Best Men’s Sweaters & Cardigans: Stay Comfy & Warm (2020 Review)We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn More.
Finding the right sweater can be tough for a lot of men. Not only do they come in a variety of different styles, but also the material, closure, size, and of course, color are all key things you need to give a minute to think about before hitting that ‘buy now’ button.
In order to help make your choices a bit easier, we rounded up some of the best sweaters for men this season that will not only feel comfortable when worn, but will also be able to withstand the daily demands that you go through every single day.
In addition to going over a few considerations on what you should know when buying a sweater, and some great reviews of sweater brands for men, we are also going to share a few fool-proof style tips in order for you to wear your sweater exceptionally well.
Let’s get started.
In A Hurry? These 9 Are The Best Men's Sweaters & Cardigans
- Best Overall: Sconset Cotton & Cashmere Crew Sweater
- Best Zip Sweater: Mizzen+Main Wooster Zip Sweater
- Best Sweater for Travel: Nordstrom Half Zip Cotton & Cashmere Pullover Sweater
- Best Merino Wool: Bonobos Merino Crew Neck Sweater
- Best Cashmere: Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater
- Best Affordable (Cheap): Amazon Essentials Crew Fleece Sweatshirt
- Best V Neck: Atlas V-Neck Sweater by Ministry of Supply
- Best Cardigan: Aymara Eddy Cardigan
- Best Cotton Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater
What to Know When Buying a Sweater
In order to find the perfect sweater to add to your wardrobe, we identified eight key factors that you should think about before you make your purchase:
As you will find when visiting large online retailers and even when purchasing direct from a company, sweaters will largely fall into three main categories.
Here’s a bit on how each of these differs from one another:
Office / Business Casual
When wearing a sweater to the office, you need to make sure that the sweater is both functional (i.e. it keeps you warm), but also will present well – especially if you have meetings with the higher-ups, clients, or even your staff.
In order to find an office or business sweater that works for you, we recommend going with one that is a bit more tailored in the fit and relies on a breathable material.
Both features (fit and material) will allow the sweater to drape nicely on your body, while also allow for plenty of ventilation if you are in a high stakes meeting.
Whether you are looking for a sweater for weekend wear or just something to lounge around the house in after work, then a casual sweater can fill both needs.
Casual sweaters are often crafted from cotton and will be much looser in their structure.
If you are going for super casual here, you will also want to make sure that the sweater that you decide to purchase can be machine washed and has a crew neck top.
While we discuss colors a bit later, casual cut sweaters will take more bold color or pattern styles for you to express your own creative personality.
While cardigans can sometimes be associated with super casual to even grunge rock wear (Fun fact: Kurt Cobain’s cardigan just recently sold for $334,000), they are also a fixture in business workplace settings as well.
With a front button closure (typically around 5 buttons), it can be worn both buttoned up or unbuttoned to suit your look.
This versatile garment should be a staple in any fashion forward man’s wardrobe.
Also, if you are curious on the differences between cardigans vs. sweaters – we will cover their unique differences later in this guide.
Sleeveless sweaters (also commonly referred to as vests) offer some functional warmth to your body while still providing plenty of movement for your arms.
Found in high end and outdoor centric brands like Patagonia and The North Face, these sleeveless sweaters are great when you are looking for something to wear when going outside for a short bit.
Unlike other sweaters that are to be worn with only an undershirt, sleeveless sweaters must be paired with a button-down shirt in order to look presentable.
Given this requirement of a button-down shirt, sleeveless sweaters are often found in formal office settings rather than casual weekend wear.
2. Neck Style
As we touched on briefly above, sweaters can come in many different neck closures (we counted six in total). Here’s a look at some of the popular cuts and what you should know about them:
One of the most popular options when it comes to sweater neck styles would be the standard crewneck. This versatile style will never look out of place whether you are in a business boardroom meeting or playing some backyard football with the kids.
What men really love about this neck style above all others is the effortless nature of wearing one.
Given that it is cut right to your neckline, you can simply wear an undershirt underneath the sweater and that’s it.
No need for a button down or other type of shirt underneath if you are wearing a crewneck sweater.
While crewneck sweaters are preferred by those who like to be a bit more efficient, the Henley is a great runner up to the crewneck. Henleys offer full coverage of your chest negating any need for a decorative undershirt or dress shirt and can be worn with just simply an undershirt or against your skin.
With the closure held together by three or four buttons, the Henley is a great way to demonstrate a subtle sense of style without looking like you are trying too hard.
