Us Brits love a good nerdy knit. We have a long history of lumpy jumpers, bobbled cashmere and hand-spun heritage wool. The jumper-clad “English eccentric” look transcends both generations and social groups, linking the likes of Prince Charles with fashion girls such as Alexa Chung, and, well, even your granny. It’s one of the few pieces of clothing that doesn’t necessarily get better with the designer stamp of approval. Ironically, the less traditionally cool the jumper is, the greater its fashion credentials.
Although it has never technically gone “out” of style, the “ugly” Fair Isle jumper seems to be having a moment right now. The usual high-maintenance street style stars are embracing the sartorial awkwardness of the thick knit but in their own unique way. We can’t get enough of Anouk Yve’s quintessentially Scandi ensemble that sees a Fair Isle jumper paired with white jeans and loafers. We’ll be wearing this fashion formula for the rest of winter.
The trend has made appearances across both high-street and designer winter collections, but its also a trend that you can easily buy second-hand—try Rokit, Oxfam online and Etsy for pre-loved gems. From retro knitted vests and golf-inspired diamonds to bold, sequin-strewn options, nerdy has never looked so nice. Scroll down to shop our favourite “ugly” knits.
Style Notes: Go Scandi minimalist like Anouk and pair a brown knit with white jeans and loafers—one of the top trending shoes this season.
Style Notes: Trust Ganni to have made a modern take on the classic Fair Isle—and I love how Nnnenna has styled hers with a white denim maxi skirt.
Style Notes: Lucy leans into the cosiness of the Fair Isle look by pairing an oversized cardigan with cashmere sweatpants and Ugg slippers. Winter bliss.
My kind of Christmas jumper.
A seasonally-appropriate way to introducing trending red into your winter wardrobe.
For those who prefer the cardigan look.
The scalloped neckline really sets this apart.
This would look great with high-waisted black jeans.
The muted tones on this Raey still are really satisfying.
This sweater vest is so cute—and you could layer it over a white t-shirt, too.
This is calling out to be packed for a cosy cabin getaway.
An understated take on the Fair Isle look.
The combination of cable knit and Fair Isle pattern makes this look extra chic.
I’m obsessed with Loewe’s playful take on the Fair Isle jumper, complete with piggybacking lemurs designed by Kyoto-based ceramic studio, Suna Fujita.
A modern take on a classic look.
Just a hint of festive sparkle.
As Mango’s styling proves, this would look great with white jeans.
A classic multicolour version.
This luxurious label’s jumper incorporates traditional Peruvian patterns.
This would look great with leggings and boots.