We began shedding fur sometime between Homo Erectus and that awkward Neanderthal phase. Fortunately, mankind has since found a more creative way to cozy up when chilly weather sweeps in: the sweater. Beyond just comfort and warmth, the sweater is a utilitarian’s dream — if you upgrade one thing each year to prevent a stagnant closet, this should be it. Sure, you have your favorite piece; it’s one that’s been with you since college, or maybe a hand-me-down from pop. But a strong collection of these secondary layers instantly multiplies your wardrobe choices: the same outfit you wore at last year’s Thanksgiving with a different sweater is an entirely different outfit. There are plenty of options to choose from in a range of styles. Study up and choose one that fits you.
The uniform of everyone from jocks to stay-at-home dads, a live-in crew has an understated appeal worn casually or under a suit jacket. Maybe you’re a purist: blue and gray are the classics. Subtle variations in the fabric and detailing offer a nice way to switch it up.
Crew Knit by Jamieson’s of Shetland $109
1A Cable Crew by Inverallan $279
Herring Cashmere Sweater by The Elder Statesman $1,240
V-Necks are the more fashion-forward cousin to crews, often found somewhere on the tertiary color wheel and made of elegant fabrics like cashmere or wool. The perfect V is one that complements the natural concavity of the jugular notch: not too high, not too low.
Bobby Merino Wool Sweater by John Smedley $230
Cashmere Sweater by Hardy Amies $305
Fine-Knit Wool Sweater by Berluti $9,150
The exact origin of the shawl collar sweater is unknown, though theorists suggest it was born a casual crossover of the Victorian smoking jacket. Regardless, menswear legends from Delon to the Dude have been rocking it for most of the 20th century. The offshoot shawl pullover (a favorite amongst early British motorcycles gangs) deserves just as much love.
Italian Cashmere Shawl-Collar Sweater by J.Crew $298
Shawl-Collar Sweater by Kingsman $655
Shawl-Collar Honeycomb-Knit Cashmere Sweater by Brioni $1,850
Like the name suggests, the many forms of a neck sweater — roll neck, mock neck, turtleneck, and others — jut up above the collar. Though the style has since become associated with haute couture (and the late Steve Jobs), it was originally worn by sea and field laborers to help fight off biting winds — a purpose it still serves with aplomb.
Vincent Mélange Rollneck Sweater by NN07 $145
Ribbed Mélange Rollneck Sweater by Inis Meáin $595
Cashmere Rollneck Sweater by Massimo Alba $965
We all agree: hoods are comfy. But that doesn’t mean the style is married to those gym pants you’ve never washed. Next time you’re planning dinner and a movie, throw on some trousers and upgrade to something knitted. The best hoodies look mature and still keep your ears and hands warm and covered.
Wool Zip-Up Hoodie by Club Monaco $220
Pacifica Jaquard-Knit Hoodie by Outerknown $425
Wool, Yak And Cashmere-Blend Zip-Up Hoodie by Aspesi $440
Constructed with half-zippers or a few buttons in the style of a henley, a placket is an opening that can be fastened depending on the degree of chill in the air. This makes it ideal for sweaters — and so does the extra grace it adds to the layer’s removal, which otherwise is an exercise in showing the whole office your beer belly.
Merino Polo Pullover by Tommorland $295
Birdseye Cashmere Half-Zip Sweater by William Lockie $590
Ribbed Cashmere and Linen-Blend Sweater by Tom Ford $2,590
Cardigan & Full-Zip
Cardigans bring to mind grandpas and golf courses (often both together). But donned well, the style is a classic tool of the trade that seasoned men sport for a reason. It turns a two piece suit into two and a half, and takes the thought out of dressing up. The traditional style is fastened with buttons, but modern interpretations may feature zippers as well.
Stark Cardigan by S.N.S. Herning $285
Ribbed-Knit Alpaca-Blend Cardigan by Simon Miller $520
Melange Cotton Cardigan by Brunello Cucinelli $1,045