Layer up: A guide to men's sweater styles

Layer up: A guide to men's sweater styles

A great-fitting sweater says a lot about a man’s personal style. Sweaters are functional thanks to the added warmth they provide, but they can also add a layer of style that many men find surprisingly versatile thanks to the number of sweater types, fits and patterns that are available.

However, not every man takes advantage of the variety sweaters can offer. There are styles made for casual environments and styles that are suitable in business casual settings. You just have to know how to match a sweater to the occasion.

Here is a guide for how to find the perfect sweater fit and style to match your form and setting.

Find a sweater that fits

Any man can look good in a sweater - as long as it fits well. A sweater that fits well can help add just the right amount of bulk to a slimmer body and can help straighten out the appearance of rounder gentlemen.

But finding sweaters with just the right fit requires a little inside information.

To find the right fit, start by choosing a sweater size that is not too tight when you first try it on. Sweaters commonly shrink as they are worn and washed over time. Look for a size that doesn’t hug your body too tightly while also not appearing baggy. The arms and torso should not be too snug.

If your personal taste in clothing tends to lean toward tailored or more fit to form, then you will want to select a sweater size that follows that preference.

Sweater patterns and knits

Once you have found how you prefer your sweater to fit, it’s time to familiarize you with the different patterns and knits that are available.

Solid pattern sweaters are can be made with one color of thread or sometimes multiple, but they are great for formal occasions thanks to their simplicity.

You can explore more intricate knits, too, such as cable knit or aran sweaters, which are often thicker and have more intricate weave designs. Waffle knits are lighter example of a more complicated knit that still adds a little extra flair.

Sweater styles

There is no shortage of sweater styles for men. From comfortable and casual looks to the more professional and business appropriate looks, there are enough styles to fit a wide variety of settings and preferences.

Crew neck

The classic crew neck has a rounded neck with a close fit. It’s the most popular sweater style and is often thought of as a more casual option. However, the crew neck can be dressed up with a polo or button-down shirt worn underneath for a more business casual approach.

Crew necks come in a wide variety of materials and patterns, meaning a wardrobe can be well-stocked with this style without having too many similar sweaters.


Like the crew neck, v-neck sweaters are also favored for their versatility. Collared shirts fit well underneath a v-neck and even ties can be worn beneath for a very sharp, professional appearance.

V-necks don’t look bad with a simple shirt underneath, either, which makes for a very casual look.

Be wary of v-necks that dip too low, though, as they can be harder to pull off in situations where a little more sophistication is desired.


For some gentlemen, cardigans never went out of style, although they did fall out of favor - we would argue unfairly - for a while. Now, finally, this style of sweater is seeing the comeback it deserves.

Cardigans, especially slimmer fitting styles, have a distinctly classic look. They can be worn over dress shirts, underneath jackets or even some suits. And, of course, you can not go wrong when pairing a tie with a cardigan.

One tip to consider is favoring buttoned cardigans for most situations. Zip-up cardigans are more suitable for relaxed environments and sportswear.

Half zips

When compared to other options, half zip sweaters are newer additions to many men’s wardrobes. This style can be worn with the zipper all the way down, partially up or completely zipped. Most men prefer not to go with the fully zipped look, though.

The half zip can be worn as a top or middle layer of clothing. When worn underneath a jacket, they can function similarly to a turtleneck.


Turtlenecks are another one of those classic sweater styles that are coming back into favor. Tighter-fitting turtlenecks are perfect as a layer added underneath for extra warmth. A more spacious turtleneck is best for layering underneath a jacket or coat.

There are also neck height options when it comes to turtlenecks. Pick a turtleneck style that feels most comfortable for you.

Sweater vests

Most commonly seen paired with a suit or jacket, sweater vests are great in sportswear situations where a little fashion sense can do you favors. Sweater vests are also good choices for milder temperatures where a full sweater may offer too much warmth.

Sweater care tips

You will want to take care of your sweaters, especially higher-end ones. To get the most life out of your sweaters, there are some dos and don’ts.

For example, fold your sweaters neatly instead of hanging them on a hanger in a closet. Pay close attention to labels for washing instructions - and try not to wash too often.

Also, if you notice a loose thread, don’t pull or clip them. That could unwind that portion of the sweater. Instead, try to pull the thread loose through the back of the sweater.

You can also help sweaters that are pilling - that buildup of fuzz - look better by getting a sweater shaver, washing sweaters inside out or trying a gentler laundry detergent.

Quality sweaters are worth it

Not all sweaters are created equal. A sweater from a trusted brand simply has a look and feel that cheaper options can not match.

Shop sweaters of a wide variety of styles from brands known for producing quality men’s clothing, including Peter Millar, Pendleton, Harley of Scotland, St. Croix and more.

Each of the sweaters in our collection has been hand-selected. You are sure to find a sweater style that meets your own demand for comfort and quality.