Sunday, July 29, 2012

F*ck Yes, Fair Isle

Pictured here is an outfit from Polo's upcoming fall collection. I'm especially looking forward to this Fair Isle sweater becoming available for purchase, but I'm totally into this look as a whole. Honestly, I'd dress like this every day, were weather never an issue. I know this setup says British country and not West Virginian suburbs, but dressing well is dressing well.

But back to Fair Isle and the stigma surrounding this ornate and endless collection of patterns. What makes a Fair Isle sweater a Fair Isle sweater? A true sweater should be hand-knitted on Fair Isle, the island of northern Scotland where this style of sweater originates. Another thing about the real thing - it should be wool. Like cricket sweaters and fisherman sweaters as well, most classic knitwear is made of sturdy, super-warm wool. However, one of the best things about the pieces produced by Polo each year (and the enormous selection from designers following the preppy trend of the past two years) is fabric variety. I have around twenty sweaters and vests, most of which are composed of blends of linen, silk and cotton. These relatively modern pieces allow a wearer to embrace his inner dandy while not sweating his ass off. I call it tradition meeting inspired practicality.

I once, while wearing a Fair Isle sweater, was asked if I planned on attending a costume party later in the evening. This was a serious question asked by a thirty-something guy in a grocery store. Oh, and it was nowhere close to Halloween. I responded, "This is just my sweater." Fair Isle will come and go from trendy to atrocious by standards of the fashion masses, but this is one classic that has earned its way into my wardrobe - permanently.

I ask you... Fair Isle, fair or foul?

Fair Isle follow-up fun tomorrow.

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