Why should men wear sweaters?

One word.


Sweaters are the perfect middle man between casual and formal.

They can be paired with blazers and slacks…

or jeans and a t-shirt.

And the best part?

They’re attractive on men.

But… all sweaters are not created equal.

This article is going to cover the different men’s sweater types and which are most attractive to wear.


Click Here To Watch The Video – 10 ESSENTIAL Sweater Styles Every Man Needs To Know

Common Sweater Styles For Men

Form follows function, and in the case of sweaters form often is function. Just because something’s called a “sweater” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cozy winter wear.

Different manufacturing processes result in sweaters that look and feel very different from one another.

Cardigan Sweaters

mens sweaters cardigan

A cardigan is a sweater that opens all the way down the front.

They can fasten with either buttons or zippers, or in rare cases ties, although the latter sometimes cross the line into robes or smoking jackets rather than sweaters.

Thinner cardigans can be layered under jackets and suits. Just make sure to have a trimmer fit.

They vary from casual and sportswear to business-casual attire, depending on the cardigan and the rest of the outfit.

Pullover Sweaters

“Pullover” is a broad term encompassing, not surprisingly, sweaters that you pull over your head (as opposed to shrugging on over your shoulders like a jacket).

Some pullovers will have half- or quarter-zip necks, and they can come with all manner of collar styles and necklines (discussed in detail below).

When someone says the word “sweater,” this is usually the generic idea that comes to mind: a knit, long-sleeved garment that tugs on over the head, typically big enough to go over one or more underlayers.

Aran Sweaters

mens sweaters aran

Named for the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, Aran sweaters are thick, cable-knit sweaters made from 100% sheep’s wool.

The Aran Islands are cold, wet, and prone to frequent storms, which resulted in a local style of sweater that was extremely thick and weatherproof.

The most traditional Aran sweaters are made from wool that has not been washed or treated to remove lanolin. Lanolin is the oily secretion that helps waterproof sheep’s wool. It carries a pungent scent similar to kerosene.

More tourist-friendly versions scour the wool, removing the smell but also reducing the water repelling properties.

Aran sweaters typically involve multiple panels of knit patterns running vertically along the garment.

Machine production and the use of looms makes most current models somewhat slimmer than the traditional sweater, but they are still one of the heaviest and bulkiest styles on the market.

Guernsey Sweaters

mens sweaters guernsey

Also spelled gansey, the guernsey takes its name from Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel that belongs to the British Crown (but is not technically part of the United Kingdom).

The sweaters have been made there for centuries, and remain the default costume of most Channel fishermen.

True Guernsey sweaters are spun with a “hard twist” that tightens the wool fibers. This makes them very dense and water-repellant. Tightly knitted stiches add to the water resistance.

Traditional Guernsey sweaters have visible ribbing on the upper sleeve (representative of a sailing ship’s rigging) and a raised shoulder seam.

Many different decorative patterns for the body panels exist, and most are made with gussets under the arm to allow greater freedom of movement.

The cuffs and hem are ribbed, and the neck is squared off and symmetrical all the way around (originally so that it could be turned inside out, extending the time it could go without washing).

Like Aran sweaters, these are ideal for prolonged outdoor use. They are dense, heavy, and very insulating, but also too bulky to wear conveniently under dressier jackets.

Submariner Sweaters

mens sweaters submarine

Submariner sweaters are thick sweaters with tall, rollable necks. This honors the uniform sweaters worn by the British Royal Navy’s submarine crews in World War II.

The ribbed cuffs and hem are tight against the body. The roll neck is designed to add a double layer of warmth.

Submariner sweaters can serve both as outer layers or underneath a suit or sports jacket.

Sweater Vests

In and out of fashion at various times, the sweater vest exists as a natural compromise between warmth and bulk.

You can often tell a sweater vest’s intended purpose by its design. Those with high collars and zipper or button fronts are meant as outerwear. Solid sweater vests, with V-necks, are designed to fit nicely under jackets and display a necktie well.


Sweater Neckline and Collar Styles

All of the above body types can be manufactured with different styles of neckline. This will affect both the appearance and performance of the sweater.

Crew Neck

mens sweater neckline crew

Crew neck sweaters are among the most common styles, and also one of the simplest.

The neckline is round, and has a narrow band of ribbing that adds just a touch of bulk. (Originally, the crew neck was designed to keep football players’ shoulderpads from chafing against their skin.)

This is a good-looking, minimal style that pairs easily with most clothing.

They don’t play well with neckties, however, and can pinch the collars of some dress shirts as well.

A wider, softer neck opening can help leave room for those business-casual staples. Sweaters with a very tight crew neck opening will be limited to collarless undershirts, and definitely no neckties.

