The Best Sweater to Wear to Your Next Holiday Party

Heading to a holiday party (or 10) in the next few weeks? Then chances are good that you’ve already realized there’s nothing easier to wear than a sweater for such occasions. But the kind of sweater that you wear for a holiday party is a more difficult question to answer. What’s your style? What’s the vibe of the event? And how comfortable are you, really, with wearing one of those ugly Christmas sweaters you always threaten to purchase?

If you aren’t sure what style of sweater is best for you, don’t worry. We have sweater suggestions for five different kinds of guys, with unique styles and winter sensibilities. Regardless of whether you generally like your sweaters preppy or silly, if you love color or want to stick to gray, or if you like patterns or feel more like yourself in solids, we have the perfect holiday sweater for you.

For the traditionalist

Fair Isle sweaters for holiday parties

Source: Brooks Brothers and Mr Porter

For the guy with a traditional sense of style, or preppy sensibilities, a classic patterned sweater is the way to go. Around the holidays, there’s no motif more classic than the Fair Isle sweater, a style that originated with artisans on Fair Isle, a small island in the north of Scotland, in the Shetland Islands. Modern variations on the style are as popular and wide-ranging as you might imagine, though some of our favorites this year include the stylish Fair Isle sweater in Brooks Brothers’ Red Fleece collection, J.Crew’s gray and white take on the idea, and Gant’s red and blue version. Or, if a true Fair Isle sweater isn’t your style, consider another intarsia-knitted sweater, like Ralph Lauren’s reindeer-patterned style or a modern play on the holiday sweater by Beams Plus.

For the minimalist

Red sweaters and cable knit sweaters for holiday parties

Source: Mr Porter and Brooks Brothers

Some guys don’t depart from a strict palette of navy blue, gray, black, and white for most of their outfits. If that sounds like you, then rest assured that you don’t have to stray too far outside your comfort zone to look appropriately festive for that upcoming holiday soiree. For you, a solid sweater in a bright color or a wintry texture is about as festive as it’s going to get. If you’re willing to add a little bit of color to your ensemble, a classic red sweater is a great way to go. Consider A.P.C.’s wool and cashmere sweater in a rich, but not bright, red, or Zanone’s V-neck sweater for easy layering over a button-front shirt. If you can’t stomach adding a bright color to your wardrobe, consider going with a holiday-friendly texture, like a cable knit, instead. A couple of excellent options include an Aran cable knit sweater from Brooks Brothers or Schott’s fisherman sweater with heftier cabling.

For the urban menswear enthusiast

Patterened gray sweaters for holiday parties

Source: Mr Porter and Neiman Marcus

If you live in a city where black is the overwhelming color of choice as soon as September turns into October, then you might not want to stray too far from a black-and-white palette. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment with pattern when choosing a sweater to wear to your next holiday party. Go with a gray sweater sporting a pattern inspired by traditional Icelandic sweaters, like Club Monaco’s gorgeous version or Gant Rugger’s festive chevron-patterned sweater. If subtler patterns are more your style, consider Vince’s ombre diamond sweater or even Billy Reid’s gray color block sweater.

For the guy with a sense of humor

Ugly Christmas sweaters for holiday parties

Source: Target and Nordstrom

If you’re set on always finding something to laugh about during the season of awkward dinners and conversations with acquaintances you only see once a year, then the ugly Christmas sweater is the way to go. Luckily, you have a practically endless array of options to choose among if this is your party-dressing strategy of choice. Consider a silly (and budget-friendly) style like Target’s skiing T-Rex sweater, a dizzying reindeer sweaterTopman’s snowman sweaterAlex Stevens’ 8-bit Santa sweater, or one with Santa hat-wearing emojis all over. If a sweater that references a favorite movie or movie character is more your style, go with a Star Wars holiday sweater, a Mickey Mouse Christmas sweater, or a sweater with the perennial favorite Home Alone quote, “Merry Christmas ya filthy animal.”

For the outdoorsman

Rugged shawl collar cardigans for holiday parties

Source: Ralph Lauren and Nordstrom

If you spend most of your spare time outdoors and aren’t entirely sure how to dress for this holiday party business, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, too. Whether you really have a cabin in the woods or just wish you did, you can wear the same rugged sweaters you’d wear for an evening away from civilization to your friends’ holiday gatherings. A buffalo check sweater, like Ralph Lauren’s sturdy cardigan, looks just as wintry as your friends’ snowflake-patterned sweaters. Or if it’s the shawl collar you like, without the buffalo check pattern, go for a solid cardigan, like a red shawl collar cardigan from RRL, a marled cotton version from Barney Cools, or a simple charcoal style from Rag & Bone.