, of course, a squirrel ravaged your bear-proof camping containers or your Stanford dreams were deferred (feel free to have a “I didn’t actually want to go there anyway” bonfire), in which case you may want to opt for a memory-neutral top. Wear your unique crew neck to a party as a conversation starter. Better yet, bust out your inner literature nerd with a quote or reference emblazoned across the chest– a surefire way to secure yourself a hot (and intellectual) date.
Crew neck sweaters are synonymous with comfy-casual, a phrase unfortunately tainted by a negative connotation. Critics will argue that by donning a cotton crew neck one is advertising, “Hey World, I give up, and by wearing this sweater I’m telling you that I eat Eggos with a spoon at midnight.” This simply is not the case. I am completely willing to accept that the aforementioned textbook children of the 90s fall into this category. Honestly, anyone stuck modeling for a middle school physics book needs a boost. However, venturing to class or the grocery store in a crew neck and jeans is far from a fashion felony.
As it goes, the beauty of the crew neck’s boxiness lays in its androgyny. This allows for endless accessorizing, both male and female. If fashion is a medium and form of self-expression, then the crew neck is the layman’s canvas. At once both readily accessible and very much one-size-fits-all, even the most fashionably impaired can find something to work with. Experiment with a scarf or a prized pendant, advertise your social views, but do it all in flippant ease.
In short, the critics brash enough to be calling for the demise of the crew neck are close-minded in their judgment of those who choose to wear them. The crew neck has its time and place. Just as an evening gown is not appropriate for a simple soirée, neither is a cotton sweater at a black tie event. Circumstances permitting, the timeless crew neck is a perfect option for anyone looking to personalize the ordinary. So, to all the crew neck wearers of the world, celebrate; it’s prime sweater weather!