When there’s a chill in the air, you can never have too many sweaters, and now is the time to put your layering game in overdrive. In this follow-up to my previous guide to basic sweater styles, we’ll look at five patterned and textured styles considered to be time-tested classics.
The Cable Knit
The cable knit sweater can be found in all styles, from crew neck pullover to vest to cardigan. Available in every solid color you can imagine, the distinctive pattern woven into the sweater adds texture and thickness for a little extra warmth. A staple among old school New Englanders, this sweater works as a topper for anything from flannels to khakis to jeans. Wear a heavy cotton one over your shoulders on days when the evening will turn chilly for a devil-may-care preppy vibe, or a heavier wool one as an outer layer on a brisk day spent taking in the foliage.
The Irish Fisherman’s Sweater
The Irish fisherman’s sweater, sometimes called an Aran knit sweater, is the thicker, burlier cousin of the cable knit. Woven of thick wool, usually in cream with flecks of color throughout, this one is meant to be an outer layer. Obviously at home with cords and rubber Wellington boots in the emerald countryside, you can wear one with dash by pairing it with dark denim and a nice pair of heavy brown leather shoes. When properly cared for, these sweaters outlive their owners, so don’t skimp — get a real heavy one, made in Ireland.
The Fair Isle
Hailing from Scotland, the iconic Fair Isle sweater is distinguished by its repeating bands of geometric patterns in vibrant color combinations. Like the others, this sweater can be found as a crew neck, vest or cardigan. Pair your crew neck with khakis and an oxford shirt for a look that is cozy yet put together. Try a pullover V-neck vest with a tweed jacket and bow tie for a more professorial vibe.
The Norwegian Birdseye
Hailing from the fishermen of Norway, this heavy wool sweater with its distinctive bird’s-eye pattern was popularized by L.L. Bean in the 1970s, sealing its status as a preppy must-have. The most common color combination is navy with white, but white with grey and black with red are also popular. No doubt about it, this sweater belongs with blue jeans, a quilted down vest, and a pair of rubber and leather “duck boots.” Many versions exist, but the best are made in Norway, of course.
The turtleneck, or roll neck as it is sometimes called, may not necessarily have a distinct pattern or weave to it, but it’s definitely a useful item to have in your fall and winter wardrobe. A thick, heavy one with a ribbed or cable knit weave works well alone under a duffle or raglan coat, while a thinner one in merino wool adds panache under a sports coat or even a suit. Pick up one in charcoal grey and one in tan or cream, and you might be surprised how often you reach for it.
Armed with an arsenal of sweaters like this, you can handle any weather or situation that comes your way. Stay stylish and warm this season.
Photo credits: Getty Images; galleryhip.com; oconnelsclothing.com; hamacher.com; pinterest.com; aransweatermarket.com
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