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Every Type of Sweater You Should Own, Explained

From a soft shawl cardigan to a chunky crewneck, you can never have too many sweaters.

collage of three sweaters
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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.

A good sweater adds an element of versatility to any wardrobe. It works beneath a blazer or atop an Oxford, as its own top layer with faded blue jeans or with flannel pajamas by the fire. The sweater means warmth from a sophisticated source, no matter the style.

Types of Sweaters

  • Crewneck
  • V-Neck
  • Shawl Collar
  • Roll, Mock or Turtleneck
  • Hooded
  • Cardigan
  • Graphic
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    Crewneck
    style
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    The uniform of everyone from jocks to stay-at-home dads, a lived-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, though.

    Crewneck
    Jamieson's of Shetland Crew Knit
    Crewneck
    Peregrine Hudson Aran Jumper
    Crewneck
    Percival Raglan Knit Sweater
    V-Neck
    style
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    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.

    V-Neck
    Rowing Blazers Cream Wool Cricket Sweater
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    V-Neck
    Bonobos Washable Merino V-Neck Sweater
    V-Neck
    Saturdays Charles Textured Stitch Sweater
    Shawl Collar
    style
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    The exact origin of the shawl collar sweater remains unknown, though theorists suggest it was initially casual crossover of the Victorian smoking jacket. Regardless, menswear legends from Delon to The Dude have rocked it for most of the 20th century. The offshoot shawl pullover (a favorite amongst early British motorcycles gangs) deserves just as much love, but most shawl collar sweaters are also cardigans, meaning they have buttoned fronts.

    Shawl Collar
    RRL Handknit Shawl Cardigan Sweater
    Shawl Collar
    Faherty Marled Cotton Cardigan
    Shawl Collar
    Buck Mason Herdsman Shawl Cardigan
    Roll, Mock or Turtleneck
    style
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    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.

    Turtleneck
    Buck Mason California Cashmere Turtleneck
    Rollneck
    Inis Meáin Boatbuilder Rollneck Sweater
    Turtleneck
    Theory Turtleneck Sweater
    Hooded
    style
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    We all agree: hoods are comfy. But that doesn’t mean the style is married to your gym pants. 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.

    Sweater Hoodie
    Naadam Luxe Cashmere Hoodie
    Now 40% off
    Sweater Hoodie
    Everlane The Felted Merino Hoodie
    Sweater Hoodie
    The Elder Statesman Oversized Tie Dye Hoodie
    Cardigan
    style
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    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.

    For more options, shop our buying guide to cardigan sweaters.

    Cardigan
    Corridor Optic Jacquard-Knit Cardigan
    Cardigan
    Taylor Stitch The Crawford Cardigan Sweater
    Cardigan
    Schott The Motif Cardigan
    Graphic
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    Sweaters emblazoned with logos and bold art are commonplace nowadays. Some repurpose classic logos while others tap famous artists for reproductions of their best works. Graphics aren't just for sweatshirts anymore. Let your sweaters have some fun for a change.

    Graphic
    Knickerbocker Wool Pointer Sweater
    Graphic
    Kiel James Patrick The Camp Sweater
    Graphic
    BEAMS Wool Crewneck Sweater
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