Editor’s note: Click through for a full set of menswear shopping picks.
In recent weeks, things have really picked up in terms of fall style preparations in my neck of the woods — if you’re into menswear, that probably means it’s been much the same for you. A late September weekend in New York City really brought with it the first slight hints of fall, and slight seasonal changes should remind us of all of gear we need for the chillier months ahead. In the case of today’s latest Online Shopping Picks post, that means we’re talking about a valuable sweater style to keep on-hand — and wear plenty — during fall and winter. What’s that style, you ask? It’s the ever-versatile modern man’s sweater — the cardigan. Whether cut in soft cotton-cashmere or premium merino, or with a more substantial shawl collar, a stylish cardigan is a nice hybrid style that fits in seamlessly with more tailored or more casual looks. Want to go more dressed up? Throw on a slim cotton-cashmere cardigan in place of your blazer with a wool tie and crisp dress shirt. Want to stay casual? Take that same cardigan and pair it with a long-sleeve henley and a durable, essential pair of sturdy selvedge denim for your off-duty hours. The picks below come in at price points low and high, and feature style that’s minimal and tailored — as well as casual and rugged. If you haven’t bought a cardigan for fall and winter, consider this the perfect starting point.
#1. JackThreads Fair Isle Cardigan — $79
Quick, what brand makes all manner of essential goods for every season? At nice, low prices? It’s JackThreads — and this cardigan is a big-time winner in that regard. The brand keeps taking steps forward as far as its products go — pieces like this Fair Isle cardigan nod toward trends without being too over-the-top. The fabric quality and fit should be reliable and modern, and the tan base should help it play nicely off navy chinos or grey flannel trousers — yes, it’s almost flannel season!
#2. J. Crew Cotton-Cashmere Cardigan Sweater — $74.50
Like JackThreads, J. Crew consistently comes up with fresh takes on wardrobe staples no matter the season. Although some of those creations can lean quite expensive, this cotton-cashmere cardigan is the definition of an everyday sweater at a low price. If you keep a weather eye out for sales and deals, you could snag it even cheaper. As it stands now though, a slim burgundy cardigan from a reputable brand is something every guy can put to good use. Team up this cardigan with a blue Oxford, slim tan chinos and high-top sneakers for a bit of sporty, retro style.
#3. Grayers Shore Club Cotton Cardigan in Navy Heather — $93.75
Have you had your fill yet of navy sweaters? Hope not. Grayers’ fabric quality is top-notch (which explains the Grayers x SeaVees sneaker collab), and that’s the case with this easygoing navy heather cardigan. With details like a chest pocket and dual hip pockets, plus that heathered fabric, it’s going to wear easily over a slub pocket T-shirt with olive chinos and a pair of durable moc toe boots — like the ones seen in this #OOTD. It’s the perfect cardigan for weekend coffee runs — and you’ll be the sharpest guy in the place.
#4. Todd Snyder Shawl Cardigan — $157.50 (Available via East Dane)
It’s tough not to be a huge fan of what Mr. Snyder has done for casual, rugged menswear — right? The designer’s collaborations — from the Timex x Todd Snyder partnership to his work on P.F. Flyers sneakers — merge menswear’s past with modern fits, a dash of Americana and all-around terrific style. So, it should come as no surprise that his knitwear knocks it out of the park. A midweight jersey fabric is complemented by a faded indigo wash — that combo means it’ll stand out stylishly even up against dark blue denim. And while you could style it with an essential chambray shirt and tan chinos, it’s going to be at its best with a vintage team T-shirt during your next football game.
#5. Rag & Bone Standard Issue Avery Shawl Cardigan — $275 (Available via East Dane)
Did you think we’d make it out of this post without at least one eye-popping splurge? Not a chance. Some of us aren’t necessarily into brands that skew more heavily toward minimal high fashion — Rag & Bone is one such brand, yet they always temper that approach with military styling, classic colors and beautiful fabrics. This navy knit shawl cardigan has a lot going on visually — the shawl collar, front hip patch pockets and textured fabric — but it’s done so in a pleasing way (with a strong silhouette to boot). When teamed with a red plaid shirt, you’re getting a look that’s heritage-inspired and fall-appropriate without going too far overboard.
With any of the above cardigans, you’re checking some key fall #menswear criteria — 1) Warmth and solid layering potential. 2) Visual interest — in the form of a shawl collar or a slim dress cardigan. 3) Plenty of styling versatility — crucial when you want to switch things up from a stylish fall or winter blazer. And while some of the above price points stray upward a bit, it’s worth it to make an investment now — especially when you can wear a nice cardigan all through winter (even the Grayers cotton cardigan can be layered under a winter topcoat when snow hits). If you suspect you might get funny looks or comparisons to everyone’s favorite neighbor, rest assured that the cardigan is a modern style move — take the plunge, y’all! If you have suggestions for other stylish men’s cardigans, check out The Style Guide on Facebook.