The cooler months are when menswear really gets interesting. The need to stay warm provides seemingly unlimited options for layering. At the base of any good winter outfit is a stylish sweater. Depending on the type of sweater you choose, you can add color, texture, weight, or contrast to your outfit.
The question is, which of the many different kinds of sweater should you choose? Personally, I’ve always enjoyed thicker ones. A cable knit jumper in a deep maroon, grey, or blue forms the base of many of my winter outfits. I also have a super thick turtleneck I bought years ago that I bring out a few times every winter to help get through the days when it’s really cold.
There are many options beyond those. Hoodies and sweatshirts are great options for those chilled out days when you just want to throw on a jacket and head outside. Likewise, more formal sweater styles like thinner crew necks and v-necks are pretty much office essentials.
You should also consider the varieties within a certain type of sweater. A light merino wool cardigan, for example, is a completely different beast to a thick cashmere version of the same style.
Knit pattern is another feature that can differentiate types of sweaters. Sweater manufacturers can create numerous knitted patterns that subtly add texture to your jumpers. Cable knit-styles are more traditional, but also keep an eye out for modern angular patterns. Having no pattern will result in a cleaner look.
11 Types of Sweaters for Men
The Crew Neck
The crew neck, or round neck, is the most basic type of sweater. However, the sheer variety of crew neck sweaters means it is a versatile style that you can wear no matter the occasion. Wear a lightweight sweater in a muted color over a shirt for extra warmth while at the office. Add a blazer to take the look to the executive level, or go for a brighter color if you’d rather stand out. At the weekend wear a crew neck sweater with jeans or chinos and a casual jacket for a simple outfit you can wear over and over.
The v-neck is like the crew neck’s more formal cousin. It’s the perfect sweater to wear over a shirt in the office. This doesn’t necessarily make it boring. Choose a v-neck sweater with a distinct color or a unique pattern to keep your outfit lively. Perhaps the most important thing is to be aware of the color of the t-shirt you wear underneath the sweater, as it will obviously show through at the neck.
It’s incredible the differences in the way people think of cardigans. To some, they conjure up images of the type of clothes your gran bought when you were young. To others, it’s the ultimate rock’n’roll accessory worn by the like of Kurt Cobain and Pharrell. The reason, as ever, is in the details. Choose a lighter knit, a closer fit, and button it up for a more formal style. Or, go bulky and oversized for the grunge look.
The sweatshirt has seen a bit of a resurgence over recent years. It is now a street wear staple, no longer the sole domain of college students and the clothes you fish out the back of the closet when doing the DIY. Athletic sweaters in shades of grey and combined with jeans and fresh sneakers is the classic look, although you can grab them in a variety of colors and designs.
When the weather really starts to turn, there is nothing better than a thick, knitted turtleneck sweater to keep the heat in. Pair one with jeans, heavy boots, and a thick coat or leather jacket for a timeless look. Of course, you can also grab one in a lighter knit and pair it with a blazer to add some sophistication to your outfit.
The Cable Knit Sweater
Cable knit sweaters are a classic and the perfect way to add some texture and a subtle pattern to your outfit. They are typically fairly heavy which means they are super warm, although you can find lighter versions that are good options for more formal situations.
Is a hoody a sweater? Or something unique? For the sake of this argument I’m going with the former. Either way, they are a stylish way to stay warm. As the most casual of all the sweaters on this list, they typically go best with jeans. When choosing one, consider the color, fit, and structure to be sure you end up with the best choice for you.
The Shawl Collar Cardigan
The shawl collar cardigan is like the thicker, more luxurious version of a regular cardi. It can be worn both under a jacket or as the top layer. Go for one with a cable knit pattern for some extra texture. You can also find non-cardigan sweaters with a shawl collar, which fall somewhere between a regular sweater and a turtleneck.
The Christmas/Novelty Sweater
These ironic sweaters had their moment in the sun a few years ago, although you can still pick up novelty sweaters up at various outlets. They’re a sure-fire way to brighten up a dour winter’s day, and the bright colors and unique patterns do often have some style merit.
The Zip-Up Sweater
Why bother with annoying cardigan buttons when you just use a zip? Zip-up sweaters are more practical than cardigans and more adaptable than a crew neck. Look out for versions in which the zip ends halfway down the sweater for a slight spin on the look.
The Sweater Vest
The sweater vest gets a lot of criticism, and in many ways its justified. It seems like a pointless item. Like, what kind of temperature makes a sweater vest necessary? However, its position as the ultimate sweater outsider means it is possible for people who like to experiment to create unique outfits with a sweater vest at the base.