Fair Isle sweaters are a certified cozy holiday wardrobe staple—influencers on the ‘Gram love to wear this festive motif when the temperature drops—but the lively pattern can be worn post-holiday and beyond. Named after a knitting style that originated on a little island in Northern Scotland, the intricate process allows for use of multiple colored threads (traditionally up to five) with uniquely stylish results. These days, designers are putting their own spin on the pattern, ranging from soft and subtle to big and bold.
Today’s Fair Isle favorites are an updated take on a popular sweater style of the ‘90s, when you could find them everywhere from the runway to mass market. More traditional picks like we’re showing here feature that familiar small-scale, all-over striped pattern. These sweaters create a cozy, seasonal look when rendered in soft cashmere and wool blends with muted, earthy hues. Wear them with classic jeans for a no-fail outfit, or upgrade with a pair of bright bottoms in a complementary color.
Post-holiday, you’ll want to switch things up with a look that’s more contemporary. Fair Isle creates a cool statement as an accent, rather than an all-over print, when worn in different sizes and treatments. We’re seeing designers really play with pattern this season, and this is no exception. When scaled up in size, it allows you to see the intricate details and work a bold, geometric design into your outfit. It looks best on untraditional sweater styles with boxy shapes, voluminous sleeves, or oversized silhouettes you can belt.