11 best fair isle jumpers for women for a cosy, apres-ski vibe

There are cosy jumpers, cool jumpers, and then there’s the fair isle jumper – the sort of knit that evokes an apres-ski, moneyed vibe that never goes out of style. In my book, that’s one sort of jumper I need to own. And I’m not alone.

From Princess Diana, who wore her neon pink and lime green incarnation sportingly so with neutral cord trousers, to the modern-day Princess of Wales, Kate, who is no stranger to falling back on a fair isle jumper for winter engagements and festive appearances. Proving once again that the fair isle pattern (named after an island in Shetland, northern Scotland, home to the knitting technique) lends itself not just to the slopes – or the apres-ski bar – but holiday parties, Christmas get togethers and even the office party. 

Of course, the fair isle sweater is nothing new. It isn’t reinventing the fashion wheel – although its more recent iterations include trend-led elements like pops of colour, puffed sleeves, cropped lengths and touches of sparkle. But the way in which it’s worn now, is.

How I chose the best fair isle jumpers

  • Design: Staying as true to the traditional fair isle pattern as possible, I’ve picked sweaters that are on the same track as the Scottish design.
  • Style: The majority of products are jumpers, but I’ve found a few other knitted designs to include – all with a fair isle pattern – to show how versatile this trend is.
  • Fabric: Even though many of those included are made from polyester or less-natural fabrics, I’ve highlighted the ones made from wool, cotton or cashmere.
  • Price: You can spend upwards of £200 on a fair isle jumper, less than £20. Since budgets differ, you’ll find prices across the spectrum in this edit.
  • Trusted brands: As always, I try to include brands I personally shop from, wear and trust. And if it isn’t a brand I’ve tried, it’s one that gets consistently positive, and verified, reviews from shoppers.

Why you should trust me 

I shop for a living, and I can spot a classic, wardrobe staple a mile off – and when you throw celebs, royals and influencers loving a look, you know it’s something you need to write about. I love trends, don’t get me wrong, but I am a big fan of a fashion piece that’ll last the test of time and for me, fair isle jumpers are about as classic a winter item as they get. I’m always striving to bring the HELLO! reader the things that will work out affordable when you configure the cost per wear, and after buying a fair isle jumper myself a few years ago, I can confirm they do. There isn’t a December mine doesn’t take a few turns!

Shop the best fair isle jumpers for women

  1. Mango Fairisle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £30 spend.

    Sizes: XXS-XXL

    Returns: Within 30 days

    With a straight cut and neutral design, Mango’s fair isle jumper is about as classic as they get.

    Editor’s note: “Mango’s fair isle jumper deserves the number one spot for a few reasons. Firstly, the print is a great fair isle and the crew neckline hits the sweet spot between high neck and low neck. I think it looks luxurious, despite being only £35.99.”

  2. M&S Fairisle jumper

    M&S Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £60 spend; or free next-day click and collect from M&S stores.

    Sizes: XS-XL

    Returns: Within 35 days

    With a cosy funnel neck and Fair Isle pattern around the yoke, Marks & Spencer’s jumper looks cosy, chic and cute.

    Editor’s note: “I absolutely love the bright flash of blue across the yoke of M&S’ fair isle jumper – it’s a modern take on the trend and not too OTT for those that don’t love bold colours.”

  3. White Stuff Fair Isle Jumper

    White Stuff Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £70 spend

    Sizes: 6-24

    Returns: Until January 21 2024

    Made from 80% lambswool, get cosy in White Stuff’s high-neck fair isle sweater with a marl knit and neon pattern.

    Editor’s note: “Adding a bit of colour to a grey knit is always welcome, so thanks to White Stuff for this stunning pink and blue fair isle mix. It’s a great price for a jumper that’s 80% lambswool, just bear in mind it’s hand wash only.”

  4. DÔEN fair isle jumper

    DÔEN Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Standard delivery costs £7.

    Sizes: XXS-XL

    Returns: Within 28 days

    With a scalloped neckline and mohair/wool blend, this is designed with a loose fit in mind.

    Editor’s note: “DÔEN is the label to know right now, and their fair isle jumper is made from a mohair and wool mix to give a fuzzy look.”

  5. Hobbs Cashmere Fair Isle Jumper

    Hobbs Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £150 spend

    Sizes: XS-XL

    Returns: Within 30 days of purchase

    Hobbs’ fair isle jumper is made from a merino wool and cashmere mix, and features a navy background with red-pink design.

    Editor’s note: “If you’re craving cashmere, head to Hobbs for their cashmere-mix fair isle knit, with super soft merino wool as its base. It is a slim fit, so size up if the oversized look is more your style.”

  6. J Crew Fair Isle Sweater

    J Crew Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Varies depending on territory

    Sizes: XXXS – XXXL

    Returns: Within 30 days of purchase

    J.Crew’s chunky sweater features a grey and black fair isle pattern, relaxed fit and fluffy finish.

