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How To Wear a V-Neck Sweater for Men

Man wearing a v-neck sweater while using a laptop and having a cup of coffee.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can’t talk about knitwear without giving the men’s V-neck sweater its due. With that signature angled neckline showing off just the right amount of clavicle, V-necks have been around for as long as their more conservative cousin, the crew neck.

And just like the crew neck, V-neck sweaters serve as one of the best sweaters for every man to have in his cold-weather wardrobe. You’re just not prepared for the season without at least one or two to layer into your rotation. Layer being the operative word there because when it comes to layering up for the winter, V-neck sweaters just can’t be beaten. The extra room around the neck makes sure your tie and crisp dress shirt collar don’t get hidden away, and their (generally) lightweight construction means they’ll fit comfortably under a jacket or blazer — without the risk of overheating.

All that being said, guys often find themselves stumped on how to wear a V-neck sweater properly. What color V-neck sweater should they choose? How should it fit? What should they wear underneath it? How do you wear a V-neck sweater over a dress shirt? What kinds of pants should they wear with one? And those are just the start.

These are all valid questions. To help you take out some of the guesswork, we’re going to give you a few suggestions and examples of how to wear a V-neck sweater. Follow our lead, and you’ll have no trouble pulling off a V-neck any day.

How to Choose a V-Neck Sweater

Before we get to how to wear them, it’s important to know what makes a great men’s V-neck sweater. And in our opinion, the best V-necks are all about two things: fit and fabric. The two options below deliver on both of those points — without being too harsh on your wallet. Each one’s got a streamlined fit that’s neither too tight nor too baggy, and they’re both knit from top-of-the-line materials.

State Cashmere V-Neck Basic Sweater

The V-Neck Basic Sweater by State Cashmere worn by a model.
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It used to be that you couldn’t get cashmere without paying an arm and a leg. State Cashmere’s changed all that. This sweater, with all its classic V-neck style, comes with all the softness and warmth you expect of cashmere, but without the price tag.

Suitsupply V-Neck Slim Fit Merino Wool Sweater

Slim Fit V-Neck Merino Wool Sweater by Suitsupply worn by a model.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can’t find a more essential V-neck sweater if you tried. It’s made from premium merino wool, so it’s both lightweight and warm, and the heather gray color will style well with just about anything.

Dress It Up

First things first: V-neck sweaters clean up well for important days at the office or any semi-formal event. The solid, minimal design of the V-neck complements the crisp fabric of a dress shirt perfectly, and the “V” itself becomes a kind of frame for your shirt collar and tie. And bonus: no one will know if your shirt is wrinkled underneath. To make the most of this, choose a shirt with a medium-spread collar and a tie you’re comfortable with taking center stage.

Polo Ralph Lauren Easy Care Stretch Poplin Shirt

Easy Care Stretch Poplin Shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren worn by a model.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You could pick any of the year’s best dress shirts, really, but we think there’s something special and timeless about layering a clean white dress shirt under a V-neck sweater. We like this Polo pick for the comfortable stretch fabric and easy care, so you can wear it time and again.

Ted Baker Jefferson Flat Front Wool Dress Pants

Jefferson Flat Front Wool Dress Pants by Ted Baker worn by a model.
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With everything going on up top, go for a straightforward flat-front trouser like these from Ted Baker. The wool fabric and tailored fit will keep the whole outfit feeling sharp. Just make sure the hem of your V-neck hits up to an inch and a half below your belt buckle

Opt for Business Casual

For a style that transitions a little more easily from on-the-clock to after-hours, ditch the tie, loosen your collar, and throw on a pair of clean sneakers. This is also the perfect opportunity to swap in a more casual button-down. But remember: any shirt that you layer under a V-neck sweater should always be tucked in. Nothing looks sloppier than loose shirt-tails popping out around your waist.

Bonobos Jetsetter Stretch Shirt in Navy Steel Floral

Jetsetter Stretch Dress Shirt by Bonobos worn by a model.
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Now that there’s no tie vying for the spotlight, there’s no reason not to wear a shirt that’ll attract some attention. The king of pattern, Bonobos, has the perfect option: This navy floral pick that’s somehow both subtle and interesting.

Alex Mill Standard Pleated Pant in Military Olive

Standard Pleated Pant in Military Olive by Alex Mill on gray and white background.
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The pleated pant is back, folks, and it’s the perfect way to turn your chino game up a notch. Alex Mill crafted this pair with a comfortable fit and a taper in the leg to keep things feeling modern and tailored.

Common Projects Retro Low Leather Sneakers

Common Projects Retro Low Leather Sneakers on a gray background.
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For a sneaker that could definitely still be considered “work appropriate,” look to Common Projects. The brand’s leather kicks are the gold standard in low-top premium kicks. If you’re looking for something more affordable though, a pair of classic Adidas Stan Smiths will definitely do the trick.

Layer It Under a Jacket

When the weather’s on the chillier side and you don’t feel like covering your suit or blazer with a sports coat, the V-neck sweater will be your best friend. Sport it over your shirt and under your blazer for an added layer of cold-weather protection. Just watch out for how you style your V-neck sweater — it can veer professorial real quick if you’re not careful.

Theory Chambers Blazer in Good Wool

Theory Chambers Blazer in Good Wool worn by a model.

Our advice for choosing a jacket to wear with a V-neck sweater: The cleaner the lines, the better. Think along the lines of this Theory blazer. The precise detailing and sharp lines will complement the neckline of your sweater, in a solid color that won’t busy up the look.

Steve Madden Beaumont Black Leather Shoes

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Close it all out on a high note with a beautiful pair of dress shoes. We’re into these Steve Madden double monk straps, which will instantly up your style game while remaining pretty affordable, actually.

With Your Best Denim

We’ve talked a lot about more formal settings, what about the weekend when you’re just kicking around running errands or going out to dinner? How does the men’s V-neck sweater fit in there? Easily actually: All it takes is a great pair of jeans, a plaid shirt, and leather boots for an elevated workwear-inspired look.

J.Crew Brushed Twill Shirt in Plaid

J.Crew Brushed Twill Shirt in Plaid on a gray background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

V-neck sweaters can make any bold shirt pop, but they take classic plaid flannels to a whole another level. The checked pattern of this J.Crew shirt will stand out against a solid V-neck, and the brushed cotton fabric will add an extra bit of warmth where you need it.

Everlane Slim 4-Way Stretch Organic Jean

Everlane Slim 4-Way Stretch Organic Jeans worn by a model.
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It goes without saying, every man should have a pair of dark denim jeans in their closet. Everlane upped the comfort level in theirs by adding 4-way stretch to the fabric. Just in case you feel like doing lunges.

Red Wing Iron Ranger 6” Boot

Red Wing Iron Ranger 6” Boot on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Red Wing has been leading the workwear charge for a while now and for good reason: they make one hell of a boot. Their flagship style, the Iron Ranger, looks just as good scuffed up as they do brand new — especially with denim.

Stephen Praetorius
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Stephen Praetorius is a freelance writer and editor with near-boundless interests. His work's been featured in publications…
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