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80s Fair Isle Jumpers and Cardigans

1980s chunky knit fair isle sweater
An original 1980s Chunky Knit Fair Isle Sweater

If you remember being forced to wear a mock Fair Isle jumper that your gran had knitted for you as a child, then you're certainly not alone! My gran tended to knit loose, very loose, and I swear she thought I was an orangutan, judging by the length of the arms. "Don't worry child, you'll soon grow into it" was a phrase that was frequently used. By the time I had finally grown into it, the sweater was no longer fit for purpose!

Fair Isle is actually an island which is situated within the Shetland Islands in bonnie Scotland. Fair Isle knitting first became popular when the Prince of Wales wore a tank top in public during 1921. These days, the term is used to describe the patterning, and, I suspect, that most Fair Isle style clothing is now manufactured in the far east, and not the genuine article.

Zig zags, diamond shapes, star-like flower heads, lines and dots generally made-up the patterns we all grew up with, However, at Christmas time the patterns were given a rather unpleasant Nordic-style, festive makeover. Unbelievably, those ghastly Christmas jumpers with reindeer and snowmen (that you wouldn't be seen dead in during the 1980s) are actually trendy again, and the more ghastly the look, the more people seem to like them. It's all quite bizarre to me!

Fair Isle has been very fashionable again in recent years, and that gives me the perfect excuse to wear a cardigan - you can't beat a good, old-fashioned cardigan for comfort and practicality - and now I can be en vogue, too!



Fair Isle Jumpers
Matching Fair Isle Jumpers for him and her
Nordic Fair Isle Red Christmas Cardigan
Nordic style Fair Isle Christmas Cardigan

The Starsky Cardigan

One of the most infamous cardigans was the one worn by Paul Michael Glaser wore in the 70s cop show Starsky and Hutch. Finding an exact replica is likely to be an impossible task, but there are cream fair isle cardigans available that have a similar feel. Besides, can anyone really remember the exact patterning anyway?

Starsky wearing a cream cardigan
The original Starsky & Hutch

Starsky Cardigan Costume
Starsky Cardigan Costume
I found this cardigan at Amazon which is designed to be used as a costume, rather than to be worn as casual wear. Now, it's certainly not cheap, but if you've always wanted to dress like Starsky, then now's your chance!

The cardigan is also available at Amazon's US store.

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