A Tale of Two Fair Isles

Last year around this time, I wrote a critical take on a taffeta skirt versus a silk skirt. Both were tartan and rather adorable, but at the same price point, one clearly was of higher quality than the other.

With a fabric content of polyester, I argued against purchasing the skirt on the left. Conversely, not only did I recommend the skirt on the right as a better quality item, but I bought it, and wore it repeatedly during the season.

I felt deja vu after I spotted two seemingly similar fair isle sweaters, this time from the same retailer. Similar color palettes of the neutral variety, both featuring fair isle, and comparable price points. But record scratch: the fabric content is very different.

The sweater on the right is primarily made of polyamide, with wool, alpaca, and elastane. On the other hand, the sweater on the right is one hundred percent lambswool, and only twenty dollars more expensive. That is relative to the hundred plus dollar price tag of each sweater.

The brand’s golden era was arguably the 1990s. The sweater on the right would have been at home in the 1998 catalog. I likely even dog eared the page that featured a comparable sweater! Back then natural fibers were de rigueur. Wool, cotton, silk, linen, we did not know how great we had it before the poly blend domination of recent years. Unless it is athleisure, I will take a pass and you should too.

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