We think that this type of sweater neck style is great for those men who want something they can confidently wear to a relaxed office environment or on the weekends.
Mock Neck / Turtleneck
While attaining their peak popularity in the early 90s, turtleneck sweaters for men are starting to make a comeback – big time.
Allowing for coverage up to your Adam’s apple, the turtleneck is highly functional when the temperature really begins to drop.
In addition to providing for some much-needed warmth for your neck, the turtleneck sweater can also be a great fashion statement – especially for those men who live in urban areas like NYC.
Now if you aren’t ready to take the plunge for a turtleneck but still want some functional warmth, then the mock neck makes for a near perfect alterative.
Resting just a bit lower on the neck when compared to the turtleneck, the mock neck provides some warmth without being such an aggressive fashion statement piece.
We think that the mock neck is perfect for those men who are just dipping their toes into adding more fashionable pieces to their wardrobe.
Half Zip / Quarter Zip
A bit more rugged by design, the quarter zip sweater neck style is great for those men who like a bit more utilitarian look to their style.
With a small zipper that can be pulled down to allow for breathability of the sweater, the quarter zip front also makes it easier to take off the sweater when you need to cool down a bit quicker.
Beyond the functional aspects of this neck style found on many sweaters, the quarter zip gives a more outdoorsy appearance – which can allow the sweater to not look out of place when worn outdoors.
Lastly, the zip collar can be easily dressed up or down – making it a terrific pick for those men who want to wear their sweater not just M-F, but also on the weekends.
Commonly found in tandem with cardigans, shawl collars are a folded over piece of fabric that is fastened together (typically with a single button) in order to provide a lapel-like appearance.
The shawl collar is great for those who want a cozy or comfortable lining around your neck. This oversized neck style also provides some functional utility as it can easily block cold winds from the sides of your body.
Up there with crewneck in terms of popularity, the V-neck sweater is a staple in the office work environment. Almost always paired with a button-down shirt, this sweater allows you to layer your clothing for better insulation and appearance.
Now, if you decide to go with a V-neck that is a bit shallow (as opposed to a deep V-neck sweater), you can get away with wearing a simple crewneck undershirt underneath. This will help to increase comfort and insulation.
Of all the choices you need to make when purchasing a sweater or cardigan, perhaps none other is more important than the material or fabric that is used.
As we found in our research, sweaters or cardigans often come in four main types of fabrics – here’s a bit on each along with their key advantages and disadvantages:
From suits to socks, wool is found everywhere thanks in part to its key insulation properties along with it being a natural and sustainably sourced fabric.
When relied upon as a fabric for sweaters, wool will keep you plenty warm when the temperature begins to drop. But one factor about wool that is quite unique compared to many other fibers is its natural ability to wick moisture away from your body.
While most men will wear an undershirt with their sweater, if you decide to wear a wool sweater directly against your skin, any perspiration that may accumulate will be wicked away by the fabric.
Furthermore, wool also oddly enough has anti-odor abilities as well. Therefore, it’s such a relied upon fabric that it is used in hiking socks.
One major downside to wool sweaters that men may have a problem with is the requirement of dry cleaning. Unfortunately, most wool must be brought to the dry cleaners for regular cleaning, as throwing a wool sweater into a washer and dryer may cause extreme shrinkage.
Lastly, there are many types of wool available which include the following:
- Merino Wool
While they generally exhibit similar properties, they may slightly differ from one another.
By far, the most popular fabric within the textile industry would be cotton. Sourced from the cotton plant, this natural fiber offers key breathable features – which can make heavy sweaters quite comfortable to wear without ever feeling too stuffy or warm.
Furthermore, cotton is also a durable fabric and can be thrown into a washer and dryer – significantly lowering its cost of ownership.
It is important to know that not all cotton is the same. There are several varieties of cotton which can alter the appearance and texture of this fabric. A quick look at the Cotton Incorporated website will walk you through the different weaves and types of cotton including flannel, fleece, French terry, plain weave, and more.
Now, one subset of cotton that we wanted to touch on briefly was organic cotton.
While this type of cotton is identical to traditional cotton in the sense of both durability and texture – the key difference between these two types of cotton (i.e. regular cotton vs. organic cotton) is how they are produced and harvested.
Organic cotton differs significantly in that it doesn’t rely on fertilizers or pesticides when grown. Furthermore, organic cotton is sourced sustainably in order to lessen the impact on the environment.
While you shouldn’t expect better performance benefits when buying this more expensive cotton variant, we do think it is a great option for those men who want to ‘vote with their wallet’ and go with a cotton that doesn’t harm the environment.
