You may think it’s silly to wear a fair isle cardigan outfit for a fall day at an arboretum because it’s a casual and outdoor activity. Yet if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that looking good makes me feel good.
Quote of the day: “I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It’s such a waste of time.” Betty White
The activity of the day was a visit to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. If you’d love to check out some of the amazing views we had while we were there, I’m including those at the end of the post, and feel free to click here to get right to them.
It’s the kind of place where you see people in very casual looks and what I would consider the ever-popular outdoor outfits.
In fact, you would see many jackets like my mom, Charlotte, wore, but at least she added some fun print pants with it. Even Lesley added some interest with her kimono for the day.
So what did I wear? For events like this, I routinely start with the pants or the shoes. Since I have a large variety of comfortable shoes now, I don’t always have to start with them in figuring out my outfits. Today I went with a different angle and I started with the thought of wearing this handknit fair isle cardigan outfit. I knew the temperature would be chilly in the morning, and if it got warm later in the day, the cardigan would be easy to remove.
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Fair Isle Cardigan Outfit
I’ll share more about the history of this cardigan, but let me explain how the entire outfit came together. The sweater is overall very muted in color but there are some bright spots in the fair isle pattern. Instead of trying to match the red from the sweater with my top, I chose a red-orange-colored shirt instead. More about that below because it’s no ordinary shirt.
I could have easily worn blue jeans with the look, but I wanted to wear some of my colored jeans that don’t get worn in the warmer months.
Olive green is such a popular color during the fall and winter, so I grabbed this pair of skinny jeans. You may have heard the rumblings that skinny jeans are “out” but I’m subscribing to the theory that I can wear what I want.
The last big factor in my outfit is my Walking Cradles shoes. I will go into more detail about them later in the post but suffice it to say that for most walking events, I am wearing one of the comfortable brands of shoes that I’ve discussed here.
Open Shoulder Shirts for Fall
Here’s another trend that you don’t see as much anymore. The open shoulder shirts seem to be passe now, yet it’s not always good for our environment to purge everything that isn’t “stylish”. I always try to consider if there a way you can “fix” a piece before just purging it.
For the open shoulder pieces, there are a couple of ideas that could be done to them.
1– My mom sewed the shoulder shut in this open shoulder dress because it was just a slit.
2-Depending on how it’s made, you could always cut the sleeve off and make it sleeveless. This could require some finishing along the edge.
3-You could layer under it with a top that matches or contrasts to make it look interesting like I did here.
4-Or as in this example, just wear it under something else so that others don’t realize it’s an open shoulder shirt.
This shirt was gifted to me when we worked with Soft Surroundings many years ago (see how I styled it originally). I didn’t wear it much in Colorado because if it was cool enough for a long sleeve shirt, I didn’t want my shoulders exposed. But that’s just me because I’m always cold.
Yet I never purged it because the color is fabulous on me. And it really works wonderfully as a layering piece.
Is it Silly to Wear Accessories to an Arboretum?
I bet out of all of the other people we saw at the Arboretum this day, the three of us were the only ones wearing accessories. Is that bad? I have to say no!! My joke is I have cute things so I might as well wear them. Besides, we knew we were going out to lunch, therefore, wearing the extras was perfectly reasonable.
Insider tip: Do you struggle to wear necklaces and earrings when they aren’t a matching set? Then find pieces that have the same elements in them so they coordinate. BUT, they don’t have to match or coordinate. They can be wonderfully unique on their own, just like your shoes and purse don’t have to match anymore.
This heart locket necklace is from an online boutique we worked with a while back (see how I styled it with purple). Needless to say, they’ve gone out of business. It’s one of the reasons I keep trying to support the small companies because it’s a hard gig.
The earrings were purchased many years ago on a trip to NYC. They don’t match at all, yet have some of the same colors in them.
As for this purse, it’s so unique and fun. Even though we were walking around for the day, and most smart people would wear a hands-free purse, this one is lightweight and I knew my husband would carry it if I got tired.
The purse is a giveaway win from a company called Couture Planet. They take newspaper articles and encase them in plastic to create these absolutely fun purses.
