When Were Argyle Sweaters Popular?

When Were Argyle Sweaters Popular?

Argyle sweaters, with their distinctive diamond pattern, have been a beloved fashion staple for decades. But when exactly were they at the height of their popularity? The answer might surprise you.

Originally popularized in Scotland in the 17th century, argyle patterns found their way into sweaters during the mid-20th century. However, it wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s that argyle sweaters truly became a fashion phenomenon. During this time, they were seen as a symbol of preppy style and were often worn by prominent figures, such as President John F. Kennedy.



When Were Argyle Sweaters Popular?

The Rise of Argyle Sweaters in Fashion

When it comes to classic knitwear, the argyle sweater has long been a staple in fashion. With its signature diamond-shaped pattern, this timeless garment has captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts for decades. Argyle sweaters have seen their fair share of popularity throughout history, but it was during the mid-20th century that they truly became a fashion phenomenon. Let's delve into the iconic moments and trends that made argyle sweaters popular.

The Origin of Argyle Patterns

The history of argyle patterns can be traced back to Scotland, where it all began. The pattern's name comes from the tartan of Clan Campbell of Argyll, a region in western Scotland. It was traditionally worn as a symbol of clan allegiance. The distinctive diamond pattern with overlapping diagonal lines quickly caught the attention of textile manufacturers, and it soon found its way into the realm of fashion.

In the early 20th century, argyle patterns started to appear on socks. They were primarily worn by golfers and became synonymous with the sport. The popularity of argyle socks spread beyond the golf course, and soon, the pattern evolved to be incorporated into other garments, including sweaters.

Argyle sweaters gained traction in the 1950s as part of the preppy fashion trend. Preppy style emerged as a symbol of affluence and sophistication among Ivy League students and the upper class. These sweaters, with their refined diamond patterns, became an essential part of the preppy wardrobe and embodied the ideals of classic fashion.

Argyle Sweaters and Pop Culture

During the 1960s and 1970s, argyle sweaters became popularized in mainstream media and were embraced by various subcultures. The rise of mod fashion and the British invasion brought argyle patterns into the limelight. Iconic figures such as The Beatles and Twiggy showcased argyle sweaters as a fashionable choice, permeating popular culture and influencing fashion trends of the time.

Argyle sweaters also found their place in the world of sports during this time. Golfers continued to don argyle sweaters on the course, while tennis players began incorporating them into their attire as well. This further popularized the garment and solidified its association with both sports and leisure.

In the 1980s, argyle sweaters had a modern revival as part of the preppy fashion resurgence. With the success of movies like "The Official Preppy Handbook," preppy style experienced a renewed popularity, bringing argyle patterns back into the fashion forefront. The distinctive diamond patterns were seen in both traditional knitwear and more contemporary designs, catering to a wide range of fashion tastes.

Argyle Sweaters in Contemporary Fashion

Today, argyle sweaters continue to be a versatile and fashionable choice. They have transcended their preppy roots and can be found in various styles, colors, and fabrics. High-end designers and fast-fashion brands alike incorporate the argyle pattern into their collections season after season, showcasing its timeless appeal.

Moreover, the rise of vintage and retro fashion trends has contributed to the ongoing popularity of argyle sweaters. Fashion enthusiasts are drawn to these classic patterns that evoke a sense of nostalgia and effortless style. The versatility of argyle sweaters allows them to be dressed up or down, making them a popular choice for both casual and formal occasions.

Additionally, argyle patterns have made their way into other fashion accessories. From handbags to socks to scarves, the timeless charm of argyle has expanded beyond sweaters, allowing individuals to incorporate the pattern into their personal style in various ways.

The Cultural Impact of Argyle Sweaters

Aside from their fashion significance, argyle sweaters have left a lasting cultural impact. When people think of argyle patterns, they often conjure images of traditional elegance, sophistication, and a touch of vintage charm. The association between argyle and certain periods in fashion history speaks to the power of this pattern to evoke nostalgia and serve as a visual signifier of style.

Argyle sweaters have also become a symbol of inclusivity. The pattern's visually striking design and versatility have allowed it to transcend gender norms and become a unisex fashion choice. Both men and women can effortlessly incorporate argyle into their wardrobes, embracing its timeless allure.

Furthermore, argyle patterns have been adopted by various subcultures over time, reflecting their ability to adapt and evolve with changing fashion trends. From the preppy movement of the mid-20th century to the mod subculture of the 1960s and the contemporary fashion scene, argyle has retained its relevance and versatility.

