Anybody else have childhood memories of trying to escape the encroaching itch of an Aran sweater?
No matter how many layers I had on underneath, the wool made the slightest bit of exposed skin crawl. The only truly protective undergarment scenario was a turtleneck tucked into tights (to avoid the dreaded stomach/wool encounter), and even then the wrists and chin would occasionally get a brushing of the itchy stuff. Despite the discomfort, I always loved how they looked.
Luckily the creamy, cabled sweaters are cropping up in various stages of interpretation this fall. You can go the traditional route (see L.L. Bean’s men’s sweater below), but those who value a little shape around the waist may consider the updated cuts.
If you prefer to go straight to the source, Murphy’s of Ireland, The Aran Sweater Market and Clan Aran Sweaters are all good places to poke around for the real deal. Look for hand made versions, and try to spot clean rather than wash.
How about you?
***UPDATE*** A trusted Galwegian source (a.k.a. my brother-in-law) shared some insider tips on buying and caring for an authentic Aran sweater. Take heed:
“Just make sure you buy hand knit, regardless if it’s 5 times more expensive. The machine version falls apart while the hand knit will last a lifetime. My dad had a sweater for 30 odd years which he lost before it died of natural causes – actually I think my mother may have knitted it. The updated version I would imagine (don’t know for sure) probably does not have the greased wool. Before knitting the wool was greased with a product similar to candle wax. This made the sweaters water/dirt repellent and suitable for fishing. Also beware that they shrink if not pre-shrunk.”
LL Bean’s Irish Fisherman’s Sweater, $119 (Men’s, so buy a size down)
All Saints Winter Bomber, $270
Topshop Knitted Aran Cardigan, $100