It’s nice that they aren’t crazy expensive, and would be wonderful as a gift idea. The funny thing is how many compliments I get on it from guys!!
A Special Hand Knit Sweater
I’m sure you realize that all of my handknit sweaters are somewhat special since they are made with my own two hands. This one has extra specialness involved.
The yarn was bought in Iceland from our friends (you’ve seen Joanne here on the blog when we talked about sun shirts). It was a kit they bought for me and they even bought the whimsical buttons. The buttons are hard to see in these photos, but I’ll be showcasing them in more detail in an upcoming Instagram post. (I try to showcase my knitted pieces most Saturdays on Instagram, so make sure to follow me there)
A sweater like this is actually knit in one piece and then you cut it up the middle to create the opening. Every knitter feels a tad of apprehension when they cut their creations because what if it falls apart? I’ve taken classes on this method, and one secret is to machine sew a line on each side before you cut.
Let me also point out the nice trim I added to the inside cut to make it look cleaner (you can see the red trim in the photos of the open-shoulder shirt).
Most of my sweaters take me at least 80 hours to make. I’m not a fast knitter by any means, as I do it for the love of knitting. Since this yarn was purchased especially for me, I decided to make a hat with the leftover yarn.
Here’s a link to the Instagram post about it from last winter. It’s a reversible hat and because of that, it’s super warm.
A Fun Way to Print Mix with my Fair Isle Cardigan Outfit
Do I try to incorporate print mixing into every outfit? I almost think I do nowadays. My analogy is after you learn to read well, do you go back to reading Dick and Jane books? No, those hold no interest anymore. So that’s the same with me and outfits.
I feel the need to add some kind of extra fun or interest into almost any look. If I don’t, then you know I’m not feeling like myself, haha!!
I think print mixing with this fair isle cardigan outfit look with my shoes is one of the easiest ways to start because your shoes and sweater are broken up by your pants. In fact, this example is even more subdued than many because the fair isle print is only at the top of the sweater.
Print mixing is not a new subject for us on the blog. I hope I can nudge you to try it every now and then, and here are some inspirations you can use:
- Elementary Print Mixing Starting with your Shoes–Other ideas with shoes and top.
- How Your Scarf Can be used for a Fun Print Mixing Piece –A scarf and print pants.
- Adding in Another Print with your Purse–Make your purse part of the print mixing fun.
Comfortable Shoes with my Fair Isle Cardigan Outfit
Since many of our blogging photo shoots are also a day to explore our area, it’s been super important to find comfortable yet stylish shoes that can be worn. Granted, sometimes we do take photos and then change our shoes to walk around, yet I like it better when we can have the best of both worlds.
This is a pair of Walking Cradles sneakers. As an ambassador of the company, I have tried out many of their shoes, and they are truly my gold standard when talking about comfort. Of course, I realize that my foot is not the same as yours, but at least with Walking Cradles, they have a huge variety of sizes that fit most women.
The pair I’m wearing here is called the “Osmond” sneaker. They are basically a high-top sneaker yet you could also consider them an ankle boot. They are available in 6 other colors and prints too.
I didn’t cuff my jeans or tuck them in for this fair isle cardigan outfit. Instead, I let my jeans pool at the top of the sneakers and didn’t worry if it wasn’t perfect. Too many times, I think we stress out over these details, and it’s not worth our time.
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona
I wanted to share some of the fun views we saw on our exploration of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
Here are two tidbits about the place that you might find interesting. And I’ll give just a bit of narration too.
1-It’s the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona.
2-There are over 2600 species of arid land plants found here.
From far away, you would have thought this butterfly was a leaf. He stayed very still so I could get his photo!! There were many butterflies we saw on this day!
Both cacti pictured above are growing in places you just couldn’t imagine. On the left–it’s growing out of a “v” in the tree. And on the right, it’s growing in the cracks of the rocks.
Let’s talk about how hardy they really are.
One of the things we love here in Arizona is that there are mountains around us. Seeing both the mountains and cactus together is always thrilling.
We’ve also been noticing quite a few Eucalyptus trees in the area. They obviously do well in our arid environment.
The twisted tree trunks were amazing, and don’t you love the name of the cactus on the right??
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