If a traditional Aran sweater conjures up images of wild and dramatic Irish seas, being navigated by strong, reliable fishermen, it seems you know your history. Originating from the Aran Islands in the 1930s, the Aran sweater has gone from being the traditional knitwear of Irish seamen, to being worn by people up and down the country for fashion and comfort.
But before you invest in a quality Aran sweater, there are some choices you need to make, based on personal preference and lifestyle. If you live in the city, you may want to go for a slightly lighter knit, but if you like walking in all weathers or enjoy a hike on the moors, a thicker sweater may suit you better.
The first thing is to choose the colour. Whilst a traditional Aran sweater comes in an off-white colour, modern versions of the knitwear are also available in a variety of other colours. Greys are especially popular and look great with jeans, or black chinos, but if you’re a traditional type of guy, an off-white Aran sweater worn with classic blue jeans offers the ultimate look.
All Aran sweaters have patterns on the main chest area, but there are a variety of patterns and designs. Before you buy, decide if you want to opt for a traditional cable knit look or a slightly more unusual pattern.
Size and Style
Traditionally Aran sweaters are worn tight to the skin for warmth, and this can suit a slim frame. But many of the more fashionable styles worn today tend to be worn baggier and offer a more comfortable fit, that feels less restrictive.
Handmade or Machine Made
Handmade sweaters tend to have more texture, and each knit will be individual in its own way. A machine knitted sweater may not be as authentic as an original hand knit, but the chances are it will probably be more affordable and still look like the real thing. It is worth shopping around to find an Aran sweater as there are many companies claiming their sweaters are traditional, when in fact they are simply replicas based on the original design.
Buying a stylish, good quality Aran sweater is a wise purchase. It can be worn for smart/casual occasions and relaxed weekends and will soon become one of the most loved items in your wardrobe.