In conclusion, argyle sweaters have experienced waves of popularity throughout history. From their origins in Scotland to their association with preppy style and their appearances in pop culture, these sweaters have stood the test of time. Today, argyle continues to be a fashion favorite, embodying the perfect blend of tradition and modernity.


When Were Argyle Sweaters Popular?

Timeline of Argyle Sweater Popularity

Argyle sweaters first gained popularity in the early 1920s. The diamond-shaped pattern originated in Scotland and quickly became popular among the upper class in the United Kingdom. The style then spread across the Atlantic to the United States in the 1950s, making its way into mainstream fashion.

During the 1980s, argyle sweaters experienced a significant resurgence in popularity. This was partly due to the preppy fashion trend that was popularized by brands like Ralph Lauren. Argyle sweaters were seen as a symbol of sophistication and class, often worn with collared shirts and blazers.

In recent years, argyle sweaters have become more casual and versatile. They are now worn with jeans or paired with skirts and dresses for a more feminine look. The pattern has also expanded beyond traditional colors like navy, burgundy, and green, with designers experimenting with bold and vibrant color combinations.


Key Takeaways:

  • Argyle sweaters were popular in the 1920s and regained popularity in the 1980s.
  • They are known for their diamond-shaped patterns and vibrant colors.
  • Argyle sweaters have been worn by both men and women as a fashion statement.
  • They are often associated with preppy and golfing attire.
  • Argyle sweaters continue to be a timeless fashion staple.

Frequently Asked Questions

Argyle sweaters have been a classic fashion staple for many years. Here are some common questions about the popularity of argyle sweaters.

1. Were argyle sweaters popular in the 1980s?

Yes, argyle sweaters were incredibly popular in the 1980s. The distinctive diamond pattern design became synonymous with preppy fashion during this decade and was worn by both men and women. Celebrities like Princess Diana and Michael Jackson were often seen sporting argyle sweaters, further solidifying their popularity.

The rise in popularity of argyle sweaters in the 1980s can be attributed to the overall preppy fashion trend that dominated the era. These sweaters were often paired with button-down shirts, pleated skirts, and loafers to create a polished and sophisticated look.

2. When did argyle sweaters first gain popularity?

Argyle sweaters first gained popularity in the 1920s. The pattern originated in Scotland and was traditionally worn by golfers as part of their attire. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that argyle sweaters started to make their way into mainstream fashion.

During this time, the Jazz Age was in full swing, and there was a desire for more vibrant and eye-catching fashion. The geometric diamond pattern of argyle sweaters provided a stylish and modern look that appealed to the fashion-forward individuals of the era.

3. Did argyle sweaters remain popular throughout the 20th century?

While argyle sweaters experienced peaks and valleys in popularity throughout the 20th century, they remained a timeless classic. The 1920s and 1980s were particularly iconic decades for argyle sweaters, but they also had moments of resurgence in the 1950s and 1990s.

Argyle sweaters continue to be embraced by fashion enthusiasts today and are often seen as a versatile and sophisticated wardrobe staple.

4. Are argyle sweaters still popular today?

Yes, argyle sweaters still maintain their popularity today. They have become a timeless classic that transcends trends and remains a fashionable choice for both men and women. Argyle sweaters can be found in various styles and colors, offering versatility and the opportunity for individual expression.

Many fashion brands and designers continue to feature argyle patterns in their collections, ensuring the timeless appeal of these sweaters.

5. Can argyle sweaters be worn casually or only for formal occasions?

Argyle sweaters can be worn both casually and for formal occasions. They are a versatile piece of clothing that can be dressed up or down depending on the styling and accessories.

For a casual look, argyle sweaters can be paired with jeans or chinos and sneakers or loafers. For a more formal ensemble, they can be worn with dress pants or skirts and paired with dress shoes or heels. The key is to choose the right color and style of argyle sweater to match the occasion and personal style.



In conclusion, Argyle sweaters became popular during the mid-20th century, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. This classic pattern, characterized by diamond-shaped design and vibrant colors, gained popularity as a fashionable choice for both men and women.

Argyle sweaters were often associated with preppy fashion and were commonly worn on college campuses. However, they eventually transcended their initial popularity and became a timeless wardrobe staple that is still enjoyed by many today.


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