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Fair Isle Sweaters — The Origin Of The Ultimate Winter Knit

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    The sun's setting before we finish our lunch, the holiday-red cups are out at Starbucks, and our breaths are visible in the air. Yep, it's the beginning of another deep chill, and we're pulling our thickest knits and coziest sweaters out from storage, like our favorite seasonal piece, the Fair Isle sweater. We all know what it looks like — colorful patterns that are either all over or relegated to the chest and shoulders — but where did it come from?

    It's named after a teeny-tiny island (no, seriously, it's three square miles!) in northern Scotland known for multicolored and multi-patterned knit-work. Traditional Fair Isle sweaters are knitted with two different colors in a row, though they can include more shades, and the design usually follows the neckline and shoulders' round shape. It became popular in the '20s when King Edward VIII wore Fair Isle tanks in public (any bets itty-bitty Prince George will follow his lead?) and has stayed in vogue ever since. Of course, modern designs have tweaked the style to incorporate more hues and designs, but the style is recognizable all the same.

    So, now that you've been schooled in Fair Isle, don't you want one of your own? That's why we've culled 16 traditional and modern picks, which are full of history and style. Feel free to spread the word over cocktails and canapés!


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