The anatomy of a spring Aran sweater outfit
The not-so-hidden gem of Ireland, commonly known as the Aran sweater has been gaining more and more popularity in recent years, to the point where it is a must have, not only for the cold season, but all year round. What was once a staple of culture only recognized by the Irish people became a world-wide fashion statement. The Aran sweater is not only made of luxurious wool, but it also embodies a rich history and culture, having a truly fascinating route from its creation to its emancipation.
As life on the Irish West coast used to be more than though during the 19th century, with unforgiving winters, especially for those working in severe conditions, it is understandable why the fishermen who were working for the small community on the Aran Islands needed some robust and durable clothing to keep them warm and protected from the ice cold water and wind. The local women heard their needs and started knitting these special sweaters made of wool, which were not only warm, but water repellent. In time, the sweaters of the Aran people started taking shape, as times evolved and people’s eyes gained the need for beauty - the women were creating various stitch patterns, each one with a symbolism behind. Each pattern had its own story and was a piece in the puzzle of the life of the islanders. The most popular ones are: the cable, shaped like a fishing net; the honeycomb, a wish for the sweet rewards of success; the blackberry, the connection with nature, the basket, for a good catch and the tree of life, a Celtic symbol for the philosophy of life.
Shepherding was one of the other most common occupations of the islanders, so wool was easily accessible and just perfect for knitting. The Aran sweaters are made of Merino Wool, which comes from Merino sheep. Unlike regular wool, it is not itchy, but very soft to the touch, warm with a moisture kicking breathability. The Merino wool is what makes the Aran sweater so versatile, as it can be worn during any season, either in cold fall or winter days or even in crisp summer and spring days, due to how breathable it is.
The Aran sweaters carry the story of a community that evolved together and, in the same way, the sweater itself evolved, from a small fishing island, to becoming a fashion phenomenon and to being accessible to everyone, everywhere in the world nowadays. At Tara’s Irish Clothing you can find modern reinterpretations of the traditional knitting craft that include cardigans, hats, shawls, ponchos and even bags - it’s impossible not to find the perfect piece for you.
We concluded why the Aran sweater cannot be missed from anyone’s closet and how it is such an accessible clothing item nowadays, but what are the best ways to style it, especially now, as spring is approaching? Let us guide you through the tricks of achieving the perfectly spring tailored look, in the Irish style!
In all its complex essence, from history to symbolism, the fisherman sweater is, in fact, a piece of simple elegance. You cannot go wrong with it and it can be combined with a large variety of bottoms. It all depends on your preferences and the style you’re going for.
The anatomy of a perfect casual look is simple, consisting of the Irish sweater and a pair of comfortable pants (jeans look great in such assortments). This combination can be either dressed up or down, according to the pair of shoes you choose to add and the overall accessories. For the ladies, a side zipper Aran sweater jacket will look gorgeous in combination with a skirt or dress and it can be both comfortable and chic! For a business or smart look, elegant trousers can be added to create the perfect outfit for a day at the desk.
Regarding colors, according to the style you’re going for, both neutral shades and colorful bottoms can be added. Patterns are your friends for when you desire to get outside the basics.
A very big trend in recent fashion and a life save during the cold season, layering is both practical and stylish. A layered outfit is more dynamic, with extra textures creating shape. The best part is that you can go creative with it!
The classics are already well-known: layering your crew neck Irish knit jumper with a shirt or turtleneck underneath are timeless looks with unmatched comfort. If you want to take a step out of the ordinary and spice up your outfits, layering a sweater over another one is the way to impress. This combination will allow you to try something new and play with colors, materials and patterns. As in modern fashion the Aran sweater comes in many shapes and forms, you can try combining a sweater with a knitted cardigan, vest, poncho or turtleneck. It may sound unusual, but you’ll be impressed at how two styles of sweater can beautifully blend together and, besides that, you won’t have to worry about being cold all day long.
Usually the main layer of the outfit is, of course, the outwear or jacket of choice. Aran sweaters can be added in charming combinations with wool, leather or puffer jackets. Scarves are, as well, a complementary layer that can be just what you need - in both terms of style and staying warm. The options are endless!
The final step, but perhaps the most important one, is accessorizing the outfit. Accessories are a step that cannot be skipped, as they add dimension and can completely change the look. Most of the time, a watch, belt or jewelry is the missing piece of the puzzle.
For a charming feminine look, the casual outfit can be accessorized with just a bag. A ladies cross-body tweed bag works best for practicality and leather is the safest choice. But if you want to impress, add a knitted bag, which will create an out-of-the-ordinary, but uniform look with your sweater.
When it comes to jewelry, for keeping it casual, a subtle necklace, bracelet, watch or pair of earrings is enough. For more elegant approaches, it can be kept simple or with a twist that will steal all the looks - such as bigger earrings or layered multiple necklaces. For the gentlemen, a belt, chosen according to the style of the look, will make the outfit look more put together. Jewelry can be used as well: you can never go wrong with a watch, casual or more elegant. Rings are always a beautiful detail, very in vogue right now too.
Complex, yet simple, the Aran sweater has a beauty of its own that cannot be compared to anything else in the fashion world. Maybe it’s the representation of Irish heritage that makes it so unique.
At Tara you’ll find a large variety of Aran sweaters, in all shapes, colors and sizes so you can create the perfect outfit for every occasion. Follow our tips when in need for inspiration and enjoy Irish fashion at its finest!