V-Neck Sweaters

mens sweaters neckline v

The obvious answer to the drawbacks of the crew neck is the V-neck sweater. It does what it says on the box: the neckline is cut in the shape of a V in front.

This neckline leaves room for a visible necktie. In most cases, the V-neck also allows room for the points of a shirt collar.

Unsurprisingly, these are the go-to for dress-casual looks that incorporate neckties and collared shirts. Therefore, V-necks are often seen with sports jackets and suits as well.

Turtleneck Sweaters

mens sweater necklines turtleneck

A tall collar folded over on itself makes the classic turtleneck style. Stretched out, the collar would usually end around the lips or cheeks; doubled over, it makes a nice thick band around the neck.

Turtlenecks add warmth and make a nice dressed-down replacement for the conventional pointed turndown collar seen on dress shirts.

Because the doubling over adds bulk, they tend to be among the thinner knit sweaters, making them good layering items.

Turtlenecks are separated from rollnecks by their fit and fold: turtlenecks are a tight, close band around the neck that’s folded neatly over at a flat angle all the way around the neck. Even when folded, they stand up straight, making a sort of “tube” around the throat.

Rollneck Sweaters

mens sweater necklines rollneck

A rollneck is essentially a baggier turtleneck: it shares the elongated neck (like the turtleneck, a rollneck sweater would cover part of the face if the neck were stretched all the way up), but has a wider opening and a looser knit, allowing a baggy roll around the lower neck.

These vary in tightness: submariners are rollnecks that hug pretty close, while some other styles slump all the way down onto the shoulders.

The length of the neck (and therefore the thickness of the roll) can vary too, ranging from tiny little collars to big bulky cruller-looking things.

A good look for most men is a narrow rollneck with a wide opening: comfy, easy to layer, and forgiving of wide builds and faces.

Notch Neck

mens sweater necklines notch

The notch neck is a cousin of the V-neck, and mimicks the T-shirt style of the same name.

It has a simple circular opening most of the way around, but features a small V-shaped cutout at the front, just below the Adam’s apple.

They’re a more casual style designed to add some visual interest to the basic pullover sweater (and, it must be admitted, to allow well-built guys to show off a hint of tautly muscled upper chest).

You’ll usually see these on the lightest and tightest knit sweaters, typically colorful cotton ones made for younger men to wear in trendy outfits.

Cowl Neck

At the extreme end of baggy necks you have the cowl neck: a tube of fabric around the neck opening so wide and soft that it doesn’t require folding, but instead slumps down into a pile of loose cloth.

The result is a baggy, rumpled look that’s very relaxed (and also very warming for the upper body).

They shouldn’t be confused with shawl necks (described below) — the shawl neck has a defined shape, while cowl necks are inherently shapeless, or more accurately shapeable.

You can shift the pile around, make it flop one way or the other, spread it wide or bundle it up tight — it’s malleable.

Shawl Neck

mens sweater necklines shawl

Most commonly seen on cardigans or half-zip sweaters, the shawl neck has a wide, turned-over collar that narrows to points on the front of the chest.

Sometimes the points overlap for a vaguely double-breasted look, but more often they meet in the center of the chest, usually where the opening ends or the buttons/zipper begin.

Shawl necks upgrade sweaters into something somewhere between a basic pullover and a sports jacket: they suggest the lapels of a suit, but keep the softness of a sweater.

They’re a very useful top layer in dress-casual settings.

A tie can dress one up further, while jeans can take them down into basic around-the-house wear.

Polo Collar

Google “polo sweater” and you’ll mostly find pullovers from Ralph Lauren.

But there are a few light knit sweaters out there with the soft turndown collar and one-to-three button placket of a polo shirt.

These are mostly thin, lightweight “summer sweaters.” (Yes, it’s a thing! Particularly in the tennis court/clamdigging sort of New Englandy crowd.)

They’re nice casual wear for when the weather is just starting to get nippy, and can be layered under thicker styles of sweater in cold months.


Zipper and Button Styles

It’s amazing how much difference a slight change in the sweater opening can make in the look. Briefly, here are the pros and cons of the various styles:

sweater zipper styles

Half-Zip is sporty, simple, and easy to snug up tight for warmth in windy weather. Opened up, it leaves room for a collared shirt beneath the sweater.

Full-Zip is the most outdoorsy, active-wear sort of look. It’s functional and very practical for sweaters that are going to be the top layer or a layer under a winter coat a lot, but it’s not very dressy and doesn’t pair well with sports or suit jackets.

sweater button styles

Half-Button looks a bit dressier than half-zip and plays nicer with turndown collar styles. It can look oddly bulky buttoned up in some cases, however, so a lot of these spend their whole lives unbuttoned.

Button-Down is the classic cardigan look. It’s relaxed but nice, and can work as both a top layer or a substitute for a button-fronted dress shirt (or even paired with one) under a sports jacket.

