5 Sophisticated Ways To Wear Casual Sweaters
Breaking It Down
Sweaters are far more playful fashion pieces than most men tend to think. A sweater is a stylish way to layer up a blazer-chino look, while wearing a coloured or printed sweater on its own gives life to a noiseless tee and jeans outfit.
Texture is important too, which relates to the quality of yarn used in making the sweater. Natural fibres will keep their shape better and be warmer (and breathe better) looking to wool, cashmere and cotton blends. Play with ribbing, cable and waffle knit varieties adding depth to neutral coloured sweaters, especially when worn solo over a cotton shirt and slim-fit trousers or as a waistcoat replacement with a suit.
Finally – the fit. A smart sweater should follow the contours of the body with the elastic waistband sitting easy – not too tight. And the cuffs at the wrist should be fitted enough to push the sleeves upward along the arm (when suitable), the cuff staying in place. When layering under a jacket, keep the sweater slimmer still. And when worn alone, more room is permissible. But there’s nothing smart casual about oversized sloppiness.
Here are the top five sweater types for men this season, ensuring the modern man knows how to wear the smart casual sweater – from the office, to the bar, to the city streets.
#1 The Crew Neck
Starting things off, the crew neck is the most classic and versatile smart sweater style on the market. The crew neck plays a dual role in smart men’s fashion this season: as layering piece or on its own.
Under tailoring, keep the knit slim and trim, opting for cashmere or a light wool weave to eliminate bulkiness under a blazer. When wearing a formal shirt, the rise of the round neck line will obscure the chest area so drop the tie for a minimal look. Otherwise, make the tie knot the feature – opting for a woven neck piece wrapped in a statement windsor knot. Finish the look with a pair of perfect fit trousers and brogues.
Solo crew necks become focal points on their own. Look to waffle knit or ribbed varieties in earthy neutral hues – the organic browns, creams, and greys will complement the rustic weave of the chunkier sweater – adding texture. Now, just add some tapered denim and a pair of luxury sneakers.
#2 The V-Neck
In close proximity to the aforementioned crew neck, the v-neck is a staple knit type. Suitable for the larger gent (or the small in statue) the v caters gives the illusion of length and a leaner appearance – from the chest to the top of the head.
Unlike the crew neck, wearing a tie to work is more – allowing you to relish in a nicely chosen woven or polka got print straight tie and a pairing with a muted pastel shirt – adding some Pitti Uomo-style to the office.
But there are some rules – keep the v at a graceful length and like the crew neck, play around with colour when layering under a blazer. For the weekend, wear the v-neck in a dark neutral over a monochrome white tee with jeans.
#3 The Roll Neck
Also known as the turtleneck, polo neck or skivvy, the roll neck is this season’s biggest comeback sweater for men. It doesn’t return without strict guidelines, however. Channelling it’s European origins – be it the intellectual or the artist – the roll neck looks dapper under a cotton blazer in contrast colour block, over light trousers. Hiding the collar of the shirt, a scarf is a neckwear touch instead of a tie.
Looking to Steve McQueen, place the roll neck sweater under a leather perfecto – making the modern rocker more of a chic badass than aimless renegade. Or look to knit-on-knit perfection with a merino wool fine gauge roll neck under a luxury cardigan.
Play around with texture – ribbed or marl varieties – especially when paired with the matte finish of a dark cotton blazer or leather jacket.
#4 The Shawl Collar
It may have dropped in popularity in recent seasons, but the shawl collar is a classic sweater neckline that still works – especially with tailoring.
Under a blazer, the shawl collar adds some height and depth to a flat lapel – acting as a neckerchief or small scarf in creating visual ruffle against a simple tie and shirt ensemble at work.
Worn solo, the shawl collar stands tall in the smart casual arena – paired in preppy fashion with chino shorts and boat shoes for a weekend drive or with dark denim and white sneakers for an urban attitude.
#5 The Scoop Neck
The open fall and drape of the scoop neck makes it the most relaxed of the smart casual sweater options this season. Keeping the proportions on par with tailored pieces, the scoop neck sweater should be worn slightly larger on its own, paired effortlessly with woollen jogger pants or dark denim. The textured rib of the knit adds volume and definition to a monotone variety, looking to forest green, burgundy and mustard yellow for dressier colours this season.
Under a suit, play around with graphic prints, selecting patterns that portray a sense of depth the eye in cool tones of earth like blue, black, brown, green and grey. Matching a pocket square to the dominant hue in the print will synchronise the ensemble, particularly with a neutral suit like navy.
Chelsea boots suit both creatively smart looks – interchanging jeans for trousers depending on how formal the event is you’re attending.