Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The L.L. Bean Norwegian Crewneck Sweater: Still Iconic?

From the Archives; I gave all of mine away.  Photo by Salt Water New England  

 

63 comments:

  1. Perhaps influenced by growing up in the '70s, but a resounding yes. Great looking and very warm. One of my favorites.

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  2. Maybe it was yours I just found second-hand 👀

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  3. No. As proof, I saw one in Iowa three years ago. I nearly fainted. Oh, the humanity! Can you imagine my disgust? That sweater used to be a free pass into any mixer at any women's college in the Northeast prior to 1985. Now you see them everywhere you go, especially places you wish you didn't have to go to in the first place.

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    1. Sorry but that is just geographically snobby. Contrary to what people elsewhere might think Iowans don't all wear seed corn caps and overalls. Electricity, tp and running water are even in existence there!

      I grew up in Iowa. And I may not live there anymore but it was a good place to grow up, with many people with values you'd find from readers of this blog.

      I have the L.L. Bean Norwegin sweater. I bought the version that was available as of a few years ago. It's great for cold weather (which you even find in-- gasp-- Iowa-- of all places!) and is a very versatile piece of my wardrobe. I like wearing mine with a brightly colored turtleneck underneath (such as pink or kelly green) for contrast and a bit of color on a cold and grey day.

      You can take the girl out of Iowa but you can't take the Iowa out of the girl!

      --EM

      --EM

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    2. Ha! Cirquitor, this is so reminiscent of Ferg from the old TDP days. Ferg was so clever. I wish Muffy would do a best of Ferg snark post. That would be funny.

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    3. Seeing a Norwegian sweater worn in an area heavily populated by Scandinavians?! The absolute horror!

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  4. One of the few things from L.L. Bean still worth buying. I just hope they keep making them in Norway. Pairs great with a Barbour Beaufort or Bedale!

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  5. @ Cirquitor -- I agree. Whenever I see someone wearing one out of Norway, I have to take deep breaths to not fly into a rage.

    Come on. People wear clothes all over. Just become someone in the midwest (gasp!!!) wears an LL Bean sweater, we all have to throw ours in the trash? That's some bona fide elitist nonsense.

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    1. Haha Just binned all my clothes because of this exact reason.

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    2. Dear Breather, thank you. I am grateful for your reference to elitist. It is what I am because, well, I am quite superior in every respect to all but a few. It's called breeding, taste, manners, and intellect. None of those can be bought. Like a sweater.

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    3. We're you born in the sweater? It sounds uncomfortable.

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    4. Nothing quite states manners and breeding like obvious smug superiority.

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    5. @ Cirquitor -- I assume the respect in which you are not superior is grammar? As for breeding, taste, manners, and intellect, you're proof that they can't simply be inherited, either. If you wearing it sets the standard for a sweater being "iconic," I'm incredibly thankful the Iowans have taken it from you.

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    6. I'd check the batteries in the old satire meter, my friend.

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  6. Of course it is still iconic. It is also an inherently fine sweater.

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  7. I live in mine during the long Lake Tahoe winters.

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  8. About 10 years ago. I wore mine to a weekday matinee performance (in the very upper balcony) of symphony center in Chicago. A very nice grandmotherly lady sitting behind me leaned forward to my ear and said, “I haven’t seen that sweater in years! Thank you for wearing it.” I said “Bates ‘85.” She laughed.

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  9. Yes. Yes. Yes. Warmest sweater I own. Classic as classic can be.

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  10. Love it. Cute photo of you, too!

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  11. Absolutely. Especially as worn by an icon herself. Both defy time.

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  12. Had my navy one on all day today as a matter of fact. I've had it 29 years (along with the same in cream and Charcoal).

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  13. I like the original wool and rayon ones. Mine from 1985 is good as new...

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    1. Yes, I agree with this. And they were not scratchy.

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    2. Agree, the old ones with rayon are the best. Long ago Muffy did a post on the differences and found the same thing.

