The Fair Isle sweater; Dior’s shearling bomber jacket; The chalk stripe; Burberry’s classic trench coat; Ansel Elgort’s style; Saint Laurent’s F/W ’18 collection; Woven belts; moccasinchukka crossbreeds; Louis Vuitton’s first-ever men’s colognes; mask sheets.
Those who know me will tell you: I am not a man who breaks his stride when it comes to style. Is that boring? Maybe. I prefer to see it as consistent. Steady on. Pull open my closet and you’ll find a landscape of deep browns, calming greens, charcoal grays, and dark blues. I pretty much locked into my look some years ago, and I will not blow money on trends. I invest in timelessness.
Which might explain why I am intrigued by many of the knits designers are turning out this fall: They’re a trend that happens to be timeless.
I’m talking about the Fair Isle sweater. Brightly hued and richly patterned in horizontal bands, it’s got a heritage that goes back to the Scottish islands. While no one is exactly sure of the origin of these sweaters, my
theory is as good as anyone else’s: They’re the 19th-century version of tattoos, a way to set yourself apart. If Deadliest Catch were being filmed in 1882 in the North Sea, rather than seeing some fully sleeved, tattooed man pulling in nets like you do now, you’d see a guy in one of these numbers.
Mind you, I haven’t made the leap to wearing one yet. But I’m getting there. For the 21st century, the Fair Isle sweater is the thinking man’s graphic T-shirt. Years ago, I saw a photograph of a post-beatles Paul Mccartney rocking a Fair Isle, and it has always stayed in my head; he’s wearing something that is so antique that it’s cool, that boasts enough colors and patterns in it to defy categorization. And that’s its appeal, ultimately. Just when you think you’ve got your style all figured out, something like this comes along and makes you reconsider everything.
Jacket by Drake’s; sweater by Gucci; shirt by Brooks Brothers; jeans by A.P.C.