A Modern Sweater For Daily Wear

What happened when I wore my OLIVER CHARLES sweater for a week straight.
Jan 19, 2021
By Tara Lookabaugh

What is the 1-week Challenge?

The 1-Week Challenge is a test of Oliver Charles' materials and a personal experiment challenging participants to #repeat their style and Wear 1 sweater 7 days in a row.

Why did I take the 1-week Challenge?

My favorite thing to be is cozy, so when Oliver Charles invited me to wear their supposedly revolutionary sweaters for 7 days straight, I couldn’t resist.

They claim to use the best materials for sweaters, saying that their yak wool-based fabric creates both the warmest wool sweater and a highly breathable sweater.

They also say their sweaters are cozy enough for daily wear - as a cozy-connoisseur, I feel I am well-equipped to put them to the test!

Day 0: The Grand Opening!

I’m not actually going to wear my sweater today, but I just couldn’t stare at the package on my desk any longer - the packaging design is too adorable! (I must also mention that the unboxing experience is so very satisfying. The top of the cylinder offers just enough resistance to build up anticipation - think, like Apple’s packaging.)

My first impression of the sweater was “wow, my dad would love this”. The texture immediately reminded me of growing up in Germany and my dad’s cashmere sweaters: thin, soft, simple, warm.

He wore them every day. I instantly made a mental note to buy him an Oliver Charles sweater for Christmas.

If within seconds of holding a new product, you experience 1) pent up excitement, 2) happy memories, 3) the urge to buy another… you’re in for a good time.

Then, even though I said I wouldn’t, I tried my new sweater on. My immediate reaction: it was a super soft fuzzy feel for the most part, maybe a little scratchy, but I chalk this up to it being new and unworn.

Most high-quality sweaters I’ve owned have had some texture before they were worn a few times.

But man, was the fit perfect! I’m a pretty standard medium-sized woman, but I’m tall and sizing has always been a struggle.

It is near impossible to find a sweater (that isn’t oversized) with a good waist length. And as all tall girls will understand, it is actually impossible to find one with sleeves that don’t cut off at your wrists... Until now.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to put on a sweater and be able to pull the sleeves down around my fingers.

Aside from the clear benefit of the sleeves, the crew neck sweater is a slim fit, but not too tight. It feels, but doesn’t look, baggy - a perfect lightweight, comfy, and stylish modern sweater combination.

All in all, I’m excited to get better acquainted with my Oliver Charles sweater over the next few days! 
OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

Day 1-2: Temperature + Comfort Check  

Temperature: One important test of any new garment is warmth. I wanted to see if my Oliver Charles sweater could handle the rollercoaster weather of my Los Angeles beach town.

I sleep with all of the windows open, so the mornings are full of ocean breeze and fresh air… cold fresh air. I almost always start the morning off in a sweater, sweatpants, and socks (and occasionally a blanket). By noon, these defenses have shed one by one until I’m left in a tank top with the fans blasting.

Overall, my wake up routine is pretty simple. Coffee. Yoga. News. I often do my morning yoga in a sweater - it’s not about getting in a workout, but more of a wake up stretch. I of course wore my Oliver Charles sweater and was quite pleased with the non-sweaty warmth it produced. You know what I’m talking about.

As the day went on, however, I felt the sweaty heat creep in. My thermometer climbed from 55, to 60, to 70, to 80, and as it settled in on 82, I settled in on deciding that maybe “sweater weather” has a cutoff.

After two days of monitoring how the Oliver Charles sweater stacks up against varying temperatures, I would say that it’s peak performance cut off around 75 degrees - a respectable upper limit for an every day sweater.

(As a side note - doing yoga in a sweater is not always easy. The sweater needs to be tight enough not to get in the way, but loose enough to be malleable. Oliver Charles scores a 10/10 in the yogability category).
OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition
Comfort: I’m a believer that you can wear any new garment once and it’ll “fit like a charm” (that’s why dressing rooms are deceiving).

It’s not until you start walking around an amusement park that those new shoes start digging into your skin, it’s not until you’re sitting at work all day until you realize that your jeans may be a little too snug, and it’s not until 6 Zoom calls that you realize your new sweater may not pass the WFH test.

