The History of Men's Fisherman's Jumpers

 Men's Fisherman's Sweaters Throughout History

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.

Women Knitting Aran Cable Knit Jumpers

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.

Ribbed Fisherman’s Jumper – Cotton and Merino

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.

Men's 100% Cotton Ribbed Pullovers

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.

Styling Your Chunky Wool Ribbed Jumper

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.

The Submariner – Cotton and Merino

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.

100% Cotton Submariner Turtle Neck Sweater

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!

100% Merino Wool Submariner - Seen on James Dean

Chunky Moss Stitch - Roll Neck and Crew Neck 

Ecru and Navy Moss Stitch Roll Neck and Crew Neck

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.

Men's Burnt Orange Chunky Merino Wool Moss Stitch Crew Neck

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.

Men's Chunky Merino Burgundy Moss Stitch Crew Neck Sweater

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.

Chunky Merino Breton – Crew Neck and Roll Neck

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.

Men's Breton Striped Sweaters Throughout History

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.

Styling Your Chunky Breton Striped Submariner Pullover

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 Shooting Jumper 

Pairing a chunky, heavyweight jumper with a lightweight, extra fine merino one is a fantastic way to ensure that you’re comfy and cosy throughout the day.

Our bestselling British Wool Shooting Jumper with suede patches (also available without) is a contemporary twist on a traditional favourite and is an incredibly durable sweater thanks to the nature of the yarn used. Pairing this with our 100% Extra Fine Merino Roll Neck Jumper will keep out wind chill, regulate your body temperature and the scientific qualities merino wool holds will assist in preventing perspiration and odour retention.

The Thames Brushed Lambswool Scarf in Navy and the Calder Lambswool Beanie Hat in Oxford Blue finishes off the look perfectly and guarantees comfort.


Men's British Wool Shooting Jumper and Extra Fine Merino Polo Neck Sweater

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.

Men's British Wool Aran Knit Jumpers

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.

Traditional British Wool Aran Cable Knit Sweaters

Available in Ecru, Denim and Charcoal, all colours will offer the wearer a heavy duty, expertly crafted jumper, steeped in heritage.

Our Factory Store

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like

View all
Father Day Gift Ideas