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The Upside Down Cardigan Trick

Mariam shares a cardigan trick.

Mariam shares a cardigan trick.

I was sitting with a client in the shoe department of Nordstrom waiting for size changes when Mariam came walking right toward us. She got our immediate attention in her fabulous black and white ensemble. There was so much to love!

1. The black and white color combination: so classic and dramatic!

2. Her below-the-knee sheath double-knit white sleeveless dress and her long lacy black cardigan shared the same easy line. No fussiness, just clean and simple.

3. Pearls, repeated everywhere but in different scale, kept my eye moving connecting, from wrist to neck to ear lobes. I loved the small, medium, and large mix. Her earrings are actually in a butterfly shape, filled in with small pearls. I adore the fact that they weren’t standard matching pearl earrings.

4. The floral bow at the neck (I didn’t ask, but I assume it was a pin and not a part of the dress originally) was the perfect scale for the large pearl necklace. From a distance, you’d think it was all one piece-the flower, bow, and pearls-but they actually just nestled close to each other at the base of her neck.

5. Her black eye frames and black shoes were like the dark chocolate sandwich parts of an Oreo cookie, holding the white filling (dress and pearls) in-between. The patent toe Chanel-like quilted wedge shoe was perfect. The sheen sent the eye up to the sheen repeated in her frames.

6. I loved the bracelet bundle at her wrist. She had three pearl bracelets and then a cluster of wide and narrow mixed metal bangles. The hard edge of the metal bangles balanced the sweetness of the pearls.

I know Mariam. She works at Nordstrom and is also a clothing designer. When I spoke to her about her outfit she said, “Oh Brenda, you have to see this!” And then she took off her Eileen Fisher long cardigan and turned it upside down and put it back on for me to see the magic trick of this two-in-one wrap. In version two the collar naturally gathered into a shawl collar. Now it was higher in the back and lower in the front. “You can do this to any well-made cardigan,” she said. “If you just want a shorter wrap, turn it upside down!”

So not only was seeing her a total beauty burst, but now I wanted to go home and try on my cardigans and reverse them.

Not even forty-eight hours passed before I was able to use this trick in a client’s closet. We needed a wrap for a new dress she’d purchased while on a trip. I tried the usual things that might have worked but I just wasn’t satisfied. Then I thought of Mariam. “Wait! I have it!” I exclaimed. I went to her cardigans and pulled out three of them. “Let’s try these,” I said and flipped them upside down. It totally worked! The only thing I did was take the label out of the cardigan so you wouldn’t see it in the shorter version. I made a special note on her Wardrobe Chart when I wrote the outfit up so she’d be reminded to wear it upside down.

I love learning new things. Do you have a cardigan that needs to be turned upside down?

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