These can all end up looking very different depending on the bulk and other attributes of the sweater, but in general a plain front or a button-down will look dressiest, followed by a half-button, while the zippered options are more inherently casual.


Sweater Sleeve Styles

Getting panels and tubes of knit cloth to fit together has generated some impressive human innovation over the centuries. Naturally, that’s also generated some different looks.

Set-In Sleeves

sweater sleeve types set in

There are actually a couple of different knitting techniques that all generate this same basic look: sleeves that join at the shoulder, with a vertical or slightly-angled opening that tucks the sleeve into the body of the sweater (or vice versa) all the way around the armpit.

This produces the look that’s most familiar to Western eyes: a shoulder seam pretty much like the ones on dress shirts, jackets, etc.

Depending on how it’s knit, the set-in sleeve seam may have a raised texture or a decorative pattern, but they can also be done smooth and flat, and usually are.

Raglan Sleeves

sweater sleeves styles raglan

A raglan sleeve, instead of ending at the armscye (the hole around the armpit), extends the top of the sleeve all the way to the collar. That necessitates a diagonal seam that cuts across the front and back of the shoulders.

It’s a simpler sleeve to make than a set-in sleeve, and so you’ll often see it on hand-knit sweaters. Often, the sleeves are picked out in a separate color from the body for a sporty, two-tone look.

Raglan sleeves tend to be wider and looser than other styles. You most commonly see them on thick, bulky sweaters rather than snug, thin knits.

Dropped Sleeves

sweater sleeve styles dropped

A dropped sleeve has a horizontal opening rather than a vertical one, usually located an inch or two down the upper arm from the shoulder. That creates a visible band around the arm, which in many sweaters is picked out with decorative patterns.

It’s a more common style in women’s wear than men’s, but it shows up from time to time on large, loose sweaters like cardigans and cowl necks.

At any given outlet, the vast majority of sweaters will feature set-in sleeves. Raglan and dropped sleeves add some visual interest for top-layer sweaters, but because they tend to be looser under the arm, they usually don’t layer very well under anything tighter than a winter parka.

Sweater Fabrics and Fibers

Much of the cost of a sweater comes from its raw materials. Some can be found easily and affordably, while others are luxury materials guaranteed to demand a higher price.


sweater fibers types

Sheep’s Wool

By far the most widely-used traditional material for sweaters, sheep’s wool can vary considerably in finished product depending on how it is spun, treated, and woven.

Combing and washing soften wool and remove rough edges from the individual fibers. That makes the texture smoother, but also weakens the fibers, reducing the durability of the wool.

(Washing also removes most of the lanolin that gives wool its water-repellant properties, but most modern customers consider that a worthwhile trade, as lanolin gives untreated wool has a pungent, oily smell.)

Wool is a good, sturdy option that provides lots of insulation. It’s also quite durable so long as it’s treated well: not stretched out when wet and not exposed to too much direct heat. It’s often the chosen balance between price and function.


The smooth, straight hairs of the alpaca aren’t technically wool — the fibrous hair, much like humans have on their heads, with a smoother surface and less frizz than sheep’s wool.

Because their hollow structure is filled with tiny air pockets, they’re also wonderfully insulating while remaining light in weight.

That makes alpaca a popular material for winter sweaters that can be layered without adding tons of bulk. Unfortunately, the per-unit cost is also quite a bit higher, making alpaca-fiber sweaters a pricy treat.


A step up even from alpaca, the hair of the cashmere goat is often held up as the gold standard of sweater materials. True, 100% cashmere sweaters are light, flexible, and insulating.

Buyers beware, however — there is no industry-wide standardization for defining “cashmere sweater,” and many things sold under that name are really a blend of sheep’s wool and cashmere hairs, with the wool dominating the blend.

At that point, the so-called cashmere sweater becomes indistinguishable from a wool sweater, albeit a relatively fine one.

If you’re seeing cashmere sweaters for under $100, and it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For the real experience, you’ll need to find a merchant who specifically advertises 100% cashmere sweaters (and, obviously, who you can trust — if the claim is being made on a street vendor’s cardboard sign, use some common sense).


Linen sweaters are quite uncommon, and much lighter than other options. They’re usually summer sweaters, and for men are typically left in linen’s natural, creamy, off-white color.

While they’re not a winter staple, these are very handy in spring, summer, and early fall. If you’ve ever seen someone walking along with a white sweater knotted loosely over his shoulders on a warm day, odds are it was linen.


Not a word typically associated with quality in clothing, polyester nonetheless has some advantages: it’s cheap, it’s flexible, it’s low-maintenance, and in a tight knit it tends to snug itself to the body for a tight fit.

That makes polyester sweaters a usable part of layered outfits. If something looks and feels sort of like a fleece sweater, but is made from a visible knit, odds are it’s at least got polyester in the blend.


