Fair Isle Sweaters


Fair Isle sweater from J. Crew with white shirt and Fox Bowtie from Beau Ties.

Fair Isle sweaters originated from an isle off the coast of Scotland and part of the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. They are characterized by distinctive rows of patterns and colors whose meanings are mostly unknown though some sources liken them to XO patterns and Ram’s Horns. Artisanal sweaters tend to be full of local symbolism; think Guernsey or Aran.

The Fair Isle pattern was brought to public consciousness when Edward Prince of Wales was photographed at St. Andrews golfing in one. Supposedly, his was knit for him from a traditional pattern. I suppose that it would make sense for him to attire himself in local pattern.

I like them as vests over plain colored shirts, and they go quite well with bowties. Mine is a “vintage (90s)” from J. Crew.

How do you wear yours???

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