Very similar to wool, cashmere is another animal derived fabric (in this case goats) that provides welcome properties to any sweater or cardigan.
While this fabric must be dry cleaned just like wool in order to retain its size and overall shape, the biggest difference between this and wool will be the texture.
Cashmere is incredibly soft to the touch and is welcomed by many men as a preferred sweater for the winter months.
While there is nothing wrong with wearing cashmere as a casual piece (in fact many men do wear it like this), we do think that cashmere is better suited for the office environment. The reason being, cashmere drapes on the body better due to the finer and lighter fabric properties (source).
One major downside with cashmere when compared to all other fabrics mentioned thus far would be the cost. The cost for a cashmere sweater typically ranges anywhere between $200 and $1,250.
To try and combat this high price point, many companies may offer cashmere blends, which is simply a dilution of the fabric with something much more price friendly (often cotton).
The last type of material you may see in your sweater search will be manmade or synthetic blends. Often labeled as rayon, polyester, and others – these synthetic blends are often found on fleece sweaters and will provide excellent insulation properties.
Of course, given that these are manmade fibers and are mass produced, their price point is significantly lower when compared to some of the natural and animal sourced fibers mentioned thus far.
Furthermore, manmade fibers are extremely durable – making them a preferred choice for men who are looking for a weekend sweater to wear while doing work around the house or in the garage.
The biggest difference in this fabric compared to others will be their breathability properties. While polyester has significantly improved over the past couple of decades when it comes to performance, cotton and wool will still make for more sensible choices.
One thing that polyester does have going for it – and the reason it’s the fabric of choice for many performance or athleisure brands – is that it can wick away moisture from the body.
Lastly, given that these fabrics are durable, you can toss them into the washer or dryer without having to worry about any change in size or shape of your sweater.
While we touched on a few of these earlier in both the style and neck cut for the sweaters, we wanted to just briefly talk about the different form factors that sweaters or cardigans will come in and how they subtly differ:
Button or cardigan style sweaters will have buttons (typically 5) that can be fastened up or left undone depending on the style you are going for.
This closure for sweaters can be both intensely casual or formal. To put this further in context, both Kurt Cobain and Fred Rodgers wore cardigans (context is everything).
This style of sweater closure also makes it much easier to take on and off – which can be great if you are in tight areas or don’t want to accidentally reveal your stomach to the entire world.
Like the cardigan or button-up sweater, the pullover can make sense in both casual and formal scenarios.
Providing a streamlined appearance, the pullover sweater, when worn to the right size and has been tailored nicely, can make for a great option when you are unsure of what you should wear to an occasion.
As mentioned previously, pullover sweaters are tricky when you want to take them off or put them on in a discrete manner. Whether you are at a business meeting or even a nice evening dinner, putting on or removing a sweater will always be mildly noticeable.
Bridging the gap between a pullover, button closure, and hoodie would be the zip-up sweater. This semi-formal sweater is a great pick for those men looking for an outdoor sweater during the fall and spring months.
The easy-on and easy-off nature of this sweater variety makes it a perfect pick for outdoor wear. However, one major downside to this sweater variety would be the special care required.
Given that zippers are often made from synthetic materials and most quality sweaters are made from natural fabrics – you may have the problem where the natural fabric begins to shrink, and the zipper doesn’t.
This can cause the zipper to look rippled or no longer lie straight on your body after only a few washes – so make sure to read the care instructions when getting a sweater with a zipper closure.
When finding the right size for your sweater, it’s important to always follow the company recommendations.
To help you out a bit, we wanted to share this great size guide we found on the Nordstrom website that should help to guide you in the right direction:
When looking at regular sized sweaters, you will find that most will come in sizes between XS to XXL. Again, go with the one that is sized for your body, so it won’t look too large or baggy.
Big & Tall
While we do look at sweaters that will wear well for big or tall men in our reviews, mostly sold by specialty retailers, we wanted to make note that large stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom may offer greater size varieties in line with existing products.
Therefore, we would recommend that you look at their size filters (often on the left side of the webpage) for any of these large retailers to find a sweater to fit your naturally larger frame.
Sweaters come in many different colors and patterns.
If you are buying a sweater for daily wear or in an office setting, we would recommend that you go with a conservative color choice for starters.
This includes black, gray, navy, beige, burgundy, and more.
Patterned or specially knit sweaters that provide differing color options are great secondary sweaters to add to your expanding wardrobe.
