The History of Men's Fisherman's Jumpers
Posted on 31 March 2020
Originally thought to have been first knitted in the late 1800s, the fisherman’s jumper has taken various forms over the years, each providing the wearer with a specific set of requirements suitable for the task at hand.
From Devon to Dundee, thanks to the skills of the wives and girlfriends left at shore, the unique and complex patterns were crafted with their loved ones in mind. With one jumper consisting of up to 100,000 stitches, knitting was seen to be a communal activity between the women and something that could be passed down through history.
Though your own adventures may not take you through such perilous conditions, the addition of a fisherman’s jumper into your wardrobe is sure to cover all possibilities. Whether you’re looking for a classic jumper, with history running through its fibres or a more contemporary twist on a traditional sweater, browse our extensive collection here and follow in the footsteps of histories sea dogs.
If you typically tend to stay away from roll necks, our selection of cotton and merino crew neck fisherman’s jumpers may be just the thing for you.
Available in both 100% chunky Peruvian merino and 100% cotton, a ribbed crew neck will comfortably slot into a seasonal wardrobe, providing the wearer with both warmth and a contemporary look.
Thanks to the nature of ribbed knits, customers can expect a close fitting, easy to style and seasonally versatile jumper, perfect for unpredictable weather. With our merino wool ribbed jumper being of a self-cleaning, breathable nature, the visual appearance is backed up by the scientific benefits of an incredibly clever fibre.
Partner your Chunky Merino Ribbed Jumper with our bestselling Cotton Breton Sweater for a contemporary layered look. Our Alpaca Walking Socks are ideal for those that are on their feet for long periods of time, whilst accents of colour found in our Cinnamon Lambswool Ribbed Beanie gives the wearer a close-fitting hat, ideal for keeping the wind out.
Taking inspiration from uniform issued by the British Navy, the Submariner is an iconic silhouette with comfort and durability at its core. With a slight drop shoulder, thick ribbed neck, cuffs and hem, the Submariner will cover all bases when keeping out a bitter wind.
When deciding between our Cotton or Merino Submariner there are a few things to keep in mind:
Traditionally knitted in a coarse British Wool, the use of chunky merino as an alternative provides the wearer with an initial layer of warmth, without the scratchiness that is so commonly found. Perfect for those cool summer evenings spent in the pub with good friends.
Our cotton submariner is recognised as a more ‘everyday’ jumper. Heavy weight and machine washable, we find that our customers return to the cotton variety when looking for a jumper that will take them from office to evening and comes in an assortment of classic colours.
Whilst the knit itself has a contemporary slouch fit, the garment is of a versatile nature and works wonderfully under a smart, wool coat or casual ‘flying’ jacket. Channel legends such as James Dean, Daniel Craig and even Captain Haddock!
Roll Neck or Crew Neck, the Submariner has evolved with this traditional stitch into a luxury piece of knitwear that adds another level of interest to any outfit.
Throughout history the moss stitch has represented abundance and growth, with fisherman’s wives knitting them throughout their jumpers in anticipation of a plentiful catch and a good life. Whilst you might not be sailing the seven seas in your moss stitch sweater, this brilliant piece of knitwear has been inspired by history and adapted into the 21st century.
Classic colours such as Grey, Ecru and Navy will offer you a luxury jumper, perfect for dropping into your seasonal wardrobe and contemporary brights such as Green, Cobalt and Burnt Sienna offer an exciting twist to an outfit.
Pair the Burnt Sienna Richard Crew Neck with dark blue selvedge jeans and a crisp white shirt for a contemporary twist on a classic silhouette. Sturdy, dark boots partnered with our Everyday Alpaca Socks keep your feet comfy and cool and our Lambswool Ribbed Beanie in Navy finishes the look off perfectly.
With an assortment of both contemporary and classic colours available, the Richard Crew Neck in Burgundy is a great middle ground. Our ultra-lightweight, cotton Breton Polo Shirt is perfect for layering underneath and smart wool trousers look great on the bottom. Brown Everyday Alpaca Socks and a Camel Lambswool Scarf add a different pop of colour and tie the outfit together.
When imagining a ship heading to a far-off land or exploring a new horizon, the Breton stripe has been a constant visual throughout history. First documented in the late 17th century by the French Navy, traditionally, a Breton jumper was made up of 21 stripes, each recognising one of Napoleon’s victories.
The use of an odour resistant fibre partnered with tight ribbed cuffs and hem provide the wearer with a garment that is both functional and industrially hard wearing.
Over time, the sweater has evolved and with each variation comes a whole new way of wearing it. The perfect partner to a crisp white shirt or cotton chore jacket, the styling possibilities of a Breton stripe, really are endless.
With Picasso, Andy Warhol and Marlon Brando all being diehard fans of this contemporary jumper, there are endless visual references for when you’re in a styling pickle.
When styling a statement jumper like our Chunky Merino Breton Submariner, pair with classic pieces like our Heavyweight Cotton T-Shirt and Extra Fine Merino Beanie for an effortless outfit. Accessories are a great way to introduce new colours and our Alpaca Everyday Socks are ideal for keeping body heat locked in.
If you’re after a more lightweight Breton, search our bestselling cotton styles here
British Wool Fisherman’s Cable
Though vast improvements in machinery mean that we’re no longer hand knitting our jumpers over an open fire, the traditional elements of the Fisherman’s cable are still recocgnised within our heavy weight, British wool cable knit.
With the traditional honeycomb pattern symbolizing a hard-working bee, the complex basket stitch a nod to a plentiful catch and the cable in anticipation of a safe journey, decades of craftsmanship is still apparent throughout.
Available in Ecru, Denim and Charcoal, all colours will offer the wearer a heavy duty, expertly crafted jumper, steeped in heritage.
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