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Enduring Classic

The Fisherman Sweater

It's known as a fisherman's sweater. Or sometimes, it's also called an Aran sweater—the name derived from the western islands off the coast of Ireland where the style was invented. Often cream in color and always chunky in texture, the wool sweaters were first knit by the wives of fishermen using unscoured wool that retained the fibers' natural oils which provided protection from the cold, wet conditions at sea. But that also made them rather stiff (and smelly). And while you can find plenty of traditional styles on eBay, a modern version like this one from L.L. Bean, is knit and hand-finished in Ireland using an authentic pattern but knit from soft, worsted wool. Meaning it layers easily over an oxford cloth shirt or under a blazer. Lands' End Canvas has a shawl collar style this season and Orvis sells a dark brownish-grey version, knit from the undyed wool of black sheep.

at L.L. Bean

  • An Aran sweater typically contains four to six different patterns.




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