Thankfully, this was not the case with Oliver Charles! Despite the 2 hours/day that I had to take off my sweater due to it being LA in October at 2pm, the sweater was wonderfully comfortable and perfect for the formally informal nature of work from home Zoom meetings. I'd go as far as saying it's a WFH wardrobe essential.

There are so many small features on this sweater that feel hand-designed for me, like a custom suit or a tailored dress.  

Day 3: First Excursion

Today, I left the house. Quite the 2020 feat.

Unfortunately, strangers no longer talk to each other so I didn’t get any compliments on my Oliver Charles sweater, but I like to believe I would have in B.C.(Before COVID) days.

Also important to note that even though I was in leggings and a plain grey sweater, I still felt confident. Swap that sweater for another from my closet and I would have felt like a slob. Even though it’s as cozy as any other sweater, Oliver Charles checks the “wear in public” box.

I’m struggling to find an everyday scenario in which I’d feel under- or over-dressed in an Oliver Charles sweater. I experimented in dressing it up with a skirt and dressing it down with legging and jeans - it looked great in all three. I can honestly say I’d wear it pretty much anywhere except to something innately formal, like a wedding. 
OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

Day 4-5: A Comfort Check-in

I hate wearing fabrics that trap sweat, odor, or makes me feel overheated. If after a single wear I get any indication that a garment may check any of those boxes, I avoid it like the plague - or COVID-19. It sits in my closet for years until I finally build up the motivation to drive it to Goodwill.

Since migrating to the Los Angeles heat, this has become even more important. I was blown away - I mean, blown away - by how the Oliver Charles sweater handles sweat.

My sweater 1) never once made me feel sticky or even notice that I was sweating, 2) if I did sweat, it dried in minutes, and 3) never smelled like anything close to BO. And keep in mind, I’d been wearing it for 5 days straight! It's the ultimate odor-resistant sweater!

Overall, days 4 and 5 were crazy busy at work. I was on calls from 8am to at least 5pm, and I don’t have a single complaint about my sweater other than that people noticed I’d been wearing the same shirt for a week... but that's a just a social stigma. I like to think that embracing, as Oliver Charles puts it, a #repeat lifestyle will help me simplify life.

Day 6: Wash & Dry

This was the ultimate test for me. Along with being a fan of cozy, I’m also a fan of minimal effort for maximum result. Some call it lazy, I call it efficient. If this sweater required dry cleaning, we would have had an issue... after all machine washable work clothes are oh so important.

Thankfully, it is machine washable and all is well with the world. After my sweater was done air drying, I put it right back on and you guys, the scratchiness was gone. I swear any flaw in the texture disappeared like magic.

One very important note... It's the perfect cashmere alternative!!

A week after writing this post, my boyfriend carelessly transferred the washer to the dryer without checking its contents and machine dried my sweater.

I was terrified. Every wool or cashmere sweater I’ve owned and accidentally dried has shrunk at least one size… but not Oliver Charles! I was blown away. When I put the recently machine dried sweater on, it still fit exactly the same way - like it was made for me.

Day 7: Catching Zzz’s 

Ok, this is officially my soul mate sweater. You know when you meet someone and there’s the high of a crush, and then you kind of chill out over a period of time and get to know each other and then suddenly (bam!) you’re in love?

Today was my bam! moment with Oliver Charles. The first few days I was taken aback by how perfectly it fit my body, kept me warm but not too warm, and still smelled fresh after days of wear.

I was getting to know its quirks, like how maybe the shoulders were built for someone a little bigger but I still liked how they fell on mine, how the material was a little scratchy until the first wash, and how even after a major slip up like machine drying it, we came out the other end even stronger.

But today I took a nap in my Oliver Charles sweater and I realized its coziness knows no bounds. I think we’re going to be together forever.

Epilogue

I have an unfortunate update. While my Oliver Charles sweater certainly treated me well, I did not reciprocate the love. After the writing of this post, I carelessly leaned over an open flame and burned a hole through my beloved sweater.

RIP sweater, you will be missed... The good news is it's covered by a lifetime warranty so I sent it back to be repaired. So you’ll only be missed for the 7-10 business days until the replacement arrives.   

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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