Patterned jumpers have been, to use the parlance, on trend since about 2010, but this year they finally hit the mainstream and every high street store had a range. Even the BBC noted the fashion and published a very sweet article examining the reasons why it is now de rigeur for a bloke to liven up at least one Christmas party with knitwear festooned with reindeers and santas.
Bizarrely metal bands got in on the trend. One of Brandish’s most popular posts this winter was the story about Slayer offering their own xmas jumper and the fact that it sold out within a few hours of it hitting their site.
So Christmas jumpers are great. But are they the contemporary version of the Homer Simpson tie? Great for a festive gathering too but destined for the back of wardrobe once the Brussels Sprouts have gone hard?
Well much depends on your definition of Christmas jumper. If we are being fundamentalist about it Christmas jumpers should be fairly lurid, think bright green and red, or an odd shade of blue and should have at the very least an image of Santa, a reindeer or two or a sprig of mistletoe. It should be a serious chunky knit too – preferably home made by an elderly relative who has spent half a year creating it. Think the natty threads so wonderfully sported by Colin Firth in The Bridget Jones first movie.
In reality though many so called Christmas Jumpers are actually just patterned jumpers or Fairisle jumpers or even Nordic influenced jumpers and it is these that have been all over the stores recently.
So why have we suddenly got crazy about patterned knitwear. Part of it stems from the fact that the first people wearing patterned jumpers were hipsters who may have been wearing them in a (sighs) ironic way. What better item to team up with your yellow twisty chinos than a bright patterned jumper? It pretty much says that you are so cool you really can wear what you like. This might work for 20 something Dalston-ites but if you are approaching your 30s and beyond you might want to think twice about what exactly constitutes a statement jumper.
Fortunately you are in luck for as time has gone by there has also been a revival in Fairisle jumpers and our current obsession with Scandi TV has heightened the profile of Nordic jumpers.
So here then is a quick guide to patterned jumpers. I’d leave the reindeer at home, but most patterned jumpers are great for all winter long.
Fairisle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in Shetland. Apparently Fairisle became huge when the future Edward VIII wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921. These days it refers to any colourwork knitting where stitches are knit alternately in various colours, with the unused colours stranded across the back of the work. This is a high-end lambs wool Fairisle jumper in cream. William Fox