The men’s cardigan has been a wardrobe staple for generations, but many men just don’t know how to wear a cardigan or how to style it without looking dated.
Cardigans are a true classic, and they can be styled to look modern and sleek if you know how. Men’s cardigans come in a wide range of styles, from a shawl collar to a cardigan sweater and can be worn for different occasions from business casual to a formal preppy look with a classic shirt and tie combo.
For many men cardigan styles can be difficult to find in the right cut and size to work with your overall aesthetic. So we’ve rounded up some men’s cardigan styles that can work for anyone and we’ll show you how to wear a cardigan that works for you.
Rocking The Long Cardigan
Longline cardigans are like a great coat, except you don’t have to take it off indoors. Sounds perfect, right? A long men’s cardigan will elongate your torso, making you appear taller and slimmer, and keep you warm without looking bulky.
If you’re not sure how to wear a long cardigan, keep it simple. Find a neutral-coloured, fitted knit cardigan and wear it with a simple T-Shirt and jeans for a casual look that will turn heads for all the right reasons. If you’re looking for cardigan outfits that are more formal, find a more structured long cardigan which can work like a long blazer or coat over a shirt and tailored trousers. Or pair it with white chinos and a shirt for a more business casual look.
Keep It Casual With An Oversized Cardigan
The fit of a men’s cardigan is key to your overall aesthetic. For cardigans with a more casual style, opt for a thinner cardigan with a shawl collar. If you try chunky wool knit that’s also oversized, you risk looking unkempt. So it’s a good rule to find thinner cardigans with a looser fit and thicker cardigans with a snugger fit. This rule can be applied to any kind of sweater – not just cardigans! Oversized cardigans are a perfect daytime sweater that will give you a unique, modern look.
Knowing how to wear a baggy cardigan will really up to your casualwear game, without looking like you’re trying too hard. Sports style cardigans are foolproof for these more casual styles to give your outfits an athleisure twist. Look for a varsity cardigan for a more American aesthetic, or a cricket cardigan to look classically British. Find a fine-knit cotton cardigan and try styling it with a basic T-Shirt, your favourite sunglasses and a pair of trainers.
How About A Coloured Cardigan?
A splash of colour is a must-have for all men to add some vibrancy and personality to your wardrobe. For men who are a little cautious when it comes to the cardigan, master how to wear a grey cardigan or how to wear a white cardigan first. These pieces will be easier to incorporate into your current wardrobe and help you find the style you like best.
But once you’re comfortable, why not push the boat out a little? Wear a cardigan in a dark green, rust orange or burgundy for a great autumn aesthetic, or find colours you already wear in a sweater or coat, and start there. Pair it with a neutral collared shirt or T-Shirt for a brighter, fun cardigan look.
Styling Patterned and Printed Cardigans
Want to take a step up from colour? Patterns and prints are a great way to express your personal style, and a cardigan sweater is perfect for this. Many men want to know how to wear a striped cardigan, but there are so many more patterns and prints to try. For a cosy winter look, try a fairisle cardigan with a shawl collar. Shawl style cardigans are perfect for a casual preppy outfit, just find a shirt that sits comfortably underneath.
If fairisle isn’t for you, you can find an alternative Scandinavian-inspired print cardigan which will look chic for winter every year. Or if you want something that works year-round, find a colour-block or sport inspired cardigan. Many men opt for a varsity or cricket cardigan to get a more masculine, athletic cardigan look.
Dressing Up A Men’s Cardigan
A cardigan sweater doesn’t always need to be casual. Keep more formal outfits looking cool (but still warm) by pairing a knit cardigan with a dress shirt or as an extra layer under a blazer. Add a tie as well to take your formal cardigan outfits up a notch You can add a cardigan into any of your usual suit outfits to give it a different twist. They give formalwear a preppy edge that will set you apart from the crowd and get you noticed in all the right ways.
If you want to know how to wear a cashmere cardigan, this look is the best way to show it off. A shawl collar cardigan layered with your shirt collar will elevate your style while keeping you as cosy and comfortable as your casual outfits. This look works best if you wear a cardigan that is fitted (particularly at your shoulders). Find cardigans that button up and have a shawl collar, and keep it simple.
Like most garments, you can find cardigans in lots of different shapes, cuts and styles. A simple cardigan is simple to style, but why not find something more outside the box? If you’re looking for how to wear a sleeveless cardigan or maybe how to wear a zip up cardigan, we recommend incorporating it into a more formal suit under a black blazer. There’s a fine line between a killer preppy look and looking like a grandad. To keep it modern, find a cardigan that is well fitted and pair it with a fitted shirt.
The best way to make sleeveless cardigans work is in a three-piece suit as an alternative to a waistcoat. With a grey, navy or black suit, you can use a cardigan to add a pop of colour and make it a unique and memorable style. Or find a textured cardigan like a cable knit or plaited pattern to add some subtle flair. If you wear glasses (or even if you don’t), this can give your formal outfits that sexy professor look that – let’s be honest – all men want to be able to pull off. Learn how to wear a cardigan with jeans or chinos as a more casual suit option, or dress it up with tailored trousers, for a timeless formal look.
Fasten Your Seatbelts
Most men’s cardigan styles are either unfastenable or opt for the classic button-down fastening – but it’s a detail that shouldn’t be overlooked. Cardigans without fastenings offer a simple, clean look that can work well in place of a blazer or casual sweater. But buttons can add a fun detail to your cardigans effortlessly. Metal buttons almost work like an easy accessory and add an edge to your look. Or if you’re going for the Scandinavian winter style, a wooden toggle is a great way to take it to the next level. If you worry about looking older in a cardigan, stay away from larger wooden buttons and opt for something without a fastening or with modern metal buttons.
To Zip Or Not To Zip
If you want to find something that’s less of a sweater style and more of a jacket, a zip-up cardigan is a great option. Wear it open over a T-Shirt or keep it zipped for a clean outdoor look. Many men find a zipped cardigan easier to incorporate into their current wardrobe in place of a bomber jacket or denim jacket, or to have something lighter to reach for when it’s not quite cold enough for a coat.
Zip-up cardigans can also work well under a blazer, particularly cardigans with a shawl neckline. If you’re worried it’s making you look old or dated, avoid browns and beiges and find an understated yet modern colour like a dark red or navy, and steer clear of cable knits or argyle patterns.
Attention Men: Cardigan Styles Low-Down
Any man can incorporate a great cardigan into their wardrobe. If you’re still apprehensive about trying a cardigan sweater, keep it simple. Get a basic, neutral cardigan and play with swapping it in place of a regular jumper or blazer. Or find a sleeveless version and try it instead of a waistcoat. Once you’ve dipped your toe in, you’ll be reaching for your best staple cardigan all year round.
Feature image from Pinterest