Common patterns men like to go with here include argyle, plaid, holiday inspired and more.
We would recommend that you exercise some restraint on these pattern choices as sweaters by themselves aren’t fashion statement pieces.
Baseball / Color block / Varsity Pullover Style
Baseball or color block sweaters are great casual picks for the weekend. This type of sweater will feature two major colors that contrast with one another throughout the sweater (i.e. black and gray).
With the sleeves, neck, and bottom trim in one color and the chest in another, this unique style of sweater is great for men who want some level of contrast and not feel like they are wearing one single color that looks or feels imposing.
The brand and materials used in the making of the sweater or cardigan can have a large impact on the price. With 100% cashmere sweaters costing as much as $1,500, it makes sense to set expectations ahead of time and go with a sweater that is priced right for you.
Based on our research and reviews of a variety of sweaters available, we found that the sweet spot for most brands will be priced between $50 and $250 for a sweater.
On the lower end of this range you will have affordable natural fibers such as cotton whereas the higher end will largely be made from wool and cotton/cashmere blends.
Shopping below the $50 price point often results in sweaters or cardigans that rely heavily on synthetic fibers, which won’t be nearly as comfortable as the natural fibers covered in this guide.
Unless you are buying a sweater for a fashion piece, many of the more popular picks out there offer very little (if any) branding on the sweater itself.
If anything, you may only have a little alligator (Lacoste) or polo player (Polo Ralph Lauren) embroidered on the chest and that’s about it.
Our point being here is that you shouldn’t buy a sweater based on brand name alone – instead, purchase a sweater based on the materials used in its construction along with the preferred style that you want.
With that being said, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on a few brands that are popular among men.
Based on our research we found the following brands to be among the most popular sweater brands for men:
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Tommy Hilfiger
- INC International Concepts
- Banana Republic / Gap
- Brooks Brothers
…and many more.
The Best Sweaters for Men of 2020 Reviewed
1 Best Overall: Sconset Cotton & Cashmere Crew Sweater
One of the best sweaters for men that we came across during our research was the Sconset Crew by Faherty.
This marled and super soft blend of fabric makes for a sweater that is both incredibly soft and comfortable.
Available in three conservative colors:
- Navy Heather
- Light Gray Heather
- Black Heather
You have a textured looking sweater that can easily be dressed up with a pair of good-fitting chinos, or down with a nice pair of skinny jeans.
In addition to the fabric and color choice of this pullover sweater, the small details are what really sets it apart from many others – most notably the athletic v-patch underneath the neck along with a ribbed collar, cuff, and hem that will wear nicely with time.
The slightly tailored fit to this sweater should also work on most men’s bodies without ever feeling too puffy or tight. Faherty makes this sweater in six different sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
If it’s your first time ordering from Faherty, it’s good to know that shipping is free and that they offer a free 60-day return window.
- Great sweater from a family-owned business
- Cotton and cashmere blend will feel nice and comfortable
- Small details bring this sweater together
- A bit pricey (but worth it)
2 Best Zip Sweater: Mizzen+Main Wooster Zip Sweater
Maker of fine non-iron dress shirts and blazers (as we recently discussed at length in our review of Mizzen+Main), they are quickly becoming one of the go-to brands for men who want professional clothing that offers both quality and performance.
While they are primarily known for their dress shirts and their 4-way stretch performance fabric, they carry this same technology over to their Best-Selling Wooster pullovers.
Comprised of a blend of cotton (55%), modal (40%) and polyester (5%), you have a sweater that offers a terrific level of movement, fabric that won’t pill with time, along with moisture wicking properties to keep your skin feeling dry and comfortable.
Despite the lack of cashmere or wool within the fabric itself, the fabric has been treated in a way that is ultra-soft.
Best worn with a button down underneath, this quarter zip sweater comes in 4 conservative color choices that all present nicely.
One aspect about this sweater that we really liked was the size and fit options. Available in sizes SM to XXL and in a trim fit – it will form to the natural contours of your body without being too restrictive in any area.
- Trim fit looks and presents nicely
- 4-way stretch is a gamechanger
- Moisture wicking fabric keeps you cool
- Best only for a sophisticated look
3 Best Sweater for Travel: Nordstrom Half Zip Cotton & Cashmere Pullover Sweater
This half zip pullover sweater by Nordstrom is the perfect garment to wear for men looking to bridge the gap between a formal sweater and light outdoor wear.
With a blend of cotton (95%) and cashmere (5%), it also will feel incredibly soft against the skin.
