Whether you are dressing up or going for comfort, the sweater is one of the most versatile pieces in a man’s wardrobe. Whether it is around 20 degrees or below 10 degrees where you live, there is a sweater for every occasion. As the winter sets in, it is time to analyze the sweaters’ fabric and fit.
Possibly the most important factor in selecting a sweater is choosing the proper fabric. In case of too light you will be bone cold and with too heavy you will be sweating in heat. So nailing the fabric is paramount. Nine times out of ten natural fibers will look better, feel better, and last longer than sweaters full of synthetic material. Look out for nylon, rayon, polyester and the like. Natural fibers will cost more but the investment over time will serve you well. Some of the most common fabrics and weights include:
Sheep Wool: It is probably the most used fabric for sweaters behind cotton. There are many different types which all have varying degrees of softness and warmth.
Cashmere: This wool, which comes from goats, is the epitome of luxury. Every man deserves to have the enjoyment of feeling cashmere against his skin.
Cotton: It’s a very common material, which is durable, lightweight and cool. This is what you wear in the spring and summer to ward off the late night chill. Mostly used in casual dressing it can also be dressed up appropriately if done well.
Linen: This is strictly for warm weather wear. It is light, breathable, and absorbs moisture much better than cotton. Most men are fearful of linen because it wrinkles, but this helps keep you cool.
Silk: It’s rare to find sweaters made of 100% silk, but it is used as an insulator and to add a bit of refinement. Silk is soft and durable but also retains heat well. Look for it combined with other fabrics.
Blends: Blending the above materials makes sweaters either lighter and cooler, or heavier and warmer depending on the content. Putting together high end materials like cashmere, silk, and wool will produce a more refined and classy product.
The first aspect of fit when it comes to sweaters is the neckline. Most men are only familiar with a few of them. Here are some things to consider:
Crew neck: What 90% of men wear, but in our opinion it is severely overused. Originally worn by rowing, boating and crew members, it is the best style.
V-neck: It allows the tie to be shown off as well as an open collar in casual environments. V-necks flatter every man and should be worn often.
Turtleneck: This sweater does not get nearly as much attention from most men as it should. The key to wearing it is to get the right roll at the neck and to never tuck it in.
Roll neck: It is often confused with the turtleneck. It’s actually more like its cousin. It’s a combo of both. It commonly comes with a high collar with the edge rolled a bit. It is inherently worn casually.
Shawl Collar: It is most common in cardigans, but can be seen in other forms as well. Wear it casually, dressed up, or for comfort as a replacement for a hoodie.
Set in sleeve: A sleeve that is sewn onto the body, essentially sewing two separate pieces of fabric together. Set in sleeves are more professional because of the use of seams and extra stitching.
Sweater vest: Similar to most v-necks, but lacking sleeves, sweater vests make a great layering option for suits.
Once you are sure about the fabric and fit, only then you may go for experimenting about colours and think about stitch and price.