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Thoughts on fair isle sweaters?

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    Thoughts on fair isle sweaters?

    I know the fair isle pattern has a long history, but I feel like it's kind of all over the place this season and will be nowhere to be seen next year. How do you guys feel? Jump on the trend while it's hot? Wait for $20 fair isle sweaters to show up at Old Navy? Ignore it entirely? Go all out and wear a fair isle suit, pants, tie, socks, beanie, scarf, gloves, and slippers?


    I like the sweaters a lot. I almost pulled the trigger on a $50 fair isle sweater vest at a Polo RL outlet store last weekend. I'm liking the socks too.



      I love, love, love this one from J.Crew Factory: I think it's the bright colors that do it for me.

      Like all traditional styles, I think the Fair Isle will go in and out of fashion as the years go by, but when you wear it in a good fit it will always look good. As a Norwegian-American, the Fair Isle sweater strikes me as being very similar to the classic Norwegian sweater. If it fits you correctly, and you wear it in the correct circumstances, it will look absurdly classy. If not, it won't. The Fair Isle suit might be taking it a bit far, though....




        LOL @ "Going all out". I know you were joking but don't think you can do that in any pattern / texture and get away with it.

        I have a fair isle pattern sweater my grandma knitted me when I was 10. I'm over 30 now, and that thing has stretched to grow with me. Personally I'm not a huge fan of that type of pattern but I would wear a sweater or two small items (socks and a scarf) at a time on occasion for sentimental / quirky value. Probably nothing I would pay full price for.

        IMHO I think it's a trend that will come and go every 10 years; same as the current fad (in the South right now anyway) of girls/women dressing like Dr. Quinn. Also not a fan of that look.

        My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs



          I agree with everything BenR said.

          Interestingly, I picked up a really nice Fair Isle sweater from a department store (Macy's?) in my hometown last year for really cheap. I remember the associate told me the original price was over $150 (I paid less than $20) and had been marked down because they were simply unable to move them off the shelves (for context, my hometown is a smaller, less-fashion-forward area than most of you guys probably live[d] in). I'm hoping I can go back there and get a few more for a similar price this year.



            I think I want to pick one up this season. They're starting to grow on me.



              Code OURTREAT is still working for 30% off at JCrew Factory. I'm trying really hard to convince myself I don't need that sweater for $50. Really hard.



                Fair Isle is funny. I see some people who wear it and look rugged, authentic, and cool. I also see other people (usually hipsters in flood pants with huge glasses) who look like a cross between waldo and refugees from the bognor regis camping club.

                I know I will never be able to pull it off. If you can pull it off, go for it. Make sure it complements your personal style, and you are not just getting it because it is "on-trend"



                  I'm from Maine originally, and any type of sweater is always fair game. you'll see everything from 5 year olds to 90 year old guys wearing fair isle type sweaters, as well as any other sweater, and it's not "in-style" at all, it's just that people love/need sweaters when it's cold out, and part of tradition I guess. I probably have 10 sweaters that grandmothers/aunts/mom have knitted for me, and wear them all the time.

                  I guess what I'm saying is that if you're comfortable with them, wear them -- sweaters are a great clothing item. If you think it looks to fashionable, obviously you're not comfortable with them, and there are plenty of other types of sweaters that you'd probably like wearing more.

                  I don't think they won't be "anywhere to be seen" next year, because the people that wore them last year, and the year before, will still wear them next year, and the year after that. And to be honest, it's really only on mens fashion blogs and maybe in fashion forward cities where this is a trend. The majority of people don't follow these things, and if you wear a fair isle sweater, you'd probably be fairly unique



                    @ ChrisW and Ben

                    I think this is one of the things about clothes like this - it's not only personalized, but also regionalized.

                    I mentioned above that I'm a fan of the Norwegian sweater. But if you aren't in Minnesota/North Dakota/some other place with a strong Scandinavian cultural background, or you aren't Scandinavian yourself, you might look a little out of place wearing one (just as you might look out of place wearing a seersucker suit outside of the South, or Bean boots in LA). It's similar regarding personal style. Sweaters originated as sportswear just like tweed and corduroy. If your personal style is more "urban," or you would feel awkward wearing something like a tweed hunting jacket, then maybe a classic patterned sweater isn't for you. You will end up looking more like those hipsters who actively seek out "weird" clothes just to be ironic.




                      Cool website that I follow once-n-while that has a New England fashion theme:




                        Some traditional clothing type items are impossible to wear without seeming like you are screaming, "I'm wearing trendy stuff!" at everyone. These items stand out too much to be in style permanently. Examples: corduroy sport coats with elbow patches, fair isle sweaters, grandpa cardigans, etc....

                        I like each of these things I mentioned, but 5 years ago I wouldn't have been caught dead in them. In 5 years, they will probably be old hipster gear. Yes, they will be back, but it won't be for 15 years or so. If you like the sweaters, buy one and wear the heck out of it while it doesn't earn you funny looks, then enjoy it while you rake leaves.

                        Here is one I like from J. Crew:


                        I think the dark colors make it seem more sleek. It might stand the test of time better than the chunkier, brighter options.



                          Bonobos just started selling a fair isle sweater:


                          I like that it's not a crazy pattern, but in a way it's almost too bland. I'm thinking of buying it but I can't decide if I still want one or if I've gotten over my fair isle phase...



                            Bonobos is down again. Wow...

                            I still want one... I really want the LEC red one, but I don't want to pay $70 for it.



                              for those of you that are in favor of fair isle sweaters, when will you start wearing yours?