Fair Isle Sweaters for Staying Cozy-Chic in All Winter Long

The fairest of them all.

Fair Isle sweater
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to The Essentials (opens in new tab), our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.


They look right at home in a wood-paneled ski lodge, but the traditional Fair Isle knit was born in Fair Isle itself, a seaside island just south of Scotland. The multi-color knit was catapulted to fame by royals who posed in them for portraits (opens in new tab) and often donned them during their travels. Still as charming as ever, Fair Isles remain a buzzed-about pattern and an essential cold-weather piece. Weave them into your everyday wardrobe by layering them over button-downs (opens in new tab) with work trousers, or pairing them with your fave denim and low-top sneakers (opens in new tab). Designers also have an affinity for the legacy print, recently introducing punchy color combinations, mixed-media prints, and attaching doily, ladylike collars. If you don't own one already, it's about time you join the club.


Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to.