OK, so let’s talk fall and winter layering essentials — like the best men’s cardigans, ya dig? It’s a style essential that we return to time and again here on The Style Guide, with roots in vintage style now turned modern and, well, cool. The right cardigan features a fit that’s slim but not too tight, making it easy to layer with everything from a slim striped henley to an American-made Oxford shirt. Beloved by everyone from Steve McQueen to Daniel Craig, a classic cardigan is something every man needs in his wardrobe. And if you’re wary of buying one for fear that it’s too much of an “old man” style staple, put those thoughts aside — plenty of your favorite brand’s are included on this list of the best men’s cardigans, I guarantee it. From a sport-inspired cardigan like the Life/After/Denim Varsity Cardigan — as seen in this site’s See Now, Buy Now series — to a more easygoing number like the pleasingly rugged, versatile Grayers Avalon Shawl Cardigan — you’re absolutely guaranteed to find a piece that you like. Rock it on its own with a lightweight scarf or throw on a flannel-lined waxed trucker — that’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. Happy shopping, and be sure to check out my Instagram for plenty of real-life style moves.
#1. Life/After/Denim Varsity Cardigan in Heather Grey — $138
A striped sleeve adds a pleasingly sport touch to this classic cardigan.
Told you this stylish retro cardigan from Life/After/Denim would be on the list, didn’t I? It’s understated in its design, with neat, sporty stripe detailing, a modern fit and a versatile color. Pair the Varsity Cardigan with your favorite pair of dark blue denim and classic leather chukka boots for style that can really go anywhere or throw it on over one of the best men’s T-shirts when you feel like stepping out in accessible-yet-casual style. The Life/After/Denim Varsity Cardigan is a bit pricey, but worth it.
#2. Levi’s Cardigan in Tall Grass — $395
An unexpectedly stylish, well-made and investment-level cardigan.
Whoa now, nearly $400 for a cardigan? Well, folks … let me tell you why. Levi’s does far more than make classic men’s denim like the Levi’s 505C Jeans — they also make rugged, great-looking men’s apparel and accessories. The Levi’s Cardigan is among those, made with 100 percent shetland wool in a rich color that wouldn’t look out of place with navy corduroys and classic suede chukka boots. Again, the Levi’s Cardigan is an unexpected investment piece.
#3. Grayers Avalon Shawl Cardigan — $135
A cozy, comfortable-yet-versatile cardigan from Grayers.
Grayers simply doesn’t mess around when it comes to cool, casual menswear with a bit of a classic tilt. The Avalon Shawl Cardigan is one such piece that’s as easy to wear as your favorite hooded sweater — over a garment-washed pocket tee and faded blue denim, for instance. And if you feel like going slightly sharper with this classic cardigan? Slim tan chinos, stylish men’s dress shoes and a classic Oxford shirt ought to do the trick. Get you a cardigan that can do both — like the Grayers Avalon Shawl Cardigan.
#4. Life/After Denim Collegiate Cardigan in Blue Blood — $138
A simple, understated, throwback-inspired cardigan made for casual, crisp fall weekends.
#5. Original Penguin Shawl Collar Donegal Cardigan — $125
A no-frills, no-fuss cardigan that’s perfect for everyday wear.
Original Penguin gets it right when it comes to a classic, crisp cardigan that certainly leans a bit dressier — yet no less versatile — compared to the rest of the picks on this list. The crisp Charcoal Heather color would look right at home with burgundy corduroys and classic suede boots, and it’s also going to pair up nicely with a striped henley and your favorite pair of broken-in blue denim. Can you dig it? I sure can.
We’re keeping it a bit shorter than usual today when it comes to this list of men’s style essentials — which of the above cardigans was your favorite. My money’s on the Life/After/Denim Varsity Cardigan for its combination of casual weekend wearability, sport-inspired style and serious warmth. And the Original Penguin Shawl Collar Cardigan is similarly warm and stylish — layer it with a classic henley and find out for yourself. Let’s not forget the seriously premium Levi’s Cardigan in a cool deep green color; it’s the perfect pairing when teamed with slim faded denim, rugged tan leather boots and a crisp white Oxford shirt. Before I forget, the Life/After/Denim Collegiate Cardigan shouldn’t be slept on, either — whether you wear it with slim sweatpants and classic fall sneakers or with brown herringbone trousers and your new favorite chambray shirt, the Collegiate Cardigan could become a weekly go-to. And if it’s casual, versatile and laidback style you want, pick up the Grayers Avalon Shawl Cardigan — again, it’s every bit as comfortable as your favorite hoodie. Alright, all set? Let’s get shopping!
Thanks for reading,