The leaves are changing. The temperature is dropping. The shorts are going away for a few months. Men’s winter fashion is right around the corner, and that means one thing for the fashion world: Sweaters.
Unfortunately, sweaters for men are a lot more complicated than we think. It’s not just about finding some ratty, grandpa-esque knitted sack.
There’s a lot that has to go into finding that perfect sweater. There’s also a lot of room for error.
So before you head down to Macy’s and blow your paycheck, take a step back and figure out exactly what you need.
Yes, a nice sweater can spice up any man’s outfit, but it can also make you look like a dud that still let’s their mom shop for them. Don’t be that dud. Let’s dive in.
When it comes to material, we’re mostly talking about warmth. Some materials hold up better than others, but a lot of that is due to the manufacturing and how well you take care of it.
A good cotton sweater can last just as long as a cashmere. You may occasionally meet a snob that cares that you’re wearing an “inferior material, but 9 times out of 10 you can just match it to the weather and be just fine.
Cotton – It’s cheap, it’s light, and it will last for ages. A quality cotton sweater is timeless. However, if you live in colder climates, it might not cut it. It’s great for layering, but sometimes you just want to throw on a sweater and light jacket. With most cotton sweaters, that’s not going to be an option come January.
Merino Wool – Once you get into wool, you have a thousand different subsets. We’ll stick to the main ones. Merino is great for everyday wear. It’s warmer than cotton, and not as pricey as some of the other wools. And luckily, merino sweaters for men are not in short supply. You can go to Target and pick up a decent one for a last minute outfit.
Donegal Wool – When you see those thick fair isle sweaters, or anything you might expect to be worn by a boat captain, chances are it’s donegal wool. It’s heavy, warm, and generally has that lovely marled or speckled pattern. They are a little more casual than others, but they’re great to have on deck.
Cashmere – This is the crème de la crème. The most elegant (and expensive) sweater material on the market. It’s soft, it’s warm, and it looks fantastic. Just remember that with great wool comes great responsibility. You can’t just chuck this in the washer and hope for the best.
The Best Sweater For Men
Certain styles come and go, and sweaters for men are no different. One year v-necks will be in, the next they’re a taboo. But as with all trends, you should think more of the scenario than what’s peak fashion.
So to really understand what styles you need in your wardrobe, you need to understand exactly what situations you can (or should) wear them in.
This is your basic, and every closet needs one. With a t-shirt underneath, you can wear it to a football game. With a dress shirt, you can make it through just about any holiday party, except the most formal.
It’s important to note that this does NOT include crewneck sweatshirts. Trying to pass off a sweatshirt as something classy is a rookie mistake.
On the other end, you have the cable-knit. This is debatably the most cozy option. Wear it by itself to keep warm and look chic at the same time.
Unfortunately, they’re much harder to dress down. Without a tie, your neckline is going to look a little empty, and don’t even think about trying to pull off a t-shirt underneath. Save these for when you need to impress someone.
This rides the middle line. A cardigan, especially a thick shawl collar one, gives off a very intellectual vibe. However, the professor look really only fits in at a semi-formal event.
You won’t see many cardigans at a charity ball, or at the sports bar. They’ve been making some recent gains for the sharp dresser in the casual world, but be careful. If the rest of your outfit leans too far in one direction, it’ll throw everything off.
Winter is a glorious time of year. Somehow, everyone looks their best when they’re bundling up. The cozy and comfortable vibes of the typical wardrobe plays no small part in that. This winter, up your sweater game.
Experiment with patterns, accessories, and layering to match them to your style. Stay warm this year, but make it fashionable.