With color options including Grey Oil Heather and Burgundy Fudge Heather, this pullover has a conservative color palette that should work well for office or formal settings. At the time of publication, there are eight colors that you can choose from.
When looking at the collar, cuff, and hem, it is ribbed, which will help to ensure that the sweater remains in the right places throughout the day without too much shifting about.
Nordstrom does state that this is a sweater that has a regular fit. So, you can expect a bit more room in the chest and body for added comfort.
Lastly, and perhaps the strongest feature of this sweater is its size options. This sweater comes in the following sizes:
- Regular: X-Small to XX-Large
- Tall: Large to 2XLT
- Big: 3X-Large to 4X-Large
No matter how big or small your body is, you should have no problem finding the right size for you.
- Wide selection of size and color options
- Inexpensive given cashmere composition
- Machine washable
- Might not be the best for casual use
4 Best Merino Wool: Bonobos Merino Crew Neck Sweater
Merino wool is a natural fabric that is often sought after in sweaters given both its soft texture and its moisture wicking properties. It will allow you to feel comfortable in any scenario or environment.
While the merino wool composition (100%) of this sweater is one of the reasons for its inclusion on this list – another is its ability to be washed.
Unlike so many other merino wool sweaters that, once washed, begin to lose their shape and shrink instantly, this sweater by Bonobos will resist such tendencies. The care instructions are a slight bit more laborious when compared to cotton sweaters – you will need to put the sweater into cold water (with like colors) and then take out after washing and then lay flat and reshape (suggested) to dry.
Should any wrinkles form on the surface during the drying process, a cool iron should be able to remove most of them.
Beyond the washable merino wool composition, other standout features of this sweater are both the color and fit options.
Available in ten different colors and coming in slim or standard fits – you should have no problem finding a sweater that works for your body.
Furthermore, this sweater does come in sizes between XS and XXL.
Lastly, we think that this pullover merino wool sweater is a versatile pick that can be either dressed up or worn casually without ever looking out of place, given that it has a standard crew neck and ribbed closures on the cuffs and hem.
For those on the fence about Bonobos as a company, we would recommend that you check out our Bonobos review article, as we researched them at length.
- Washable merino wool will always look and feel great
- Wide color selection
- Available in slim and standard fits
5 Best Cashmere: Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater
Some brands can demand a $1,000+ price tag for a 100% cashmere sweater – which is understandably too expensive for most men.
However, it doesn’t always have to be that way – especially if you know where to look.
If you want a quality cashmere sweater and aren’t looking to mortgage the house for one, then the best pick out there would be the Cashmere Crew by Everlane.
Known widely for their undershirts, which we talked about at great length in our full review of Everlane, they carry that same quality and transparency forward with this cashmere sweater.
When looking at the composition of the fabric itself, you will find the following:
- Body of Sweater: 100% Cashmere
- Trimmings (neckline, cuffs and hem): 90% Cashmere, 9% Nylon, 1% Spandex
This results in a sweater that will feel incredibly comfortable against your body throughout the entire day.
While the trimmings do feature some hybrid materials in order to allow for the sweater to stay fixed against your skin, the composition is fairly light and shouldn’t alter how the sweater ages with time.
Equally impressive about this sweater is the color and size options that are available. With thirteen different colors and six different sizes (XS to XXL) most men should have no problem finding one they like with this sweater.
If there were any downsides to this sweater it would simply be about the fit. Unlike some of the other sweaters reviewed, this cashmere crew only comes in slim fit varieties. This means that there is a slight taper inward on the side of the body.
Should you be a bit larger around the mid-section, you may want to choose the next size up to ensure a non-restrictive fit. Furthermore, Everlane does provide a size chart on their site if you want to double-check before making your order.
- 100% Cashmere body will feel great against your skin
- Wide color variety
- Limited fit options (slim fit only)
6 Best Affordable (Cheap): Amazon Essentials Crew Fleece Sweatshirt
Amazon has quickly made a splash in the men’s fashion world by offering quality clothes at rock bottom prices. This couldn’t be more true than when taking a look at their crewneck fleece sweatshirt.
Available in a multitude of colors and patterns (we lost count at 20) – you should have no problem finding the right sweater to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for one that is to be worn to a relaxed office environment, or you are simply looking for a sweater to wear on the weekends – the style options are wide.
In addition to the color and pattern picks available, Amazon does offer this sweater in six different sizes (X-SM to XX-L).
Given that this is a budget-friendly sweater, there are inevitably going to be a few compromises, most notably around the construction and composition of the sweater itself.
