Updated: May 12
With over 30 years of experience in the clothing industry, I’ve found that most men struggle with incorporating knitwear, into their wardrobes, as the temperatures begin to plummet. When done properly, it can look very stylish and practical, but can feel suffocating if done incorrectly. The addition of knitwear into an outfit bridges the gap between casual and formal. Here at Marc Allen, we’ve compiled a quick guide, to show how adding knitwear can elevate a casual outfit into something more sophisticated.
Crewneck / V-Neck Sweater
By far the most common, and most popular, is the crewneck sweater. Light enough to be thrown over a dress shirt, adding an extra layer of warmth and sophistication. Another popular alternative to this would be the V-neck sweater.
A cardigan sweater would be the next step up from the crew and V-neck sweaters. The button-down design, adds a touch of formality, mimicking characteristics of a suit vest.
The turtleneck sweater is one of those pieces that can look very stylish, if executed correctly. As a stand-alone the sweater projects a smart aesthetic. For a more rakish persona, try pairing it with a suit or sport coat.
The beefy weight of a cable knit sweater, is great for those cooler days. Similar to the turtleneck, this sweater is meant to be worn as a stand-alone piece over a t-shirt. The cable knit sweater is also a great opportunity for adding subtle textures into your outfits. The raised threads on the surface help to achieve this concept. Try pairing one with corduroys for a smarter approach on the weekends. They also look great with wool dress pants for “Casual Fridays” in the office.
The shawl collar sweater tends to be a bit more formal than the sweaters aforementioned. The concept of the shawl collar allows the sweater to be worn independently from a dress shirt if you so desire. The shawl cardigan is another concept of its own. With this design, we’re allowed to take our outfits one step further. Most shawl cardigans are designed in heavier weights, which allows us to use them as jackets on milder days during the fall and winter. I’ve always loved the idea of layering knitwear, and the shawl cardigan is just the right piece to tastefully achieve that. On milder days, I’ll throw one over a light, cashmere sweater, with jeans, on my way over to my kid’s soccer game.
This design is a unique piece to include in your wardrobe once you’ve built out your basic knitwear collection. A swacket is a crossover of both a sweater and a jacket, a beautiful layering piece for the cooler days. Some of the styles for this piece may have collars and lapels that mimic sport coats, making them appropriate for travel or weekend wear.