Cotton sweaters are thinner, lighter, and less insulating than wool sweaters. That sounds terrible if you’re focusing on sweaters as a bulky layer for cold weather, but it comes in handy when layering sweaters for a fashionable look.

Thin cotton knits are effective layering pieces and can be worn in warmer weather than even fine wools. They’re also much lower maintenance — most can be tossed in a conventional washer and dryer.


Light, breathable, and very thin, silk makes a good under-layer. It tends to get soggy once it absorbs sweat, however, so most sweaters that use silk do so as a blend, often with cotton or cashmere.

Silk blends make light, flexible, body-hugging sweaters that do well as part of a layered look.


Sweater Patterns

Besides the shape and cut of the sweater body, the visual pattern and texture is what really gives a sweater its unique character.

These are the terms most people think in when they describe sweaters: “a cable-knit sweater,” “an argyle sweater,” etc.

Decorative Stitching

One of the oldest and most widespread ways to decorate knit garments is with the stitches of the knit itself. This builds the pattern directly into the sweater.

Decorative stitching makes the sweater look and feel chunkier. Because it can be done in the same color as the rest of the garment, it’s a useful way to add visual complexity without introducing clash for low-contrast outfits.


sweater stitch types

Cable is meant to mimic the nets and rigging of fisherman’s sailing ships. This is one of the most common patterns, especially in Aran and Guernsey sweaters. They typically run vertically, as thick, horizontal bands do not flatter most wearers, but horizontal cable-knits do exist for those that want them.

Diamonds are essentially a wider cable knit, with smooth knitting in between the bends of the “rope” pattern. They can be used to make complicated knot-work patterns, and are common in monochrome sweaters.

Tree of Life stitching creates an angled ladder of branching shapes. Depending on the knitter’s preference, it can look more abstract, or more like a tree-shape. Christmas sweaters often feature them in green against a white background.

sweater stitch types

Ladder of Life stitching is another common Guernsey design, and looks very much like a rope ladder.

Honeycomb is a traditional Aran Island motif meant to represent the hard-working industry of honeybees. It’s also one of the bulkier patterns, with lots of closely spaced bends.

Trellis stitching layers interlocking chevron shapes one atop the other. It’s sometimes used to suggest mountains and hills.

sweater stitch types

Zig-Zags are essentially half of a diamond stitch. They are often done in a contrasting color for very bright, casual sweaters.

Irish Moss (Seed Stitch) is an interlocking pattern of very close spaced stitches at right angles to one another. The result is a mat-like surface with a bumpy texture.

Trinity stitch (also sometimes called raspberry stitch) creates a pattern of raised, rounded bumps. It adds a lot of texture and some visible gaps to the weave, making a squishy but bulky sweater.


Solid Color Sweaters (Smooth Knit)

Sometimes simple is best, and for that you want a smooth-knit, solid color sweater.

These are a reliable staple of layered looks, particularly when made from a thin, lightweight material like cashmere or a silk blend.


sweater patterns stripes

The striped sweater takes the solid sweater and adds pop. The broader the stripes, the gentler it is on the eyes. A sweater with one or two broad color changes looks fun and relaxed, while a narrow zebra stripe is an eye-grabbing showpiece.

Horizontal stripes have a shortening and widening effect, so already-stout wearers usually want to avoid them. Likewise, men who are already tall and thin will be stretched out further by vertical striping.


sweater patterns argyle

A classic sweater style, argyle is a pattern of interlaced diamonds of different colors, overlaid with another pattern of thinner diagonal lines. It looks relaxed, cozy, and unpretentious, particularly in a muted color scheme.

Fair Isle

sweater patterns fair isle

The Fair Isle is a tiny island north of Scotland. It’s famous for multicolored knit patterns with horizontal bands of different designs. Traditionally per row, only two colors are used. There can be up to five colors total in the pattern.

Needless to say, the result is eye-catching. The term is widely applied to any brightly colored sweater with horizontal bands of color. These are traditionally large and lose, and worn as outer layers.

Sweater Sizing Guide

Sweaters are sized at the chest. Arms are proportionally longer or shorter based on that measurement. A “tall” size typically adds 2-4″ to the sleeve length without changing the chest dimensions.

sweater sizing guide


Sweater are a great way to stay professional at work while showing off your personal style.

The texture of sweaters adds diversity to your appearance, setting you apart form the corporate-uniform crowd. Use this guide to experiment with the sweater that is right for your lifestyle.

The post Which Sweaters Are Attractive? | Ultimate Man’s Guide To Choosing A Sweater appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio
Title: Which Sweaters Are Attractive? | Ultimate Man’s Guide To Choosing A Sweater
Sourced From: www.realmenrealstyle.com/guide-mens-sweaters/
Published Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 09:00:44 +0000