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Enduring Classic

The Fisherman Sweater

Known as both a fisherman's sweater or an Aran sweater, the garment's name is derived from the Aran islands off the western coast of Ireland, where the style was first invented. Often cream in color and always chunky in texture, the woolen sweaters were first knit by the fishermen's wives using raw, unwashed and undyed wool that retained its natural oils. This provided protection from the cold, wet conditions at sea, but also made them rather stiff and smelly. Modern versions like these from L.L. Bean and Orvis are still hand-finished in Ireland using authentic patterns, but are now knit from soft, worsted wool. And for those that want the heft and texture without all the weight of wool, look for lighter cotton versions like those from Levi's Made & Crafted and Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren,


L.L. Bean, $139


Orvis, $109

    Traditional Aran sweaters contain four to six different patterns and the wearer's initials were often knit into the bottom of the garment.











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