Prep Work: Fair Isle

Brooks Brothers Wool Fair Isle Shawl Collar Cardigan

Think winter and you’re bound to think of Fair Isle patterns.  An iconic method of knitting from across the ocean, you’ll find Fair Isle in everything from sweaters to ties once the air turns cooler.  Read through this quick guide and next time you pull some on you’ll be a little more knowledgeable about what it is and where it comes from.


Fair Isle hails from the island of Fair Isle in Scotland.  Part of the Shetland Islands, Fair Isle is a 2.97 square mile island with a population of around 70 people.  Of course its popularity is far greater than that due to its signature knitting technique.  The geometric patterns were first popularized when the Duke of Windsor started wearing them on the golf course and have been a rugged staple associated with the outdoors ever since.

Where to Wear

The company Christmas party, the ski lodge, the Christmas tree farm, while caroling in the neighborhood, while building a snowman in the front yard, on the roof while hanging Christmas lights, pretty much anywhere during the winter.

Just remember to tone down the rest of your outfit when you do wear it.  Usually less is more.

The Options

Fair Isle Brooks Brothers Canvas Lands' End J.Crew hook albert Bonobos Sweater Tie Socks Hat Blazer


1. Brooks Brothers Shetland Tonal Crewneck Sweater ($128) / 2. Canvas Lands’ End Retro Lambswool Hat ($30) / 3. J.Crew Knit Tie ($89.50) / 4. hook + ALBERT Fair Isle Socks ($30) / 5. Bonobos Stag Party Sweater ($148) / 6. Lands’ End Lambswool Blazer ($250)

Fair Isle Ralph Lauren Gloves Madewell Leggings Rugby Scarf Club Monaco Skirt L.L.Bean Signature Sweater Vineyard Vines

1. Ralph Lauren Lambswool Glove ($29.99) / 2. Club Monaco Alice Sweater Legging ($98.50) / 3. Rugby Scarf ($68.60) / 4. Madewell Sweater Skirt ($75) / 5. L.L.Bean Signature Handknit Sweater ($249) / 6. Vineyard Vines Lakeside Crew Neck Sweater ($140)

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