One fall/winter fashion essential item men seem to be hesitant toward is the cardigan. But they shouldn’t be. From layering over a tee to updating a basic suit or pairing with a turtleneck, it’s a transitional dressing dream because of its multi-functional use; the cardigan can be worn in so many different ways. The best men’s cardigan investments remain neutral and enhance whatever else it is you are wearing, while others become the statement centerpiece of any fit.
Shall we start with the basics of what a cardigan actually is? It’s a shrug-like a men’s cardigan sweater, usually with a loose-fitting V-neck that opens at the front. If you are picturing a big, bulky, chunky fisherman’s knit that your grandpa wears from a discount retailer, you aren’t necessarily wrong. But it can be so much more. Cardigans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and weights. Chunky knits are a bit more difficult to pull off but are super cool when you do it right. Thinner style cardigans (there’s nothing like cashmere) should be a building block in your closet to mix and match with your entire wardrobe.
File these 10 cardigans ahead under items to consider this season. These sweaters (from some of the best men’s clothing brands) will level up your style game, making you one dignified dresser. And don’t worry, with each select we provide insight on how to wear it, so you no longer have to be afraid. The takeaway: Layering is your friend.
Goodthreads Soft Cotton Shawl Cardigan
One of Amazon’s fashion brands, Goodthreads makes some relatively affordable menswear that’s not short on style. This shawl cardigan is made with 100% cotton, which is perfect to throw on during your video conference calls.
How To Wear: With a collared shirt, preferably with patterns.
Gioberti Knitted Full Zip Cardigan Sweater
Swapping out buttons for zippers make for an easier closure with this knitted cardigan. Plus the flannel lining makes for a surprisingly cool finish.
How To Wear: With the most comfortable undershirt you have, and zip your cardigan all the way up for an ultra-cozy nine-to-five fit.
Amazon Essentials Cardigan
Think of this as a modern take on the classic Mr. Rogers’ cardi. Made with 100% cotton and available in myriad colorways, you’ll never have trouble finding an ensemble to go with this versatile sweater.
How To Wear: Keep it basic with a crew-neck Tee and your favorite selvedge jeans.
Liverpool Knit Cardigan
Liverpool, the Los Angeles-based denim brand, makes some incredibly comfortable lounge pants, but their men’s cardigan selections deserve a shout-out as well. This one features a shawl collar for a more formal silhouette.
How To Wear: Whether you throw on a shirt or your favorite Tee, this cardigan will help elevate your look to business casual-appropriate.
Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan
Believe me when I tell you a cashmere cardigan will change your life. This one from Club Monaco isn’t too thin or too thick and it is so heavenly soft. Once you wear it once you won’t ever want to take it off.
J.Crew Wallace & Barnes Cable Knit Shawl-Collar Cardigan
This is the type of chunky knit we talked about that is a little harder to pull off. But don’t run away yet! You absolutely can. Remember, layering is your friend. The trick is to play with different weights and textures among your layers to make it interesting. This includes your pants.
How To Wear: A tee shirt or chambray shirt (you can layer both). Make a chunky knit look less dad-like by pairing it with cool joggers and swaggy sneakers.
Schott NYC Wool Blend Zip Cardigan
Not all cardigans have buttons. This modern take on the classic cardi is utilitarian and can double as your topper or jacket. The zip closure is fresh and cool.
How To Wear: With a plain white tee (or any tee for that matter) and black jeans.
Stussy Striped Knit Cardigan
A striped cardigan is considered a neutral with interest. The fine lines here add a cool edge to a traditional preppy garment.
How To Wear: Pair with a graphic tee shirt, don’t be afraid to mix prints.
Snow Peak Flexible Insulated Cardigan
Some will call this a jacket, but technically it is still considered a cardigan because of the fit and silhouette. It’s dubbed as the most functional item on this list because of its insulation and water-resistant features. Plus, it’s super lightweight making it perfect for wrinkle-free packing. This piece is truly worthy of your investment.
How To Wear: Wear this with anything and everything, just not by itself (some headdress won’t hurt, either). Even if you think it won’t match, it probably does.
Needles Long-sleeve Check Cardigan
Checks are trending and this purple version reads streetwear cool over varsity prep. It’s definitely a statement piece but it’s made from 100% high-quality wool to keep you warm all winter long.
How To Wear: Over a black tee or polo shirt and paired with cool trousers or stovepipe denim
Heritage Motif Cardigan
With this Heritage Motif Cardigan, you’ll sure get a timeless piece that you can pair with your style for versatility. It’s designed with indigenous patterns knitted from five different colors. The yarn itself is a cotton-cashmere for comfortability all year-round.
How To Wear: This is best for layering and we suggest pairing this with a plain white t-shirt for a casual and laidback look.
Everlane Felted Merino Cardigan
If you are on the lookout for a more minimalist-style cardigan, then the Felted Merino Cardigan is the best option for you. Specifically designed with a modern slim fit, this cardigan can still be layered and paired with your everyday casual tees. Just an FYI, though, this piece has no pockets.
How To Wear: We suggest pairing this with a white or gray t-shirt, slim jeans, and sneakers to achieve a minimalist look.
Prairie Vintage Cashmere Shawl Cardigan
This knitted cashmere blend vintage cardigan is a timeless piece for cold seasons, providing extra softness and warmth.
How To Wear: Buttons down paired with black pants for additional classic style.
ONS Clothing Cole Cardigan
This Cole Cardigan will surely keep you pulled together for your early Zoom call meeting. This is specifically designed for a homey feel all while still keeping you looking professional.
How To Wear: Wear over a white polo shirt paired with a pair of gray slacks to emphasize that business attire.
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