y favorite sweaters for this time of year are crewnecks and cardigans – either regular or shawl collar styles. They’re great because not only do they keep you warm, but they allow you to create a bunch of new looks depending on how you layer them with the other items you own.
Before I go any further, I want to make sure you’ve already seen my v-neck sweater article and video, because:
- You should already own some v-neck sweaters since they look amazing on every body type and can be worn year-round.
- You know the do’s and dont’s with sweaters and how they should fit your body type because I’m going to discuss crewnecks and cardigans as if you already know these guidelines.
$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck Sweater
I like crewnecks because they can be worn over t-shirts, unlike v-neck sweaters which look weird with t-shirts under them, and they look great in casual outfits or can take a more dressy outfit, like a suited look, and dress it down, while still adding a nice, warm layer to your outfit.
The two things you have to do, though, and I’ll say this forever, is:
- Really nail the fit
- Know how to wear them, based on your body type.
If you are a broader guy, then crewnecks 100% of the time have to be worn as a layering piece only. So underneath a jacket, blazer or suit – never on their own because, otherwise, it’ll create a huge swath of fabric on your torso and accentuate your size. Trust me, you don’t want this. (Watch my video at the top for examples).
For any body type, you always want to make sure your crewneck sweater fits like a glove. Make sure you can’t pinch more than an inch of fabric on the back of your tricep and no more than 2 inches of fabric on one side of your belly.
As for length, ensure the sleeves generally stop around the bend of your wrist, and make sure it is no longer than just past your belt buckle area.
The thing that drives me nuts is when I see guys wearing crewnecks with big bunchy sleeves and rolled or rippled mid-sections. Bleh!
$26 – Zara Basic Fine Knit Sweater
$40 – TopMan Grey Ripple Textured Raglan Slim Fit Sweater
$50 – H&M Merino Wool Sweater
$55 – TopMan SELECTED HOMME Black And White Woven Long Sleeve T-Shirt
$70 – H&M Textured Knit Cashmere Sweater
$158 – J.Crew Lightweight Italian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater
$190 – A.P.C. Bros Sweatshirt
$230 – John Smedley Marcus Crew Neck Merino Wool Sweater (3 colors)
$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
$375 – Vince Heathered Cashmere Sweater
$675 – Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewneck Spa Sweatshirt
$950 – Prada Cashmere and Silk Blend Sweater
Cardigans: Regular and Shawl-Collar
$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Navy Sweater
Now let’s move on to cardigans – specifically, regular and shawl collar styles.
Just like crewnecks, they’re great worn over most shirts (even with ties) except v-neck t-shirts (unless it’s a really shallow “V”, otherwise it just looks weird with the double “v”) or polo shirts because the collars never lay or look right with cardigans.
Regular cardigans can pretty much be worn underneath everything up to a suit, while shawl collar cardigans, since they’re usually made of thicker wool or cotton, are typically worn on their own. Think of shawl collar cardigans as knit jackets, basically and wear them in their place.
If you’re a larger guy, regular cardigans are to be worn buttoned up AND only underneath another item as a layering piece. If you were to wear it on it’s own, it’ll make you look super big and wide. (examples shown in the video at the top).
If you have a regular or slim body type, then you can wear regular cardigans on their own, but almost always buttoned up – leave the bottom button undone so it lays nicely and doesn’t look bunched up while you’re sitting. I think when they’re worn unbuttoned, they lose their structure and get really floppy and messy looking.
For shawl collar cardigans, if you’re a broader guy, you should absolutely wear them on their own, but never buttoned up. Leaving it unbuttoned breaks up your width nicely and looks great and hides those problem areas around the midsection and upper body. I really love them for this body type.
If you’re any other body type, you can wear your shawl collar cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned, but remember to leave the bottom button undone, of course.
As to how your cardigans should fit, the same crewneck rules apply:
Pinch no more than 2 inches on one side of your stomach and no more than an inch on the back of your tricep.
It should hit pretty close to past your belt buckle and the sleeves should end somewhere around the bend of your wrist.
$30 – Zara Viscose Cardigan
$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater (3 colors)
$120 – Club Monaco Soft Wool Cardigan
$230 – Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan
$300 – Vince Mixed Rib Cardigan
$415 – Boglioli Cotton Cardigan
Shawl Collar Cardigan
$30 – Only & Sons Shawl Neck Cardigan with Mix Yarn Detail
$118 – J. Crew Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
$150 – J. Crew Cotton Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Navy Shawl Cardigan
$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Army Green Cardigan
$598 – Brooks Brothers Cashmere Shawl Collar Cardigan
$1,590 – Tom Ford Iconic Shawl-Collar Cardigan
As for colors, I mentioned them in the series intro video, so check that video and article out for details about the colors that will go well with your skin color.
And lastly, before I show you how I’d style these sweaters, let’s go over the best materials for your sweaters.
If you run warmer, you want your sweaters to be cotton blends, otherwise wool and cashmere are my two favorites.
Best ways to wear your sweater
H&M Double Breasted Coat
H&M Merino Wool Sweater
A/X Pima Tee
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Johnston & Murphy Jennings Wingtip
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses
Topman Light Brown Wool Coat
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Webster Medallions Tie
J.Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan
John Varvatos Grand Sunglasses
J.Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in English Donegal Tweed
Johnston & Murphy Nolen Double Monkstrap Shoes
Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Collar Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Decatur Ave Casual Belt
Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka