It’s (Fair Isle) sweater weather

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The good news here is that there are plenty of great Fair Isle sweaters to love this season. The bad news is that most of them are on the pricey side. I’ve got a few here that ring in under or around the $100 mark, but others go higher, and I think part of the reason is that so many of them look like—or actually are—hand-knit. I’d probably switch out the oversized pearl buttons here for something a tad quieter, but I do think this is very very pretty and kind of feminine, as these things go.

Here’s one from Old Navy that rings in just under $50. I dig the pink and black together.

This Rachel Comey sweater is so luxuriously chunky.

Nili Lotan’s entry in this category is suitably subtle.

A super-bright option from Boden.

I think the color combination here is very satisfyingly old-school.

And speaking of which, I think the colors here are just really elegant.

How much do I want this bright yellow cardigan?

Here’s a very luxe-looking option that can be yours for under $100.

I like how well the purple plays with the green here.

A nice, lighter-weight option that’s pleasingly preppy.

And finally: check out Etsy for a multitude of vintage and handmade options, like this awesome cardigan that is in my shopping cart even as I type.

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15 Thoughts on It’s (Fair Isle) sweater weather
    Eloise
    24 Oct 2021
    3:44pm

    Popping back in to comment on the budget luxe (Rebecca Minkoff) in real life – I wish the sleeves were a bit less billowy but I am a big fan of the rest of it, so it’s a keeper – and trust me, I’m picky!

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    Wendy Holloway
    21 Oct 2021
    7:41pm

    It’s 80 degrees here in LA but maybe it will be sweater weather, eventually. A few years back, I got a beautiful Fair Isle alpaca pullover from Marina Rinaldi marked down 70% –it’s so warm that I think I’ve only worn it a half dozen times. It has to be hand laundered, too, plus I’m always terrified I’m going to spill my coffee on it. I am tempted by the two acrylic/cotton, machine-washable options, both of which even come in my size, although True Size is telling me I can’t wear the Boden pullover. Maybe it’s my bustline? Eh. Go rain on someone else’s parade, True Size.

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    SD
    21 Oct 2021
    4:11pm

    The ALC sweater is gorgeous.
    Does anyone know about their sizing? The model on the ALC site is wearing a S and it’s clearly oversized. The model in the Shopbob photo you posted the other day, Kim, is wearing an xs and looks terrific, too.
    It’s so hard to get a realistic sense of sizing from models who look terrific in everything

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    TS
    22 Oct 2021
    7:22am

    I have some of the best vintage Fair Isle sweaters for men + women at my Ebay store -check them out! Store name DaffodilSeason. Thanks!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    22 Oct 2021
    1:35pm

    I’m still not sure whether I love Fair Isles because I LOVE them, or is it the nostalgia for another time & place that I long for? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Just buy the sweater.

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    Eloise
    21 Oct 2021
    8:05am

    And here I thought yesterday’s post was a great one – double damn you, Kim! I’d wear them all! Our shopping carts are twins (the thought of the cost of a possible return to another country is the only thing giving me pause); I’m drooling over the A.L.C.; and if the Rebecca Minkoff were cotton, it would be mine.

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      Eloise
      21 Oct 2021
      9:02am

      Turns out the Etsy seller also has a US address. And I am weak and justify way too many October purchases as “birthday gifts.”

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        kimbersam
        21 Oct 2021
        11:02am

        Eloise. I too, went down an Etsy handknit sweater rabbit hole. The temptations are many, and I am weak.

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    kimbersam
    21 Oct 2021
    9:52am

    The LoveShackFancy sweater looks like it could sub in for cupcake decoration 🙂

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    Liz
    21 Oct 2021
    12:02pm

    ebay is also a great place to find Fair Isles, and they tend to be less expensive than Etsy. I just bought a 100% lambs wool classic LL Bean brown and cream pullover for $60.

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      Jenny
      21 Oct 2021
      2:41pm

      I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you for adding fuel to my eBay addiction. It’s a great tip.

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        Liz
        21 Oct 2021
        8:52pm

        It sounds weird, but I only just discovered eBay as a source for buying clothes. I always associated it with my mom selling Talbots stuff she found in her local thrift stores. I can’t really afford most of the brands Kim recommends, but eBay has lots of Sezane and Emerson Fry and other cool brands she posts for under $100. It’s better than Etsy in that sense. But yeah, I am worried about how addictive it is, so I’m just adding all these eBay things to my Amazon wishlist hoping someone gets them for me for Christmas.

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    Viajera
    21 Oct 2021
    1:01pm

    That ALC comes in a great purple too. Like, reeeeeally great. I like the Aqua one too – it has some recycled poly in it. Awesome post, Kim! … … … I wonder though if many are handknit. They don’t say so, and I would think that would be a selling point. Curious.

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      kimbersam
      21 Oct 2021
      3:33pm

      All over this thread, today. Can you tell I am procrastinating? That purple is bloody gorgeous.

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    cw
    21 Oct 2021
    8:31am

    Betty and I arrived home to Texas yesterday afternoon––literally everyone we have spoken to has congratulated me on missing all the hot weather––the high today is supposed to be 84 and on Monday 90 so forgive me if I don’t light the sparklers and throw the confetti in excitement. Although the thought of putting any kind of sweater on (or near) my body makes me slightly nauseous I am LOVING these options! Who doesn’t love a Fair Isle sweater?!?!? Great selection, Kim!! Also the web site GEM (which I found out about from Andrea of I WANT TO BE HER) can lead you to a number of Etsy vintage clothing people: https://gem.app/search?terms=Fair%20Isle

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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