Recently, Hull, my glorious home town, was awarded the City Of Culture 2017. Laugh, sneer or applaud; I couldn’t care less. Whilst dwelling on this new accolade, inspiration for a FashionBeans feature came thick and fast as I looked into Hull’s fine heritage.

As a once booming port, I was reminded of a gentleman that harked back to this golden age – an age where a man would face the high seas, overcome the fickle force of nature and bang a headboard into oblivion during shore leave – the humble fisherman.

The hunter gatherer and outdoor expeditionary are both strong looks this season and the heritage fisherman is undoubtedly of the same ilk.

Timeless, traditional and sharp (three words that are always welcomed by FashionBeans), feel free to mix and match the rural aesthetic to your heart’s content. Simple masculinity has never been so attainable and the choices are endless.

Key Piece: The Fisherman/Cable Knit

Undoubtedly the quintessential piece of the fisherman, cable knit jumpers and cardigans are not only on trend but ooze character and charm too. Thankfully, my grandma is quite the boss at whipping up a cable special but if you want one fast, there are an abundance of choices at both high street and designer price points. With such variation available, there’s more than one route to sartorial success.

Keeping things timeless and traditional is always a good move. Regular fits, standard cable pattering and muted colours (think ecru, grey and navy) are every inch the classic trawlerman and make for a relaxed yet composed winter look.

Don’t worry too much about introducing a shirt either. Plenty of dock workers in the 1930s went without, but a plain Oxford version could provide an understated edge with the collar tucked neatly away. Exercise caution with your layers though – cable knits are notoriously itchy so opt for something underneath with enough thickness to protect. Nobody wants to be scratching and uncomfortable all day.

If you prefer a more contemporary slant on classic apparel, never fear – there’s a further style avenue to explore. Bold, rich shades of burgundy, emerald green and orange all provide an injection of welcome winter colour in a sea of grey, and to make things even better, they’re all currently huge trends.

Opting for a larger size or slouchy cut can also help create an interesting silhouette and maximise comfort. Personally, I’m a huge fan of an oversized burnt orange knit and black skinny jeans combination. Easy, vibrant and original – what’s not to love?

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Cable and Fisherman Knit Jumpers and Cardigans Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango winter 2013primark aw13h&m winter 2012new look aw13Alan Paine aw13h&m aw12burton aw12primark aw13
Key Pieces
  • Selected Jumper In Cable KnitSelected Jumper In Cable Knit
  • Asos Cable JumperAsos Cable Jumper
  • Suit Philip Cable Knit Sweater In GreenSuit Philip Cable Knit Sweater In Green
  • Selected Fisherman JumperSelected Fisherman Jumper
  • Cheap Monday JumperCheap Monday Jumper
  • Indigo & Maine Fisherman Jumper In NavyIndigo & Maine Fisherman Jumper In Navy
  • Reiss Chesterfield Heavyweight Cable Crew Knit Russian BlueReiss Chesterfield Heavyweight Cable Crew Knit Russian Blue
  • Topman Orange Cable Front JumperTopman Orange Cable Front Jumper
  • He By Mango Cable-knit Cashmere SweaterHe By Mango Cable-knit Cashmere Sweater
  • He By Mango Cable-knit Wool CardiganHe By Mango Cable-knit Wool Cardigan
  • River Island Burgundy Cable Knit V Neck CardiganRiver Island Burgundy Cable Knit V Neck Cardigan
  • J.crew Cable-knit Wool-blend Shawl Collar CardiganJ.crew Cable-knit Wool-blend Shawl Collar Cardigan
The Jacket
Pea Coats

The double-breasted pea coat is a perfect choice for the quintessential high seas look. Although its heritage is linked to the Navy rather than the fisherman, it’s still a classic design and the epitome of masculinity.

Spending a bit more on some strong winter armour is most definitely worth it: the silhouette has been a menswear staple for decades and if you focus on craftsmanship it’ll last season after season, ensuring you get your money’s worth.

Whether you button up or wear open, nothing shouts fisherman more than an oversized lapel and wool blend fabric. The devil really is in the detail, too: plenty of buttons and accents on current designs make reference to the ocean with embossed anchors, fisherman knots and seashells – giving off a nautical feel without needing to resort to ‘obvious’ Breton stripes.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Pea Coats Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

Henri Lloyd aw11Fashionbeans man september 2011David Oakes For Mr Porter 2011he by mango aw12drykorn aw12house of fraser aw13drykorn aw13edwin aw13river island aw12
Key Pieces
  • United Colors Of Benetton Pea CoatUnited Colors Of Benetton Pea Coat
  • Solid Pea CoatSolid Pea Coat
  • Allsaints Akan Pea CoatAllsaints Akan Pea Coat
  • J.crew Quilted Wool PeacoatJ.crew Quilted Wool Peacoat
  • Reiss Emperor Wool Blend Pea Coat NavyReiss Emperor Wool Blend Pea Coat Navy
  • River Island Stone Smart Pea CoatRiver Island Stone Smart Pea Coat
  • Topman Black Wool Borg Pea CoatTopman Black Wool Borg Pea Coat
  • He By Mango Wool-blend PeacoatHe By Mango Wool-blend Peacoat
  • Ovadia & Sons Wool-blend PeacoatOvadia & Sons Wool-blend Peacoat
Waterproof/Sailing Jackets

A more contemporary approach to outerwear is also more than applicable. Outdoor specialists such as Berghaus, Musto and Henri Lloyd all produce technical, waterproof jackets that blend classic design with high performance to strike the perfect balance between fashion and function. Win win.

Another benefit is the colours available; unlike the pea coat, outdoor/sailing jackets come in bold shades like orange, blue, yellow and green, enabling you to make a real statement and separate your look from the crowd.

For too long, us gents have mirrored dreary weather with even drearier shades but things are about to change – read our guide to incorporating winter colours and embrace it this season.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Waterproof/Sailing Jacket Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

burton aw12lee 101 ss12Esemplare aw13minimum autumn 2012farah aw13house of fraser aw12unknownselected jeans aw13Henri Lloyd aw13
Key Pieces
  • Suit Sinius Technical Jacket In BurgundySuit Sinius Technical Jacket In Burgundy
  • Rains Waterproof Rain Jacket In NavyRains Waterproof Rain Jacket In Navy
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Deck JacketPolo Ralph Lauren Deck Jacket
  • Fjallraven Greenland Winter JacketFjallraven Greenland Winter Jacket
  • Penfield Clarkdale Shell Jacket In PetrolPenfield Clarkdale Shell Jacket In Petrol
  • Topman Dark Green Hooded JacketTopman Dark Green Hooded Jacket
  • Henri Lloyd Durham JacketHenri Lloyd Durham Jacket
  • Henri Lloyd Atlas JacketHenri Lloyd Atlas Jacket
  • Topman Selected Homme Hooded JacketTopman Selected Homme Hooded Jacket
Key Colours

During winter, it’s far too easy to settle into an ocean of monochrome – inoffensive greys, stalwart navy and neutral (but incredibly predictable) browns. This is one of the biggest strengths of the fisherman aesthetic; bold primary hues can complement even the blandest of looks and injecting a pop of colour is a sure-fire way to sartorial success.

Bright yellow is the most obvious hue to consider and in many opinions, the strongest. Bold enough to overpower mustard and lemon yet nowhere near the realm of fluoro (not now, not then, not ever) – a warm hue is perfect in every way.

Integrating a primary-coloured cable knit within a relatively low-key outfit is the most effortless way to make a statement, yet traditional winter layering – a bold t-shirt under a shirt under a knit – offers a more subtle approach.

If colour isn’t your thing, a small accent via buttons or accessories can add a point of interest and touch of individuality to an otherwise plain ensemble.

In terms of palette, consider shades like Azure, turquoise and emerald – the vivid colours of the ocean are all more than applicable.

