Tuesday 21st September 2021
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Wardrobe classic: the fair isle sweater


The Fair Isle sweater may have its roots in preppy style, but I like to think of it as just another great ethnic print, and I’m crazy for all of the stylish and innovative liberties that designers are taking with them these days. The design is actually sewn on the reverse of this quite arresting option from Mes Demoiselles.


The skulls here are a delightfully morbid little touch.


A classic turtleneck in a really winning color combination.


I’m not certain how Fair Isle this really is—the pattern feels almost art nouveau-ish to me—but I dig the use of metallic threads.

It delights me that there are actual sheep on this one.


The bold red and black here comes off almost tribal.


Posted on September 30th, 2016 8 Comments

8 Responses

  1. Dana D says:

    Really like the first one and the last one…

    and, while I can afford almost nothing at Net-a-Porter (except for a few delightful sale items over the years), I always enjoy looking at how they style the pieces…

  2. Mimi says:

    Happy hunting fellow fair isle addicts. IMO Ralph Lauren makes the best fair isles, if you like yours traditional. The best ones are often men’s, but sometimes the women’s are as good. Madewell and J. Crew offer good fair isle sweaters too, but they’re usually available closer to the holidays. This one from J. Crew was last year’s winner. The colors were awesome, see the touches of lime green?

  3. Viajera says:

    I love these too!!! Even though I hardly ever have call to wear one. Somewhere buried in my closet is an Icelandic one, which is too small for me but I don’t care. I have a coat too (I went a little nuts with the online shopping for a bit). Now I just need some cold weather. Really, really like these a lot. 1,3, 5 and 6 for me.

  4. Mary Alice says:

    I think Fair Isle is really an East Coast thing. I can’t ever recall seeing anyone, ever, wearing one in Southern California.

    • Dana D says:

      I think you are right, Mary Alice…

      I have a Band of Outsiders skewed-pattern-on-the-bottom one that I got last year, end of season, and that I love because it is so different. It works here in the north of the state when it gets colder.

      I wouldn’t consider packing it for a weekend in Los Angeles…even in “winter.”

    • KimberSam says:

      There was someone wearing a Fair Isle sweater. It ’twas me.

      Former east coaster, here.

      Now if only the wretched blazing temperatures would allow me to change out of my shorts and tee.

  5. joannawnyc says:

    I still want the Mara Hoffman one from a few years ago!

  6. Heather says:

    The skulls are cute. I got something similar on sale at Nordstrom Rack last spring; can’t wait to finally wear it!