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The fisherman’s sweater has long been a men’s cold-weather staple, but it wasn’t until Chris Evans wore one in Knives Out, that people realized how ruggedly sexy the best fisherman’s sweaters could be. There was just something about that handsome jerk that made guys wonder, “Damn, do I need a fisherman’s sweater, too?”
They’re a sweater that can literally be worn with anything, and you’ll immediately look cool. Yes, even with formal plaid trousers. This article will touch briefly (there’s no quiz after) on where the sweater came from, and where you can find the best fisherman’s sweaters to wear now.
How Fisherman Sweaters Were Created
The fisherman sweater originated from the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland. Originally called the Aran Jumper, it was created by fishermen’s wives to keep them warm at sea. No one likes a soggy sweater (it’s like carrying a wet dog on your back), so the wives used rough wool that still had the lanolin coating on it to create water and windproof sweaters. The Aran jumper, or fisherman sweater, featured different patterns depending upon the maker. Some had heavily patterned cables and/or bobbles, and some didn’t. They were often considered to be a lucky item, and according to tradition, wearing one meant you would find lots of fish in the water. It could have been because the sweaters, made of heavy Irish wool, allowed them to be out on the water longer, but we’re not going to quibble with myths.
These days you can find fisherman sweaters in cashmere, merino wool, silk and wool blends, cotton and acrylic. They come in turtlenecks, crewnecks, cardigans, and well, if you can think of a sweater style, there’s probably a fisherman’s sweater tucked in there. Some people will give the fisherman’s sweater AKA the Aran Jumper (or sweater) a third name, the cable knit sweater. However, that only applies to cable knit sweaters that have more than one pattern on them. Fisherman sweaters come in many different colors and price points. Scroll on through to find a fisherman sweater or two to keep you warm and looking good this winter.
1. Aran Sweater Market Aran Cabled Fisherman Sweater
This Aran AKA fisherman sweater showcases the lucky Aran Diamond pattern combined with honeycomb stitches. Honeycomb stitches are supposed to give good luck to the wearer. Made in Ireland with 100% natural, organic Irish merino wool, each sweater is numbered and comes with a signed and stamped certificate of authenticity. It comes in natural white, grey, marled grey knit, and loden.
2. The Irish Store Men’s Traditional Aran Sweater
MOST COLOR OPTIONS
Have a hankering for a fisherman’s sweater in Kelly green, light navy, white or black? The Irish Store’s fisherman sweater gives you 10 color options to pick from. This soft merino wool sweater uses the honeycomb stitch throughout — as mentioned earlier, honeycomb stitches are supposed to bring good luck to the wearer. Made in Ireland, this sweater usually goes for $139.95, but it’s on sale for $70 less.
3. L.L. Bean Men’s Signature Cotton Fisherman Sweater
BEST AMERICAN INTERPRETATION
We always find ourselves going back to L.L. Bean for cold weather gear because they’ve been creating durable goods that stand the test of time. Their fisherman’s sweater is slim-fitting with raglan sleeves. Spun from cotton, it’s easy to layer over shirts and under jackets. Reviewers rave about how comfortable it is, and a few mentioned that it could be the style twin of the Knives Out sweater. It comes in beige or navy.
4. Find Men’s Cable Knit Crew Neck Sweater
BEST EASY CARE
Find is one of Amazon’s fashion brands. And like the other brands under the Amazon umbrella, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Their fisherman sweater’s patterns mimic the classic style. Best of all, the sweater is made from acrylic. That means it can be tossed in the machine to clean. To be on the safe side, don’t put it in the dryer, let it dry flat to keep its shape. It comes in classic ivory or navy.
5. Barena Fisherman Rollneck Sweater
BEST LITERAL INTERPRETATION
Here’s a fisherman’s sweater with a sense of humor. Fashion designer Sandro Zara, the man behind Barena, creates well-tailored clothing with a twist. This white sweater has a navy fisherman rowing on the front is made from virgin wool. It has a roll neck with ribbed cuffs and hem.
6. Wool Lovers Men’s Pure Wool Aran Turtleneck Sweater
BEST FOR FROSTY TEMPS
This Aran turtleneck sweater is made from 100% pure wool. Wool Lovers is a UK-based company that only uses natural fibers. Because of their attention to fabrication, this is a thick, warm sweater. It has a relaxed fit, making it easy to wear over a tee shirt. It also comes in kiltimagh (green/blue combo), denim marl and oatmeal.
7. Desigual Tie-Dye Jumper
Tie-dye made a resurgence this past spring and summer, but we never thought we’d see a tie-dye fisherman’s sweater — or that it would look goodo! Tie-dye is just as fresh-looking for winter. Desigual re-imagines the fisherman’s sweater in white cotton with a black tie-dye print. The result is edgy, urbane and very cool.
8. Bellemere New York Cashmere Turtleneck Cable Knit Sweater
If you’re going to treat yourself to a luxury item this winter, consider Bellemere New York’s thick cashmere turtleneck sweater. It has a high neck and updated and reinterpreted Aran-style stitching. This slim fit sweater envelopes you in softness. Shown in orange, it comes in 8 other high fashion shades including pink and mustard.
9. West End Knitwear Aran Button Men’s Sweater
BEST FORMAL TO CASUAL IN A FLASH
Thick and gorgeous, this Aran fisherman knit cardigan can be worn buttoned up as a sweater or unbuttoned as a cardigan. Made from soft 100% Irish merino wool, it provides warmth without bulk. The sweater utilizes a mix of traditional and modern stitches. It’s highlighted with vintage style brown buttons. Made in Ireland, each sweater comes with a small gift from West End Knitwear.
10. Amazon Essentials Midweight Fisherman Sweater
Thick and chunky, the way all the best fisherman sweaters should look, no one would believe that you spent that little for a great looking sweater. Made from a wool blend, it is decorated with authentic looking Aran stitches. It also comes in black, white, and pale grey.