Fair Isle

Thanksgiving is next week, and there’s pretty much no better time to wear a sweater: The weather’s finally nice and crisp, the vibe is quasi-dressy but comfortable—and a soft, forgiving knit lets you load up on yams without popping a shirt button.

The festive occasion (coupled with the fact that you’ll be surrounded by friends and family, rather than the judging eyes of strangers) means the time is also ripe to break out something more…obscure. And when it comes to sweater inspiration, Bill Cosby is king. For proof positive, visit The Cosby Sweater Project, an ingenious mix of TV nostalgia and original artwork by Chicago illustrator Kelly Tucker. Here are a few of our favorite recent entries:






To find sweaters with Heathcliff Huxtable levels of swagger, you might need to hop a time machine to 1985 (or at least locate your nearest thrift store). But we have hundreds of modern interpretations, from eye-catching to classic. Here are some ideas to get you prepped for the big day next Thursday:


Fair Isle. This pattern has been quote-unquote “on trend” for a few seasons now—but given that it’s derived from a Scottish island that’s been occupied since the Bronze Age, you can bet it will stick around for centuries to come.
Shown: Topman | Jack Spade | Grayers


Cable Knit. The safest sweater choice for the pattern-phobic among us. Safe need not be boring though, with options of the crewneck, turtleneck, and shawl-collar variety.
Shown: A.P.C. | Michael Kors | Rag & Bone


Subtle Pattern. A middle ground between solid and full-on Fair Isle. (Woodland creatures are cool and all…but this miniature Moby-Dick reference has its tongue planted even more firmly in-cheek.)
Shown: Z Zegna | Jil Sander | Gant by Michael Bastian


Chunky Cardigan. Less dressy than the others, but a clear winner in supreme coziness. The shawl-style collar acts as a built-in scarf, when you need to run out for more firewood (or an extra pie).
Shown: Dale of Norway | Pringle of Scotland | Pendleton Portland Collection
 

Ready to get your Cosby on?
SHOP ALL SWEATERS

…And if you’re up for a second helping of Thanksgiving spirit,
check out these appetizing pants by Bonobos:

 
 

[Artwork by Kelly Tucker, via The Cosby Sweater Project. View more of Tucker’s work at i draw pictures. Cosby Show stills courtesy of Carsey-Werner, Viacom and Paramount. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

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“When I think of Fair Isle sweaters, I think of Polo by Ralph Lauren because Ralph is the master of taking something that is so traditional and making it contemporary and cool for the modern guy. Not only is this sweater cut a little bit slimmer, but the pattern has been recolored slightly from the super fusty, folkloric versions.

“It looks great with a shirt and tie; just remember to keep your underpinnings clean. We paired it with a pink shirt in the magazine for a preppy look, but it also can look incredibly modern when paired with grey flannel pants, a white oxford shirt and a pair of black loafers. I think we’re at a time in fashion where pieces that are a little bit ‘geezer’ look great again. So while this obviously pays homage to a classic Scottish Fair Isle, it still feels new.”

—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

Each month, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio and the Men’s Shop, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.

For the second edition of GQ Selects, we’ve chosen 16 Fall essentials from the August issue. Check back every month for more.

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