    Editor’s note: “I’ve seen this J.Crew knit on my favourite fashion Instagrammers and I’m so close to pressing the buy button! I love the grey tones, they’ll look great with leather trousers and silver pants or even sequin skirts.”

  7. H&M fair Isle jumper

    H&M Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £20 spend

    Sizes: XXS-XL

    Returns: Within 30 days of purchase

    H&M’s short jumper has a soft jacquard knit, ribbed polo neck and long raglan sleeves, and comes in black and white or pink and grey.

    Editor’s note: “A great jumper for layering over silky dresses, H&M’s cropped fair isle knit has a high neck for warmth and geo black and white pattern.”

  8. Albaray Fair Isle Jumper

    Albaray Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £100 spend

    Sizes: 8-18

    Returns: Within 30 days of purchase

    If it’s a sustainable knit you’re looking for, head to Albaray and their chunky fair isle sweater.

    Editor’s note: “With a chunky look and roll neck, Albaray’s fair isle sweater looks ridiculously warm. I’ve been reading the reviews and it’s recommended you size up, so if it’s an extra oversize fit you want, think about sizing up twice.”

  9. John Lewis Fair Isle Jumper

    John Lewis Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £150 spend

    Sizes: XS-XL

    Returns: Within 30 days of purchase

    Framed with a classic round neckline, this lightweight top is 50% wool and has an oversized fit.

    Editor’s note: “Okay, so this isn’t super traditional but I’m appreciating the nod between the classic fair isle print and cute flower design. The gloriously pink colour is a welcome change from neutrals and blacks too!”

  10. Crew Clothing Fair Isle Jumper

    Crew Clothing Fair Isle Jumper

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £50 spend.

    Sizes: 6-18

    Returns: Within 28 days

    Made from a wool blend, Crew Clothing’s fair isle knit has a subtle sparkle running through it and is also available in black with a red design.

    Editor’s note: “I’m all for a subtle sparkle, and Crew Clothing’s fair isle knit is pared back but perfect to hit the note between Christmas jumper and non-festive fashion.”

  11. Boden Fair Isle Cardigan

    Boden Fair Isle Cardigan

    Shipping: Free delivery with a £50 spend

    Sizes: XS-XL

    Returns: Within 90 days of purchase

    Crafted from a cotton-wool-cashmere blend, Boden’s cardigan features a heart fair isle design and button-up fastening, with a sweet collar.

    Editor’s note: “Boden has an abundance of fair isle jumpers, but it’s the heart fair isle cardigan that caught for my eye taking the print to a new direction. How sweet is the cutesy pattern and teeny collar?”

Styling advice

The multi-coloured knit style knit has been a long time favourite of the royals, from portraits to apres-ski parties, and the classic pattern has stood the test of time to become a classic winter piece that works from the ski lodge to the streets.

Karin Teigl in Sweden
Influencer Karin Teigl adds a teddy coat, Chanel pouch and plisse slacks to her fair isle knit

Fashion stylist and influencer Helen Canning rates the “timeless” trend: “Fair isle knitted jumpers have a timeless appeal that transcends fashion trends and generations, giving a homespun heritage feel that we go back to every winter. These often colourful sweaters give a nod to the festive aesthetic without going all-out in a Christmas jumper, which you may only wear once or twice a year.”

I’m all for wearing a fair isle jumper with jeans, but it’s this season’s must-have silver trousers I think they look incredible with, especially a charcoal or black fair isle knit. Taking it from the ski lodge to the streets is easy – one would be a more interesting stablemate to a leather skirt, sequin skirt or leather trousers too. Add a pair of OTT earrings or a padded headband and you’re party ready.

The high street has also swerved away from the more traditional fair isle sweater colours of white, nudes and browns to incorporate the pattern on punchy pinks, bold reds and greens, oranges and yellows while using the design on cardigans and zip-up knits too.

Royals and celebrities who love the look

We love it when Princess Kate wears something more casual, and like the festive fashion pro she is, a fair isle jumper is something she wears year upon year. Kate wore a Holland Cooper fair isle sweater in a surprise TV appearance, to read a story on CBeebies’ Bedtime Stories TV show and more recently, to promote a carol concert to air this month. 

Princess Kate wearing fair isle jumper from Brora
Princess Kate loves wearing her Fair Isle knitwear from Brora

And she also has one from knitwear brand Brora, pictured above, that she falls back on for chilly royal engagements.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles pictured at Balmoral in 1981
Princess Diana and Prince Charles pictured at Balmoral in 1981

Not forgetting Princess Diana, a big fan of the traditional Scottish design. And on the other end of the spectrum, the ever-glam Jennifer Lopez styled a fair isle sweater with a flowing black maxi skirt. That’s a lesson in how to make one into eveningwear, right there.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in NYC 2022
J-Lo schools us in glamming up a fair isle sweater

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