Style

A Fair Isle knit is the only Christmas jumper you need

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This winter, skip the novelty knits and go for something far more stylish (but no less festive). Our Style Director picks the best Fair Isle jumpers for the season

I really struggle to see the attraction of novelty Christmas jumpers, apart from when they’re worn by rosy-cheeked five-year-old years or when raising money for charity. Despite my resistance to them, it’s about this time of year you’ll start seeing your co-workers shedding their corporate uniform for a festive knit, complete with bells and whistles (quite literally). These pimped up sweaters with twinkling lights and light-up Rudolf noses are seldom pulled off with any sense of style, and certainly not when sipping a tepid mulled wine and shoving a mince pie down your neck. I remember watching George Michael in Wham’s Last Christmas video as a teenager mainly to copy his highlighted hair and heavy fringe – when I noticed not even George wore a novelty knit while overdoing the tinsel on the tree. And if they’re not cool enough for my musical hero, then they’re not cool enough for me.

Yet in 2018 there are plenty of patterned knits around to choose from, which say ‘festive’ with a small ‘f’. Rather than picking something overtly festive, go for something warm and woolly that has longevity – something that makes sense to wear outside the month of December. Essentially, you need to be more Val Doonican (look him up on, kids) in your approach and less children’s TV presenter. Here’s my pick for the best Fair Isle sweaters that will look great on Christmas Jumper Day and beyond.