LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: The Ugly Christmas Sweater’s More Attractive Sibling

This past weekend, there was a plethora of ugly Christmas sweater parties, and Friday classes were filled with bright knits of red and green, Santa and his reindeer iron-on sweatshirts, and the occasional Chanukah vest. As much as I love to dress up in a fantastically hideous ugly Christmas sweater, I am not about to do an article on them — although attempting to find some on the internet would be interesting. The stylish alternative to Christmas sweater season? The Fair Isle sweater.

Fair Isle was created on the remote Scottish island of the same name and was popularized by avid skiers and the Duke of Windsor. Fair Isle has no specific pattern, but is characterized by small repeating geometric shapes ranging like simple snowflakes or more intricate designs. The color patterns are endless when it comes to Fair Isle; the trick to wearing these pattern-filled beauties is knowing how to balance out the sometimes-overwhelming pattern.

A heavily patterned sweater like Fair Isle may seem intimidating to any college student, but not for a Fashionisto or Fashionista! Today’s Fashionisto rocks a heavy zip-up Fair Isle sweater, skinny jeans and some heavy duty Timberland boots. Although the Fair Isle sweater may come off as feminine, balancing out the sweater with a great boot can really complete an outfit.

I found a mix of sweaters at every price point and a range of different patterns. DKNY features a Sherpa-lined cardigan in a very simple Fair Isle pattern and a color combination that can be easily matched. For the more adventurous Fashionisto, J.Crew features a bright-colored sweater with a busy pattern. Old Navy carries a cowl neck cardigan, another fall fashion trend for 2011, while Forever 21 has a pattern-heavy pullover sweater.

This holiday season, why not shake things up a bit with a Fair Isle sweater? Show your friends and family how you can be simultaneously festive and stylish at holiday parties!

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