— Andrew Woj, The Straigh Guy’s Stylist
MR Note: When it’s cold outside, you’re going to want to wear a sweater. But that doesn’t mean you have to look frumpy. Sweaters have style too. In this article, Andrew offers you different degrees of a trend so you can decide how much you want to adopt it.
Fair Isle sweaters have endured their share of abuse over the years from the classic fighting reindeer sweaters to the “ugly Christmas sweater” parties. But there is a time and a place for Fair Isle in men’s fashion and, based on how many runways last spring featured the unique design (above Pringles 2010), the time is now!
Traditionally these sweaters have a limited color palette of five colors and only two colors are weaved into a distinctively patterned row. This is especially important to keep in mind when selecting a Fair Isle sweater that is fit to make a statement, not start conversations.
This sweater from Rag and Bone is the most authentic, but the shawl collar gives it a more modern twist. I really like the use of color here – the limited use of red keeps an otherwise busy sweater toned-down. (Fair Isle Sweater $380.)
J.Crew’s take on the Fair Isle also has a shawl color. Everything from the knit to the pattern on this sweater is over-sized which makes it all the more attractive and cozy when cold weather sets in. (Shawl-collar Fair Isle Cardigan, $178.)
This sweater from Banana Republic is for the more conservative fashionisto. It says “I pay attention to trends but I don’t like being the center of attention” and it’s perfect for holiday parties! Pair it with your favorite white button down and a dark washed jean or wear it underneath a blazer. (Fair Isle v-neck sweater, $79.50)
If you’re still having trouble finding the perfect Fair Isle for you, check out Topman. Over half of their sweaters have a Fair Isle variation and they range from subdued to colorful. This interesting use of pattern on the shoulders gives this otherwise drab cardigan a little punch. TIP: If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re browsing the US site. (Black Fair Isle Cardigan, $80.)