Fall 2010 Micro Trend: The Irish Fisherman’s Sweater

August 25, 2010

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 IrelandThe 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.

I’d pair them with dark green cigarette pants, a pea coat, and a vintage or faux fur scarf, and a dose of black eyeliner.

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

BDG Fisherman Cardigan, $68

Topshop Knitted Aran Cardigan, $100

Le Mont St Michel Fisherman Sweater, $195

Related Posts:

12 Items for Fall: Buying Less and Better

3 secrets for Perfecting Fall’s Cat Eyeliner

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Meier August 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I think that the fisherman sweater is timeless and so versatile. The collection of styles you pulled together is fabulous! I might just have to go out and get the Le Mont St Michel for the fall.


admin August 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm

It would look adorable on you!


Gisela August 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Ack!! I had one of those – ex-boyfriend’s mom gave me one. Though I thought it was cute, it itched like hell and smelled vaguely of sheep (she got it on a trip to Ireland). Sadly, I could not find an undergarment to protect me from the itch so off it went to Goodwill. Thanks for stirring up the memories. :)


admin August 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Too funny Gisela – especially the sheep smell – it was probably one of the handmade ones!


Sarah August 25, 2010 at 11:56 pm

For a local angle, Gloucester Knitting (.com) still cranks these out, albeit in cotton. I stuff my son in his, whether he likes it or not.


izzyr August 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

oh the horrors!! my mother STILL would like me to wear these so the new varieties are a lifesaver!


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