Seasonal Patterns: Fair Isle


Popularized by the Duke of Windsor in the early 1920’s, the Fair Isle pattern, named after the Scottish island (Fair Isle or Fara in Gaelic) , has been a mainstay of traditional Anglo-American style ever since.

It is immediately recognizable by its bands of geometric shapes knit from wool of various colours, and in my estimation, was probably the jumping off point for various knits that are called holiday or Christmas sweaters (jumpers).

However, many brands have modernized the pattern by restricting the palette to shades of the same colour making it a more versatile choice for a contemporary wardrobe.


Hackett London Fair Isle jumper from a few years back.


If the full Fair Isle sweater or cardigan still seems a bit too bold for you, consider using the patterns in one of your accessories like socks, a winter hat or a scarf.

Jack Wills Kildonan Fair Isle type scarf


Joseph Fields