Relying on a blend of cotton (52%) and polyester (48%), it won’t be nearly as breathable as some of the other picks on our list, but still should be quite warm and comfortable.
Furthermore, there is no back yoke to allow for increased movement range – not a dealbreaker for most, but is worth noting.
- Wide variety of color and patterns to pick from
- Will feel warm
- No big and tall options available
7 Best V Neck: Atlas V-Neck Sweater by Ministry of Supply
Ministry of Supply is quickly becoming one of the emerging brands within the world of men’s fashion – and it is easy to see why.
Their Atlas V-Neck Sweater was designed with men in mind by delivering expert craftsmanship at an affordable price.
While there is a lot to talk about with this sweater, let’s first start with its construction:
- Versatile V-Neck: Whether you are looking for a sweater for casual wear or to the office, the V-neck can pair nicely with a simple undershirt or button-down shirt. It doesn’t go too deep to where you would ever feel self-conscious about your chest hair showing.
- Unique Fabric Blend: Made from an extra-fine micron wool blend (49%) coupled with polyester (49%) and lycra (2%) it provides unique properties not commonly found in sweaters.
- Machine Washable: With the blend of fabrics, you can throw this sweater into the washer to get it clean. Just make sure that you lay it flat to dry.
- Curved Back Yoke: Often found on more luxurious sweaters, the curved back yoke allows for a more comfortable fit that is also stylish.
- Ventilation: One unique feature about this sweater that Ministry of Supply has added is the inclusion of ventilation areas throughout the sweater. This proprietary feature allows for this sweater to be worn year round.
When reviewing the sweater and color options – they are a bit limited compared to some of the other sweater brands reviewed.
For colors you only have a choice between Grey Static and Navy Static. The sweater only comes sized between XS and XXL – no big or tall options are available.
- Designed and built for comfort
- Ventilation allows for year-round comfort
- Fabric should be durable
- Limited color choices
8 Best Cardigan: Aymara Eddy Cardigan
If you are looking for the classic cardigan that is both warm and comfortable to wear, then one of the best picks out there will be the Eddy Cardigan by Aymara.
Made from an alpaca fiber blend in Peru, it is an authentic cardigan that will keep you warm when the temperatures begin to drop.
Available in two colors – grey and pine – it is a neutral pick that can work for both casual and relaxed office settings.
Given that this doesn’t have a tailored fit (only standard fit here) along with a roomy mid-section, gives it a more relaxed and lounging feel. The lapel, hem, and cuffs are all ribbed to allow for a snug fit without feeling too constricted.
Available in four different sizes (S – XL) it is true to size and should work for the average built man.
As for the company, Aymara is a family-owned business that is based in Peru and sources their fibers in a sustainable manner.
- Classic relaxed cardigan
- Ribbed trims on shawl, hem and cuffs give structure
- 5 button closure is versatile
9 Best Cotton Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater
This textured cotton crewneck sweater by Polo Ralph Lauren is our pick for the best cotton sweater money can buy.
Made from 100% long staple cotton, it offers a soft texture that is highly breathable.
Available in seven different colors, you can find one that will work for your unique style. For the neck, cuffs, and bottom hem, Polo Ralph Lauren used a rib-knit hem to make the cotton naturally elastic-like. By not relying on any blend or other synthetic fabrics, you will have a sweater that will continue to carry its shape after several washes.
Speaking of washing instructions, unlike so many wool sweaters that need to be treated carefully, given that this is made from cotton, you can simply toss it into a washer and dryer (with like colors of course) in order to clean – no special trips to the dry cleaner here.
Lastly, for those men who like a bit of branding on their clothes, the signature Polo Ralph Lauren pony is embroidered on the left chest.
- A traditional and reliable cotton sweater
- 7 colors should be enough for anyone to choose from
- Subtle branding is a nice touch
- Pricey for cotton
This super-warm and super comfortable Henley by Duluth Trading is the perfect sweater for casual winter wear.
With a thick composition of cotton (60%) and polyester (40%), it works well to keep the heat in and the moisture out.
But what really sets this Henley sweater apart from others, and the primary reason for its inclusion on this list, has to do with the construction of the sweater itself.
With a honeycomb texture, the sweater’s fleece-like polyester lining is bonded to the fabric in order to prevent any bunching. This results in a sweater that has a great body and shape that will always present well.
Furthermore, the armpits have gussets – additional fabric for movement – which is great for the men out there that don’t like their stomach hanging out when they go to reach for something above their head.
