Fair Isle is a timeless staple in my fall wardrobe. Originally popularized by The Duke of Windsor (aka Edward VIII, aka that dude Guy Pearce played in the movie where Colin Firth stutters a lot) the style has been a mainstay in autumnal fashion for nearly a century.
The term “Fair Isle” refers to a specific knitting technique where symmetrical patterns are created using two or more colors. The namesake comes from Fair Isle, a tiny island in the Shetlands (Northern Scotland) with a population of only 70. Originally worn by the peasants there, the pattern became popular after Edward wore Fair Isle tank tops in public during the summer of 1921. Despite his political and public shortcomings, the man sure knew how to dress and is often considered one of the first international male style icons.
Here’s three fair isle sweaters styled for different occasions. I hope you will feel inspired to go out and add some classic Fall patterns to your wardrobe.
1. Smart Casual
The beauty of fair isle is its versatility. It can be dressed up or down and is a great way to add some color and pattern to a classic Fall wardrobe.
If you’re wearing a fair isle piece, allow it to be the statement of your outfit by avoiding mixing it with other patterns or bold colors. I find it works best with more country-appropriate fabric such as tweed, chambray and denim.
If you’re wearing it with a tie, try one that brings out a subtle color hidden in the sweater.
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- Tortoise shell prescription glasses (w/ clip on shades) by Garrett Leight
- Brown linen jacket by JCrew
- Navy fair isle sweater by JCrew
- Blue chambray shirt by Rag&Bone
- Green cashmere knit tie by Ralph Lauren
- Slim washed denim jeans by Polo Ralph Lauren
- Brown leather belt by Brooks Brothers
- Monogrammed silver belt buckle by Tiffany & Co
- Blue hardcover notepad by Forgetful Gentleman
- Brown suede wingtips by JCrew