Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hear ye, Mr. Autumn Men, ye high priests of the harvest season: The Reading Sweater is here

Illustration for article titled Hear ye, Mr. Autumn Men, ye high priests of the harvest season: The Reading Sweater is here
Photo: Peopleimages (Getty Images)

If you, dear reader, are anything like us, you’ve spent a significant portion of the last seven months carefully sorting your clothes into two piles. (Hopefully you then folded then and put them away; these are trying times, you don’t need that chaos in your life.) In one pile sit all the things you wear daily: your stretchy bralettes, your soft tank tops, the basketball shorts with the really reliable but still soft waistband, the breezy dresses with optional belts you clearly don’t use, the jersey joggers, and so on. If you’re like this writer, that pile consists largely of caftans, nap dresses, and these seriously cozy and soft rompers that are perfect for cleaning. In the other pile: jeans. Bras with poky wires. The bottom halves of all your work outfits. (The tops stay ready for Zoom, just in case.) But the seasons are changing, and so those piles, too, must change.

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Pile two still has denim in it, but how, pray tell, can we ever replace our carefully hoarded collection of comfies now that it’s no longer caftan season? (And yes, of course it is ALWAYS caftan season, but one can’t swan around in a caftan every day when there’s a chill in the air.)

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Answer: The Reading Sweater. Thank you, writer/perfume genie/reliably great Twitter follow Rachel Syme of The New Yorker.

Rather than embed each and every tweet in this delightful, timely, and accurate thread, we’re just here to endorse the reading sweater. Yet we must include just two more points of Rachel’s before moving on to our own. First: moodboard.

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Second: With what does one wear a reading sweater (besides a book, that is?)

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Our reaction to seeing Syme’s tweets was one of instant, thrilling recognition, the rare gift of discovering something you somehow already knew all along. To our minds, the primary criteria of the reading sweater is that it not be remotely scratchy; it should also either be loose enough to prevent overheating when the fall sunbeams dance upon your windowseat or the bonfire gets a little spicy. As Syme says in her thread, leather-covered buttons, balloon sleeves, and elbow patches are all a bonus. We’d also suggest deep pockets for a Werther’s or maybe some edibles.

But you need not trust our opinions. We happen to have direct access to an expert. The A.V. Club’s managing editor, Erik Adams, is Mr. Autumn Man.

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We know it says Dennis Clemons, but seriously, it’s Erik. He generously weighed in (via Slack) on this timely and important issue:

“I like being considered an expert in this area. Though I wonder if a better headline would emphasize the Mr. Autumn Man-ness of the topic, rather than the endorsement of the one Mr. Autumn Man.”

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At this point, we revised our headline, which used to look like the below, to the headline you see above:

Illustration for article titled Hear ye, Mr. Autumn Men, ye high priests of the harvest season: The Reading Sweater is here
Screenshot: Kinja
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“My whole philosophy about the thing at this point is that it’s Into The Spiderverse,” Adams added. “Anyone can wear the mask sweater.”

But seriously folks, he’s on board. “Fully into the reading sweater notion. I regret that mine is an American Apparel number, because a) gross, American Apparel, and b) I’ll never be able to find another like it. To piggyback off of Rachel’s initial observations: This should be a sweater that occupies most of a suitcase and causes difficulties with closing whatever drawer it’s kept in—hence not really putting it away for the entire season or ever taking it anywhere that isn’t your house.”

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Then he added, as if he simply could not help himself: “Though I did wear mine to the cider mill last year.”

There you have it. Tell us of your reading sweater below; we will also accept any thoughts you wish to share about TV socks, inside hats, and cold-weather caftans. And if you need something to read with your sweater, we’ve got some suggestions (or you could order a care package from The Ripped Bodice; they’re not an affiliate or anything, we just love those care packages.)

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Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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