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  14. I wore mine this week, over an old L.L. Bean turtleneck. Sure kept me warm!

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  15. Still iconic and still itchy.

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    1. Agreed! Iconic and itchy. I had a Bean's Norwegian crewneck in the early 1980's. It certainly kept me warm during the Colorado Winters of that time, but I paid the price by its acute itchy nature. I gave it to a friend when I moved to the Northwest.

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  16. You shouldn't have tossed it! This is a lovely picture and the Royal Stuart tartan scarf sets it off beautifully. Classic New England perfection!

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  17. I still have mine from 1986, and it's indestructible. Perfect for wearing in this odd winter, particularly under a Barbour.

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  18. I'm on the fence about this one. I had one in the 80s, when I was at uni. Used to be my favourite jumper because, being navy, it went with everything. Finally binned it many years later when I outgrew it and none of the nieces or nephews wanted it (their loss). Peregrine was selling a similar model this winter as part of their Alpine collection and I was very tempted, but that style no longer suits me and makes my body look quite boxy.

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  19. How sad that you gave yours away! Still have mine, and wear it frequently. So cosy! I think it’s a classic. Have lost track of how long I’ve had it...

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  20. Not as iconic as it used to be, but it's still a good sweater. I still have and occasionally wear mine. It's pretty scratchy, and sizing of the originals was interesting - sleeves are massively roomy. The new version Bean sells Strongly suggest looking at an original, Devold's Islender or Dale's Setesdal. Nicer wool, heavier knit, better fit, so warmer and not as scratchy. I wear the Devold a lot more than the Bean sweater.

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  21. Wearing mine at the moment. Agree that it pairs well with a Barbour jacket.

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  22. Classic, classic, classic. I still have one of my family's from the '80's. I used to think it was mine from middle/high school, but I realized my old skinny self could have lived in it back then (although it may be a trifle stretched out)....so I think it was my late father's. (Andrew, I found your comment about the sleeves interesting.) And almost every time I wear it, somebody says "I haven't seen one of those in ages!" With a big smile. And I live on the northern coast of Massachusetts! Although, I would wear mine regardless of whoever else was wearing them....

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    1. The old ones definitely stretch! I had a classmate in law school who wore his all winter long. It had completely lost its shape, not just in the sleeves. It probably needed a washing and re-blocking, things that students tend to ignore, assuming they even know about them!

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    2. Not in law school, but guilty as charged...

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  23. I don't give a hoot if it is still iconic or not. I hate being even the slightest bit cold, and these bad boys block every bit of chill. I have 2 from the early 80s and they may be a trifle worn but I still love them. (Full disclosure: I live in a hot climate, but that makes me very cold-intolerant.)

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  24. They have, and will stand the test if time! Thank you for all you do!

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  25. Still have two in heavy rotation

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  26. Wearing one of mine today as I work on a boat in the barn. This my oldest one, big elbow holes and few others. Perfect for painting and fiberglass in. It certainly dates back to 1970 or before. Not to worry, I have three more in my drawer. Each for a progressively more public wearing. The newest have to be more than ten years old. I bought two at that time as I was concerned that Bean’s would stop selling them.

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    1. bhammatt, I sewed some leather elbow patches on my husband's old favorite and it's still going strong! He refuses to give it up lest it become the source of resourced mittens!

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  27. Yes indeed! It's a great sweater and it's fun to receive the knowing look of recognition. I've had several over the years but never worn one out - they've been left on a sailboat, borrowed and not returned, outright stolen, and - in the most recent case - needed to be replaced due to shrinkage - mine! L.L. Bean was out of Men's medium following my weight loss so I bought a Women's large, and that works like a champ (in fact, it's almost big on me).

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  28. I have the original blue w/white checks, and a grey one with red checks. I wear them both frequently.

