There’s no point in wearing a traditional Icelandic jumper unless you can say, “What, this old thing? Oh, my genuine Icelandic grandmother knitted it for me years ago. Of course, I’ve had it since before they were in fashion.”
It may look like an unwanted Christmas gift to your foreign eye, but here in Iceland the woolly jumper — call it “lopapeysa,” for extra cool points — has made a popular comeback.
Once worn simply for keeping warm in the Icelandic wilderness (see completely authentic accompanying photo), these days you’re just as likely to see the Icelandic jumper on one of those hipsters in one of those hipster bars downtown.
Iceland prides itself on its woolly products — all made from the best sheep in the world — and lopapeysur can be bought in any of Reykjavík’s many tourist shops at anything between 7,000 and 14,000 krónur (€100 to 200) each.
Oh, you may think you don’t want one now. But when you get here and see how hot we all look in them you’ll soon change your mind.
Of course, no cool points will be awarded for walking into a shop and shelling out your cash. Either you learn to knit for yourself or you find a genuine Icelandic grandmother to make one for you.
Be warned though, most will already be busy knitting for their long line of genuine Icelandic granddaughters, who’ve all begged for snug-fitting, boob-flattering designs in time for Christmas (see the pair to the right).
So perhaps your best bet is to buy one from a shop after all, and roll around in the mud in it until it looks like you’ve spent every autumn rounding up the sheep since you were seven.
Learn to knit yourself with an Icelandic pattern book, trawl the phone directory for an Icelandic granny, or cheat and call into the Handknitter Association of Iceland at Skólavörðustígur 19 for probably the best selection of lopapeysur in Reykjavík.