With the passing of the equinox, Autumn is here again. We may be losing daylight but we're adding cozy layers to our wardrobes. Here at The Manual, we believe that the coziest layer of all is a good sweater. They're versatile, warm, low maintenance (except for cashmere), easy to style, and transcend the boundary between casual and formal. Can you think of a more fall outfit than some rugged boots, a worn in pair of jeans, and a cozy sweater? You probably have a favorite sweater or two in your wardrobe, maybe even one that is a bit passed it's prime, but you can never really have too many sweaters. So we put together this list of the best sweaters for men to wear this fall.
There is a pretty vast range of sweaters out there. No matter what your personal taste in fashion is or what the climate is like where you live, there are multiple options out there for you. With that in mind, we broke down our best sweaters list into categories. We've covered everything from business-casual sweaters for when you actually show up to the office to chunky cardigans for when you spend most of the day on the couch. We're not saying you need to collect every sweater on this list to make a complete set, but it would make an impressive collection if you did.
- Polo cable knit wool-cashmere sweater
- J. Press shaggy dog sweater
- J. Crew Fair Isle crewneck sweater
- Wellen recycled cotton Headlands sweater
- Todd Snyder cashmere long-sleeve sweater polo
- Comme des Garcons Play black heart cardigan
- Burberry Wilmore check cardigan
- Uniqlo extra fine merino v neck sweater
- L.L. Bean ragg wool crewneck sweater in yoke fair isle
- Loro Piana cashmere half-zip sweater
- Thom Browne cable knit wool and mohair sweater
- Faherty Sun and Wave cardigan
Polo cable knit wool-cashmere sweater
Best Overall Sweater
The classic cable knit sweater design — featuring a simple twist pattern alternated between vertical bars — has become so synonymous with Polo that you half expect the little pony logo to be there every time. So when you’re looking for that essential, subtle cable knit sweater design, Polo is the brand to go with. Ralph Lauren offers the design in a variety of fabrics from all of his sub-brands, with and without logos. The best option has got to be the wool-cashmere blend from Polo. Blending 10% cashmere with the wool softens the texture without compromising durability. This classic looks just as good with sweatpants on the weekend as it does with a blazer in the office.
J. Press shaggy dog sweater
Best wool crewneck sweater
Not long after J. Press introduced their Shetland Island brushed wool sweater in the 1950s, it became an Ivy style icon. The extra fuzzy texture of the brushed wool led to the nickname “shaggy dog sweater.” It was so effective that the J. Press adopted it as the official title of the sweater. These sweaters are made from the highest quality Scottish wool that provides warmth and durability without that scratchy wool texture. They’re always available in a wide range of colors and patterns to add some variety to your wardrobe. That said, the kelly green is probably the most iconic version of this sweater.
J. Crew Fair Isle crewneck sweater
Best Fair Isle sweater
Every season, J.Crew picks a couple of definitive colors that feature throughout their mens line. For Fall 2022, one of those colors is a rustic washed-out pink. Pink is more commonly associated with spring and summer but J.Crew is demonstrating how well it works in fall with this beautiful Fair Isle sweater. A base of the distinct washed-out pink is layered with a classic Fair Isle pattern in white, yellow, green, purple, and red. Best of all, it is made from 100% Shetland wool, which means it will keep you warm and cozy for a very long time.
Wellen recycled cotton Headlands sweater
Best casual cotton sweater
The biggest problem with cotton sweaters is that they often lose their shape too easily. Wellen quashed this issue by using a large gauge waffle knit for their Headlands sweater. The heavy knit has enough give to be comfortable and strength to retain its shape for years of wear. The 40% recycled cotton is blended with 30% acrylic and 25% polyester giving the fabric an almost athletic feel. Wellen designs all their clothing for the coastal life spent on the beach and that is exactly the vibe this sweater gives. It is a more comfortable stand-in for a crew neck sweatshirt or long sleeve tee.
Todd Snyder cashmere long-sleeve sweater polo
Best sweater to replace a collared shirt
Knit polos had a moment this past summer and Todd Snyder is carrying that trend into fall. While it is called a polo, this sweater is essentially a long sleeve collared shirt made out of knit cashmere. It is really more of a cardigan than anything else. However you categorize this sweater, it is as unique as it is stylish. You can wear it with a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers for an elevated casual look. Or you can wear it with slacks and leather dress shoes for an innovative professional look. Either way, it’s 100% cashmere so you’re going to be very comfortable.
Comme des Garcons Play black heart cardigan
Best classic cardigan
There is something to be said for keeping the classics simple and few brands do that better than Comme des Carcons. They took the classic v-neck cardigan design that comes to mind pretty much any time someone thinks of a cardigan and they perfected all the little details without interfering with the overall design. The result is a perfect cardigan with near limitless styling applications. They signed their masterpiece by placing their distinctive black heart with eyes logo subtly on the left breast. We won’t go as far as to say this is the last cardigan you will ever need but we will say that it is the perfect one to start with.
