With cooler weather comes sweater season. It’s time for fun, chunky knits that keep you cozy and stylishly warm. A high-quality sweater that fits your body shape properly can be one of the most flattering garments a man can wear. Not to mention they’re incredibly functional and break up the monotonous daily attire by adding a little extra color and texture to your wardrobe.
The Art of Manliness points out key sweater fabrics to consider before purchasing one. When choosing, it’s a matter of cost, long-term investment, functionality, and personal preference:
Cashmere: Cashmere sweaters are considered the “gold standard” of sweaters. A sweater made of pure cashmere can cost several hundred dollars, due to the scarcity of the long, downy Kashmir goat hair, from which the fabric got it’s name. It’s warm and light, and is a substantial investment — and well worth it.
Wool: This common sweater fabric is an oldie but goodie when it comes to function and look.
Cotton: Sweaters made from cotton fabric are not as warm as cashmere and wool, as their cellulose foundation sheds heat faster.
Synthetic Fabric: Most of the sweaters you purchase from your favorite retail shops are made of synthetic fabrics. This fabric helps drive down the cost of a sweater, mimicking wool or cotton properties. The upside to purchasing synthetic is that it often comes without special instructions for washing and handling.
Blended Fabric: This is a mix of different fabrics; you’ll see them listed on the inside label of your sweaters.
When getting ready to purchase your cardigan, RealMenRealStyle says that the biggest quality to look for is the fit: It should not be too tight against the skin. A good cardigan should have a soft drape at the shoulders yet hang low enough that it covers your belt when you button it up. Make sure to look for modest buttons (nothing too large), wooden toggles, or a zipper. RealMenReal Style adds a few more notes on fit:
A quality cardigan for men should have a taper that flatters our bodies: narrowest under the rib cage, widening back out down by the hips to give your chest a little bit of a tapered shape. It won’t be the sharp, precise lines of a suit jacket, but it’ll be creating the same effect in softer and more casual style.
If you’re not into chunky knit pullovers, another fantastic and often overlooked option is the cardigan. They’re easy to layer and will keep you warm. Here are some of the best cardigan styles for the season.
1. Striped cardigan
Embrace the cardigan trend by trying this sporty striped style. For extreme comfort, try American Eagle’s Striped Shawl Cardigan made of 100% cotton.
2. Zippered cardigan
H&M’s dark gray Melange Cardigan is made of a mix of blended and synthetic fabrics, and utilizes a zipper to perfectly blend casual sophistication — without looking like a sweatshirt.
3. Heavy duty, knit cardigan
Try the cozy Wool & Cashmere Cable Knit Shawl Collar Cardigan by Polo Ralph Lauren to keep the cold at bay. Its small leather buttons finish off the sophisticated sweater.
4. The “ode to Mr. Rogers” cardigan
The Cotton-Cashmere Cardigan Sweater by J.Crew is a modern version of your favorite childhood character’s signature look, available in a variety of colors.