While the texture and appearance of this shirt is a bit thicker and rugged than most on our list, we think it is an ideal candidate for weekend or casual wear – which is a common occasion for all Henley sweaters.
Sizes on this Henley do skew a bit larger (M-3XL) making it great for average to bigger men.
Colors are a bit limited (three in total), especially compared to some of the other sweaters reviewed.
- Rugged Henley sweater for casual wear
- Smart design to increase movement
- Incredibly warm and comfortable
- Limited color and size options
How to Store & Wear Sweaters & Cardigans
When owning a quality sweater, it’s important that you know how to care for it properly. Therefore, we wanted to share with you a few tips on cleaning and caring for your new sweater:
4 Tips for Proper Sweater Cleaning & Storage
1. Read the Care Instructions
As you saw in our reviews, caring for sweaters can be really tricky as they are made from a variety of different fabrics. Therefore, you will want to make sure that you read the tag on the sweater on how to wash it properly.
Here’s a couple general tips to know:
- Cotton and Cotton Blends (With Synthetic Fabrics): can be thrown in both the washer and dryer without any issues.
- Wool or Any Animal Derived Fabric: Must be handled carefully. These sweaters often can go into the washer but then must lay flat to dry.
2. Sweater Drying Racks for Quick & Flat Results
Whether you own one sweater or several, sweater drying racks offer a stackable and compact area to dry all clothes that can’t be thrown into the dryer.
Typically costing no more than $20, they are well worth the investment as it is a clean and airy surface that makes for better (and often iron-free) results.
3. Sweater Hangers Help to Prevent Bumps
If you don’t want your sweater to develop strange bumps in the shoulder areas, then padded hangers that have been designed for sweaters are a great choice.
These soft edge hangers distribute the pressure on the fabric allowing the sweater to look nice when worn – this is especially important given that sweaters are a seasonal item and may remain on a hanger for several months.
You can typically pick these up for under $20 bucks at any online retailer or brick-and-mortar department store.
4. If Not Hung, Store Your Sweaters Properly
For those men who have limited closet space or simply want to pack all their items away when the winter season is over, then sweater storage bags offer great protection of your clothes during the off months.
Often made with zip closures, sweater storage bags prevent moths or other bugs from eating the fabric and destroying your nice sweaters.
This is an optional purchase of course, but one worth thinking about depending on your own unique situation.
How to Wear a Sweater Fashionably
Here’s a few tips on getting the most from your sweater:
1. It’s All About Intent When Wearing a Sweater
When it comes to wearing a sweater, it really depends on intent – largely a decision between formal or casual. If you are wearing a sweater to a formal occasion, make sure that you double it up with a button down underneath – especially if wearing a V-neck.
If you are wearing a half-zip sweater, then you may be able to get away with an undershirt (although some men may wear button downs underneath these as well).
For casual wear, simple pullovers are more than enough.
Given that some fabrics may be itchier than others, you may want to consider wearing an undershirt with the pullover.
2. Dressing a Sweater Up or Down with Pants
The sweater that you wear is only one part of the equation when it comes to presenting yourself nicely. The other half, of course, will be the pants and shoes (more on this next).
Depending on the sweater that you own, if you are looking to present yourself in a more formal or even business casual style, then pairing a sweater or cardigan with a pair of chinos or dark denim jeans can work well.
If you really want to go all out, wearing a sweater with quality dress pants is acceptable.
On the other end of the spectrum, wearing your sweater with distressed or ripped denim, sweatpants, joggers, and more can also work. Just make sure that if you go this route, a looser fitting sweater that is more relaxed in both the style and fit will make better sense here.
3. Pulling Together Your Style Through Shoes
While pants help balance out your style, shoes are a subtle way to bring everything together.
For sophistication we would recommend going with a pair of men’s Cheslea boots. If you want a more rugged or natural look that is a balance between both formal and casual, then leather chukka boots paired with a full-grain leather belt will be a great pick.
Of course, for those looking to go completely casual, then minimalist or plain shoes work as well.
Men’s Sweaters FAQs
What are some tips for wearing a collared shirt under a sweater?
In order to wear a button-down or collared shirt under a sweater, you need to have a stiff and rigid collar.
Often found in more formal button-downs, these stiff bodied collars can withstand any pressure that the sweater may apply to it while wearing. Casual collars on the other hand, lack structure and will begin to wrinkle or falter with time.
Adding a tie is a great way to reinforce the collar of your dress shirt so it remains up while wearing under a sweater.
Lastly, having your dress shirt treated with a little starch when dropped off at the dry cleaners or treated when ironing in the morning is another way to help reinforce its structure.
