When it comes to menswear, there is perhaps no article more synonymous with Autumn and Winter than the sweater. Whether dressed up or down, the sweater has endured through the decades as a crucial piece of attire for men to add to their wardrobes when the weather begins to cool. But not all sweaters look the same, nor can they be styled in the same way. Different varieties of sweaters command different style tips and must be mindfully incorporated into a proper look to work effectively.
But what are the different styles of sweaters, and when can we wear them best? We at Aklasu have you covered with our comprehensive sweater guide.
Perhaps nothing screams classic cozy menswear quite like the cardigan. Essentially, a cardigan is a sweater featuring an open front, which may or may not have buttons. An incredibly versatile piece, the cardigan can be perceived as casual or could even lean towards formal, depending on two key factors.
1. The type of cardigan
2. How the cardigan is styled
Shawl-Collared Cardigans and Button-Up Cardigans
Evoking the quintessential style of the 1920s, a shawl collared cardigan has a laid-back, cozy appeal. For a timeless casual look, we recommend pairing a shawl collared cardigan with a neutral button up shirt and dark indigo jeans. The key to looking great with this style of cardigan is to select a fitting piece. If you opt for too loose of a silhouette, you’ll give off a dated appearance.
For a classic button-up cardigan, we like to add a touch of elegance by pairing it with a button up shirt and tie (like our Gold and Red Striped Navy Blue Tie), with neutral slacks. Throw on the perfect overcoat or blazer and you have the recipe for an Autumn outfit that is sure to impress.
Additionally, if you’re looking to use a cardigan as a replacement for a blazer or sportscoat, you can opt for a chunky knit cardigan. This variety of cardigan will give you a warm, effortless style that is always on trend.
When it comes to sweaters that blur the lines between casual and formal, perhaps none are more effective in achieving that perception than the turtleneck sweater. An absolute staple piece of cooler weather apparel, the turtleneck sweater is a must-own garment for any man looking to dress well.
Turtlenecks come in a variety of different thicknesses, from thinner, more shirt-adjacent turtlenecks, to thicker turtlenecks that are more of an outerwear piece. For us at Aklasu, we love utilizing thinner turtlenecks as stand-ins for a traditional collared shirt in cold weather. We particularly love pairing neutral coloured turtleneck sweaters (think black, navy, and off-white) with everything from overcoats and blazers, to double-breasted jackets.
Neutral colours create a harmonious look when paired with fall and winter outerwear, which is also typically neutral coloured. Your sweater should create harmony with the rest of your outfit, and not draw too much attention to itself.
The Quarter and Full Zip
Showcasing modern style with the perfect touch of class, quarter and full-zip sweaters a fantastic article to incorporate into your wardrobe during the transitional months. Additionally, they are particularly versatile due to the variety of ways in which you can style them. Zip them all the way up and you have a sweater that resembles a turtleneck (or more accurately, a mock turtleneck) in style, or zip them halfway to accentuate your jawline and frame your face nicely.
While these types of sweaters can come in a diverse range of looks (including athletic), we prefer quarter and full-zip sweaters that have a smart, business casual appeal. A pairing we particularly love is a fitted quarter-zip sweater paired with a blazer, dark jeans (or chinos), and simple dress shoes. The essence of timeless business casual attire.
Conversely, you can also utilize this style of sweater as a substitute for outerwear. Pair a neutral coloured quarter-zip sweater with a collared shirt and tie (preferably something with a pop of colour like our Navy Blue and Grey Striped Mustard Yellow Tie) for a ridiculously smart look that exudes preppy class.
At last, we've reached the pièces de resistance of sweaters. The classic pullover. All that we've spoken about regarding cardigans, turtlenecks, and quarter-zip sweaters holds true regarding classic pullovers as well. Where do we even start?
Can a pullover be casual in style? Of course. Can it be incorporated into a business casual look? Yes. Can it be styled formally? Undoubtedly.
Whether in v-neck or crewneck, a stylish pullover sweater is a must-own in any fashionable man’s wardrobe. Having a solid rotation of neutral-coloured sweaters can help to elevate your wardrobe in a way that very few articles of clothing can.
We love pairing our pullover sweaters with collared shirts, ties, and blazers for an elegant look. You could even remove the blazer and tie and just wear a pullover sweater over a collared shirt for a smart, casual feel. While we typically recommend buying neutral-coloured sweaters (grey, navy, black, etc.) to increase the versatility of the piece, adding a dash of colour to your look with a brighter coloured pullover sweater can be fun (and stylish) as well.
Sweaters are an incredible piece of apparel that can add a lovely, cozy appeal to your wardrobe. Whether you’re a veteran of sweater wearing or an individual looking to better incorporate them into your fashionable wardrobe, we at Aklasu are here to help you look and feel your absolute best.