One of my favorite pieces of clothing in my closet are sweaters. This has to be the most functional pieces of clothing men own. Heavy wool for the winter, and Merino wool or cotton for the summer. Crew neck when you’re at the clam bake on the coast. Turtle neck when you’re raking leaves in your yard. So flexible. So fabulous.
There are many types of sweaters that have received notoriety over the course of history, with many having military or working class origins, but all have evolved with modern updates.
Styles of Sweaters:
V-Neck (long sleeve and short sleeve): Gaining popularity in the 1920’s when it was formally called the V-neck jumper, this classic was the favorite of both U.S. tennis players and preppies alike. Pair with a button down shirt, with or without a tie, or just a cotton tee and you’ll look like Fred Perry.
Crew Neck: Designed in 1932 as an undergarment for football players to help absorb sweat and chaffing from their uniforms, the crew neck has become a staple in American fashion. Pair with a button down shirt, or a polo shirt and you’re Tom Cruise in Risky Business
Turtle Neck or Rolled Neck: Made mainstream by English playwright Noel Coward in the 1920’s these fabulous garments have become the favored uniform of beatniks and anarchist alike during the last century, but more importantly they have become a symbol of fashion fabulousness. Pair a turtleneck, jeans and a sport coat and you might as well be Steve McQueen in Bullit.
Half Zip or Full Zip: Half zip sweaters are one of my favorite because they are so versatile. They can be layered under a sport coat with a shirt and tie, or worn as the top layer with a button down over jeans or slacks. The full zip needs no introduction, as it was made cool decades ago by none other than Fred Rogers.
Shawl Collar: This style has been successfully pulled off by both Ivy League elite and Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski. Your fashion consigliere recommends a big, warm chunky style, because it’s a great piece to pair with a collared shirt and tie for those cold days in the office you want to look professional, but crave the comfort of a sweater that feels like a hug from mom.
Cardigan: Named for the Seventh Earl of Cardigan, this timeless classic is especially functional and fabulous in a summer weight cotton over a polo shirt for that casual Friday look.
Here are a few of my personal favorites from my closet.