Is wearing a V-neck t-shirt under a V-neck sweater a fashion faux pas?
For the most part, yes – you shouldn’t wear a V-neck t-shirt under a V-neck sweater. The reason being is that the intent of both shirts is completely different:
- V-Neck T-Shirts: These are intended to be worn in tandem with athletic wear as it will help to absorb sweat.
- V-Neck Sweaters: These are intended to be worn with either button-down collared shirts or crew undershirts.
Another reason that it’s best to skip on this style is that it may expose a significant amount of chest hair – which according to our research, is a polarizing sight for some women.
Do people still tie their sweaters around their waist?
Yes, as evident in many posts on Instagram, many men and women tie their sweaters around their waist.
Now we would recommend caution around this as it is a very casual look that is best suited for fashion forward men in the late teens and early 20s.
This look was synonymous with the early 90s with grunge era rock bands, of which have seen a cultural resurgence lately.
What color pants work with brown sweaters?
If the intent here is a formal look, then we would recommend that you wear a brown sweater with either light tan dress pants or even a charcoal or dark gray pair of chinos.
For a more informal look, pairing a brown sweater with dark denim jeans is a timeless look that will also be stylish.
Why do people with shirts tie sweaters around their shoulders?
The same reason that people tie their sweater around their waist – it’s a fashion statement at the other end of the spectrum.
Often associated with a more preppy look, a nice sweater tied around the shoulders paired with a nice button-down dress shirt and trousers or chinos can look nice when executed properly.
Is it ok to wear a sweater with a suit?
Many men wear sweaters with suits. The key point here though is to make sure that you wear the right type of sweater that pairs well. Therefore, you will want to go with a sweater that is lightweight and relies on a much finer and softer fabric – often cashmere – as it will present well on your body.
How do polyester sweaters differ from cotton sweaters?
Polyester and cotton fibers are starkly different from one another. Polyester does a great job at retaining heat while also wicking moisture away from your skin.
Furthermore, polyester is much more durable than cotton and can withstand many cycles in the washer and dryer without losing its shape. It’s due to these properties that polyester is a preferred fabric choice for many activewear brands.
Cotton, on the other hand, is highly breathable and is a comfortable and natural fabric. Cotton sweaters are great layering pieces and can easily be worn in either formal or informal settings.
Sweater vs. Sweatshirt vs. Cardigan vs. Hoodie
As you research a variety of different sweaters, sweatshirts, cardigans, and hoodies, you might start to wonder how they differ from one another.
Therefore, to help answer any questions, here’s their subtle (and not so subtle) differences:
Sweaters are made much differently from sweatshirts and hoodies. Often knitted or crocheted, they are texturally much thicker and have greater body to the fabric.
Sweaters are traditionally made from wool and are designed to be comfortable and to keep you warm during the winter months.
From the onset, sweatshirts are structurally very similar to sweaters. They come in several of the same fits and neck styles – often further leading to their confusion from one another.
The key difference between sweaters and sweatshirts will be the source of fabric and how they are made. Sweatshirts are often made from cotton or cotton-blends (typically polyester) and are made for activewear and casual wear.
Sweatshirts still do have a comfortable inner fleece lining that will feel great against the skin, while also having a tougher or textured exterior to increase durability.
Cardigans are much like sweaters in that they are often crocheted or knitted and have a much heavier texture to the fabric. Also commonly relying on wool or other natural animal hair fibers, cardigans can be easily dressed up or down.
With a button closure on the front, they allow for greater air flow and are much easier to take on and off. Cardigans can feature other design characteristics including thicker shawl lapels, and even a raised neck for added warmth – a feature typically never found on sweaters or sweatshirts (with the exception being mock neck or turtleneck styles).
Carrying many of the same properties as a sweatshirt – in that they are often made from cotton or cotton/polyester blends, hoodies bridge the gap of being both a sweatshirt and outerwear piece of clothing.
The most notable difference between these two pieces of clothing (sweatshirt vs. hoodie) will, of course, be the inclusion of the hood.
Providing protection from the elements or for purely fashionable reasons, a comfy men’s hoodie is a versatile piece of clothing that can also keep you plenty warm.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Sweaters for Men
After careful research and consideration, we have found for you the best and most comfortable sweaters for men in 2020. With so many great picks available to men in a variety of different styles, fabrics, and price points, we think that the list we put together should have some great picks for just about any man out there.
We hope that you found this review and guide helpful in your search for a new favorite sweater.