When it comes to layering options, sweaters provide a dressy and beneficial step up from simple sweatshirts and pullovers but finding quality men’s sweaters can be challenging. For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a sweater is the classic crew neck worn atop a plain t-shirt or as a base layer. While this is a good starting point, there are many factors to consider when determining if a sweater is worth purchasing. To help you with your selection process we have outlined the most important things to look for when shopping for a quality men’s sweater.
Materials & Fabrics
When choosing a sweater, it’s important to consider the insulative properties of the materials it’s made from. Wool materials like merino, lambswool, cashmere and alpaca are known for their softness and warmth, while warm season materials like cotton, linen and hemp are valued for their easy comfort in milder temperatures. Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon and acrylic are typically used in blended fabrics to help with structure and shape retention but can be specially processed to add warmth as well. Blended fabrics like cotton-cashmere or cotton-merino can provide best-of-both-worlds comfort through the seasons, but pay attention to the balance of the blend (50/50, 70/30, 90/10) for a better sense of how insulative the fabric will be. With regard to touch and texture, you’ll want something that doesn’t pill and fall apart after a couple years. Ideally, it should be soft on the skin and keep you warm without making you sweat. Cashmere, lambswool and alpaca sweaters tend to be the most durable and last the longest. Merino wool sweaters, in particular, are known for being high quality and very durable.
For men, the most flattering sweater necklines tend to be v-necks, crew necks, and shawl collars. We are also big fans of turtlenecks for the right occasion. Turtleneck sweaters can be a great alternative to a shirt and sports jacket during cooler months. Shawl collars can also be nice for buttoned-up occasions but are a little less dressy than turtlenecks. They also tend to keep your body warmer so it is important to consider whether the event is inside or outside. For a classic look in a casual setting, we suggest wearing a crew neck sweater over a button-down shirt. V-neck sweaters can be worn the same way as crew neck sweaters. It can be nice to spice it up every now and then with the v design detail, so keep at least one V-neck sweater on-hand in your closet.
Fit and Construction
The first thing to consider when looking at the construction of a men’s sweater is how it fits through the shoulders. A quality men’s sweater will not be too tight on the shoulders or be bagging around your upper arms. Sleeve length should be appropriate for the overall length of the garment. The sleeves should reach all the way to your wrists without bunching at the bottom. It is also crucial to make sure the sweater is not too big around your midsection or too tight at your belt.
We all know that sweaters are an important part of any man’s wardrobe. They are wonderful to wear during the cooler seasons of the year and can positively add to any outfit. While some sweaters can be worn on dressy occasions, they are also great to wear while relaxing at home, in a casual environment, when you want to be comfortable. Some of our favorite picks for versatile men’s sweaters are Milano Wool Vest, Allegretto Cardigan, Forté Merino Henley. For those of you looking for something more casual check out these essentials: Karamea Merino Crew, Need for Tweed Sweater, Night and Day V Neck.