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  29. I, too, gave my original 1980s Norwegian Sweater away, and for several years went without. Then in the the 90s I suddenly decided to get another one. Big mistake. The new imposter 100% wool version I ordered from LL Bean turned out to be trash -- the cuffs and collar were sewn in massive wrinkles. I also think it was made in China to add insult to injury. Goodwill got that one.

    I now own three of the 1980s wool/rayon classics that I found on eBay for a pittance (size XL Tall). I recommend eBay -- you'll be surprised how many you'll find in all sizes with some being like new.

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  30. Dale of Norway's rival, Norlender, is selling a 'Svalbard Original Fisherman Sweater' for USD 200. All-wool. A couple of online UK sites sell the same for £150. Tempting, but I need yet another jumper like I need a hole in my head....

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  31. I have a circa 1970's ragg sweater in addition to my Norwegian in natural color. They still sort of fit.

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  32. I always get compliments when I wear mine. And head's up: according to my teenager, the 80's are back in style. So keep an eye on your wardrobe- you might find your teenager walking around in your clothes!

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  33. I have a new-ish one, that replaced an early eighties model that finally was more hole than sweater. The new one is just as good as the old. 100% wool and "made in Norway" on the tag. The only problem is that it's too warm for most days here in Toronto, so it's strictly for days when I know I'll be outside for hours in below-freezing temperatures.

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  34. GASP! Gave them away?! Heaven forfend...

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  35. I still have my 1987 sweater! It's a true favorite and has held up well.

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  36. I have the maroon version from L.L. Bean. Lightweight but warm, a favorite in my sweater collection.

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  37. Still iconic? Classic? YES! And a universal favorite. I agree with Mr. Riechardt that the new LLBs are inferior. The neck is unforgiving, rough and inflexible. I sent it back and returned to my very old one. I knitted my dog a matching version (navy w/white birds eye)and had enough yard left over for a tea cosy.
    Suzanne in Boulder

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    1. Do you take orders for dog sweaters?

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    2. Sure! What dog do you have? Size, weight, etc.
      Suzanne

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    3. @Suzanne - If you email me at editor@saltwaternewengland.com I will send you JCW's email address.

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  38. We have one we bought at a tag sale. We happened on the sale in a small No’west Conn town better known for drugs, guns, and alcohol. The mint 80/20 old style sweater cost $1.

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  39. I have a natural/grey cardigan with pewter clasps. I still like it a lot and it's very toasty, but don't wear it much as the clasps always come undone. I've always wanted to kind of solder* them closed!

    *I say 'solder' because I'm originally from England (although have been an American citizen for all of three weeks now. It only took me 24 years, but I digress!)

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  40. Thank you for referring Bosie on your site. I ordered several sweaters and mentioned how that I found them through you website!

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  41. I've never tried one, but they look warm and comfortable.

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  42. One more thing concerning the comment about seeing the Norwegian sweater worn in Iowa: It really shoudln't be a surprise to see something Norwegian or Norwegian-inspired there, because in that state, and even more so in a few neighboring states (such as Minnesota) a lot of the people have Norwegian roots, have travelled there, and may still have family contact there. For example my family still has contact to the part of the family that stayed back in the old country and lives on the land that our ancestors left in the mid-1800s. If you look at the phone book you will notice many last names with Scandinavian roots. In this part of the Midwest you will find Norwegian things in some grocery stores, Scandinavian gift shops, cultural institutions, events (church basement lutefisk dinners, for example), etc. And around such events one sees quite a bit of Scandinavian and Scandinavian-inspired knitwear. It's classic and wears for years.

    Sadly some of the Norwegian and other Scandinavian influences are dying out with the older generation (for example, my grandparents still spoke fluent Norwegian, although they were born in the USA, but my parents' generation does not.)

    --EM

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  43. I have work the one in the picture blue this whole winter. Excellent sweater. Love it.

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  44. I wear mine in Minnesota once the mercury approaches zero. I bought it the first year they re-sourced it from Norway. The fit is baggy in the torso, but dorky fit is part of the charm.

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