Burberry Wilmore check cardigan
Best plaid sweater
Burberry always goes one of two ways with its distinctive tartan. It is either hidden away on the inside of the garment or it is very boldly displayed on the outside. In this case, they went with the latter method. The Wilmore check cardigan features a very large version of Burberry’s trademarked plaid tartan. The combination of khaki, black, white, and yellow give this cardigan a very fall feel. After all, the only way to make a wool sweater more autumnal is to make it plaid. This cardigan looks great as the focal point of an outfit, worn with all solid colors. It also works well as a splash of color and texture worn under a solid navy suit or blazer and jeans.
Uniqlo extra fine merino v neck sweater
Best v neck sweater
A solid colored v-neck sweater, preferably in navy or black, is an essential in every man’s wardrobe. It makes the standard slack and button-down work outfit more refined. It adds class to a t-shirt and jeans. It is a more comfortable alternative to a collared shirt with a suit. You can wear one with sweatpants for weekend errands and look relatively put-together. Got a date? Wear a v-neck sweater and jeans with your best dress shoes. The list goes on but you get the point. A simple v-neck sweater is the reliable workhorse of the sweater world and there is no better bargain out there than Uniqlo. Their extra fine merino wool cannot be matched for anything close to this price and it fits great.
L.L. Bean ragg wool crewneck sweater in yoke fair isle
Best classic wool crewneck sweater
You can’t make a list of the best fall sweaters without featuring L.L. Bean. The hard part is figuring out which sweater to select from L.L. Bean’s deep roster. We finally landed on the classic ragg wool crew neck sweater in yoke fair isle. This sweater has a vintage look yet is somehow timeless in its fall appeal. This sweater is made from 100% lambswool in a tight jersey knit which means it will keep you extra warm. This is not a sweater to wear indoors for long periods of time. You want to wear this sweater for outdoor adventures like sitting around a campfire in the middle of Maine woods or taking your young children apple picking whether they like it or not.
Loro Piana cashmere half-zip sweater
Best luxury half zip sweater
Very few garments make the statement “I have money” like a cashmere half-zip sweater. They are synonymous with men who are rich enough to wear whatever they want but cultured enough to keep their wardrobe subtly refined. If you have $1,000 to spend on a single sweater, there are plenty of options that may be fashionable now but won’t be for long. Then there is this half-zip sweater made by Loro Piana from the highest quality cashmere available on the planet. Loro Piana makes classic designs to the highest possible standards. They are the Ferrari of clothing and not just because both companies are Italian.
Thom Browne cable knit wool and mohair sweater
Best luxury cable knit sweater
This beautiful cable knit sweater from Thom Browne has a lot more going on than meets the eye. To begin with, the ribbed cuffs and trim are extra long and feature mother of pearl button closures with Thom Browne’s distinctive red, white, and blue ribbon placketing the openings. Upon closer inspection, the unusual ocean gray-blue reveals multi-colored marling speckles. Last but not least, the 30% mohair blend makes the wool far softer to the touch than it appears. The whole thing is topped off with the designer's trademark four white bars wrapped around the left sleeve. This is a very unique take on an old fashioned fisherman’s sweater yet all the tweaks are equally timeless as the original design, a distinctively Thom Browne move.
Faherty Sun and Wave cardigan
Best patterned cardigan
Faherty first caught the attention of the fashion world back in 2014 with this ornate shawl cardigan. It was one of the first pieces designed by founder Mike Faherty and it has been their signature garment ever since. The sun and wave design featured on the chest and back even became their logo. A unique blend of Alpaca, merino wool, and lambswool make this sweater equally soft, warm, and durable. It features a zip closure, more typical of the 1970s than modern shawl cardigans. The brand also acknowledges the Native American inspiration for the design by donating 10% of profit from the sweater to Native community support.
Pro Tip: Wool is an amazing material so well engineered by nature that humans have yet to come up with anything even close to matching it's many wonderful properties. A sweater made form 100% high quality wool is as durable as denim, as insulated as down, and as stretchy as cotton. However, the most remarkable feature of wool is its antimicrobial properties. Clothing made from cotton and artificial fabrics will start to stink and feel grimy because microbes accumulate on them, eating the microscopic skin you are constantly shedding and excreting a foul odor. Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of years of spent by sheep evolving in the wilderness before we tamed them, their wool developed a natural deterrent to microbes. So as long as your don't spill anything on your sweater, you can wear it many times before washing it.
When you do wash your wool sweaters, especially cashmere and alpaca (those are technically types of wool), always use a modern washing machine with a gentle cycle. Though it is best to hand wash your wool if you have the time. You don't have to use a detergent but if you do then it must be a special variety designed for wool or cashmere. Never, ever, ever put wool in a dryer. Hang dry it then give it a nice gentle stretch when it's 90% dry to regain the desired fit and shape.
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