Finishing Touches
Fitted Beanies

This really is a no-brainer – the fitted beanie is intrinsic to the fisherman aesthetic and, indeed, a direct result of its prominence.

A fold-over base and waffle knit design adds texture without going overboard. Loose-fitting ‘Noddy does fresher’s week’ oversized slouch hats aren’t (and never were) considered examples of good style.

However, once again there’s much flexibility when it comes to colour, so feel free to experiment.


Fingerless gloves offer hand protection and still let you smoke/use a smartphone/zip stuff easily, so rest assured: all your First World problems will remain at bay.

When it comes to colour, though, neutral is usually the only acceptable choice. Unlike other fisherman-friendly pieces, bright shades can often jar and appear slightly clown-like.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Fitted Beanies and Fingerless Gloves Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango winter 2013house of fraser aw13river island aw10h&muniforms of the dedicatedlevis made crafted aw12Todd Snyder aw12primark winter 2013Woolrich John Rich & Bros aw13
Key Pieces
  • River Island Fingerless GlovesRiver Island Fingerless Gloves
  • Jack & Jones Victor Fingerless GlovesJack & Jones Victor Fingerless Gloves
  • River Island Black Knitted Fingerless GlovesRiver Island Black Knitted Fingerless Gloves
  • New Look Fingerless GlovesNew Look Fingerless Gloves
  • Esprit Fingerless GlovesEsprit Fingerless Gloves
  • Allsaints Wreck GlovesAllsaints Wreck Gloves
  • J.crew Ribbed Cashmere Beanie HatJ.crew Ribbed Cashmere Beanie Hat
  • Slub Watchman Beanie Hat In RustSlub Watchman Beanie Hat In Rust
  • Asos Docker BeanieAsos Docker Beanie
  • Topman Green Lambswool BeanieTopman Green Lambswool Beanie
  • Topman Mustard Lambswool BeanieTopman Mustard Lambswool Beanie
  • Asos Fisherman Beanie HatAsos Fisherman Beanie Hat

In terms of footwear, siped and rubber-tread boots were perfect for slippery trawler decks and are now perfect for AW13, where they will ensure you remain sure-footed, no matter what the weather.

Key styles to look out for this year include worker, hiking and Chelsea silhouettes – or hybrids of all three. A decent pair will set you back on the finance front but if you opt for high quality craftsmanship and premium leather construction they will last for many winters to come and represent a solid investment:

  • River Island Dark Grey Low Worker BootsRiver Island Dark Grey Low Worker Boots
  • Topman Beige Suede Heavy Cleated BootsTopman Beige Suede Heavy Cleated Boots
  • Soulland Brogue Chelsea BootsSoulland Brogue Chelsea Boots
  • Topman Brown Leather Hiker Cleated BootsTopman Brown Leather Hiker Cleated Boots
  • Topman Black Lace Up Work BootsTopman Black Lace Up Work Boots
  • Lacoste Sauville Mid Boots In BrownLacoste Sauville Mid Boots In Brown
  • Pointer Caine Oiled Leather Boots In BrownPointer Caine Oiled Leather Boots In Brown
  • Red Wing Shoes Rubber-soled Leather BootsRed Wing Shoes Rubber-soled Leather Boots
  • Red Wing Shoes Chukka Rubber-soled Leather BootsRed Wing Shoes Chukka Rubber-soled Leather Boots
Final Word

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to dressing like the quintessential fisherman. Cable knits and quality wool blends are key, but as returning seasonal frontrunners, you’ll be able to source the perfect piece.

Combine this with modern colour and it’s the height of rugged outdoor masculinity, fit to sail the Seven Sartorial Seas. You might not have hauled a net full of halibut, but at least you can look the part (minus the overwhelming stench).

So, what do you think to our fisherman-inspired pieces and looks? Are there any other topics/areas of interest you would like to see us draw style inspiration from in the future?

Let us know in the comments section below…