Style Q&A: How Do I Pull Off A Cardigan?

qanda-with-torrey-mcmurray1Now that the weather is changing and it’s officially becoming fall, I’ve noticed a lot of guys wearing sweater vests and cardigans underneath their suit jackets. I think it’s a pretty cool look but I’m not sure. I always think vests and cardigans look like things my grandfather would wear. Is this a good look?

– Nick S., Roanoke, VA

answer-iconNick – Sweaters and vests have come a long way since the days of Mr. Rodgers (may he rest in peace). Instead of the bulky, scratchy worsted wool of the past, layering sweaters are now made in light-weight fabrics like merino wool, cashmere, or my favorite for the southeast – cotton, cashmere blend. I am one of those men who love to wear a sweater vest under a suit or sport coat. In my job, I’m often taking my jacket on and off which makes my body temperature fluctuate during the cooler fall days while also looking sloppy without my jacket on, so a sweater gives the look of polished while keeping me warmer. Sweaters in the fall also give the opportunity to layer colors to ordinary outfits, creating new looks, and prevent from having to buy seasonal wardrobes.

If wearing a sweater under a suit jacket or sport coat is something that you are interested in trying then I think you should go for it. Try starting with a basic v-neck vest in a color that adds something to the outfit but is not going to stand apart. Also, choose one of lighter weight fabric so that it’s not too warm and not too bulky – making your jacket too tight and or just fit wrong. (I suggest lightweight merino wool)
Cardigans have definitely made a strong push the past two falls and you may see them under jackets as well. I love this look but it’s absolutely all in the fit. There’s a fine line while wearing a cardigan – one of looking like you’re wearing Grandpa’s old sweater and one of a youthful, slimmer fit. By simply buying a cardigan too big and baggy, you’re running the risk of adding 30 years to your age.

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