How to Wear Cardigans for Men: The MVP of Layers

Similar to multi-use tools in the workshop or everything seasoning on the spice rack, versatile styles are welcome in our closets. Not sure how cardigans fit into the equation? While we’re not mathematicians by trade, we promise things will add up along the way. Ever wondered how to wear cardigans for men? You’ve come to the right place. This guide will take you from novice to master in no time. Even if you’ve dismissed these handy layers in the past, we promise you’ll give cardigans the green light going forward.

From hearty knitwear to the lightweight variety, the cardigan is truly a seasonless, wardrobe workhorse. They’re suited for a range of occasions from laid-back lounging and casual outings to semi-formal work functions. It’s all about nailing the best fit, knowing what to wear with a men’s cardigan and when (and where) to wear certain styles. The sweater train is about to depart, so hop on board as we travel to a very stylish destination. 

How Should a Cardigan Fit?

In the world of fashion, fit is it. Finding the best-fitting shirt for your build or pants that stretch in the right places is of utmost importance. In fact, great-fitting clothes are arguably the most important quality over fashion sense or looking trend-forward. Before we jump into how to wear a cardigan for men, let’s address how one should fit.

Keeping it simple, cardigans are similar to jackets or blazers in regard to fit. They should have enough room through the shoulders and taper down the chest and the narrowest part under the ribcage. From there, your cardigan should widen a bit throughout the abdomen and fit comfortably—both open and closed. When buttoned up, your cardigan shouldn’t be overly tight to avoid looking overstuffed. Lastly, give your fit a personal twist. If you’re looking to achieve a nonchalant bohemian style, go for a slightly oversized and relaxed option. Prefer a more polished appearance? A cardigan that fits closer to the body with shoulder seams that aren’t too droopy will be your perfect match. 

What to Wear Under a Cardigan for Men

Style alert: cardigans are a core closet item and a top 2022 men’s fall fashion trend for a reason. When deciding what to wear under a men’s cardigan, you’ve got lots of options. From T-shirts and button-ups to jeans and chinos, they’re all stellar styling partners. Cardigans work well as an outer or mid layer to add warmth or elevate your look with ease. Whether you resonate with the friendly Mister Rogers, or you’d rather keep things fresh, a cardigan has your back—literally.  

When figuring out how to style men’s cardigans, it comes down to the subtleties. After all, it’s a layering piece that can either look sleek and effortless, or bulky and messy with one wrong move. That’s where we come in, with tips and tricks to ensure you get it right each time. Keep reading for everyday ways to wear your new favorite open-front sweaters. 

How to Wear Men’s Cardigans with Casual Shirts

Ah, the classic shirt and sweater combo. While layering a cardigan with a T-shirt is an effortless choice, there are a few tricks to elevate the look. If you’re curious about how to wear men’s cardigans with dress shirts, stay tuned for that later. For now, let’s focus on those casual, everyday shirts that could use a little pick-me-up. A polo shirt comes in clutch for a day on the green or a business lunch at the country club. If an early tee time calls for layers, a cardigan is a solid option to maintain a smart casual vibe. For the cleanest look, opt for one without a collar or lapel so it’ll lay nicely under your polo. When not in use, tie the sleeves around your shoulders for the ultimate preppy style

Are you a guy who’s more keen to men’s street style rather than the threads displayed in collegiate catalogs? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, try a longline cardigan the next time you style a basic tee. These sweaters typically extend to the mid-thigh or ankles for a sweeping statement look. Go for a monochromatic color palette of grey and black for full effect. Top off the outfit with a pair of black boots for a step in the right (and fashionable) direction.     

Can You Wear a Cardigan over a Sweater?

Have you ever opened your closet on a frosty day and wanted to wear sweater upon sweater? You’re not alone. When determining how to wear a cardigan for men, layering knitwear can get a bit tricky. It can be done, although, you can look like an abominable snowman with one misstep, so pay attention. When pairing two sweaters together, the base sweater needs to be very lightweight compared to the other. Try starting with a pullover turtleneck made from modal or thin merino wool. Then layer with your cardigan of choice and keep it unbuttoned for a relaxed feel. If ever in doubt, wear a cardigan under a jacket rather than stacking sweaters. Trust us, when the furnace is cranking and you can shed a layer with ease, you’ll be glad you did.

How to Wear Men’s Cardigans with Jeans

Let’s get back to basics. Are you curious about how to wear men’s cardigans with jeans? You’re in luck because it’s as simple as can be. Jeans and a T-shirt are the perfect blank canvas for styling. When you’re working with blue jeans, almost anything goes in regards to pairing colors and patterns. The only thing to keep in mind is proportions. If you’re digging those 90s fashion-inspired baggy skater jeans, balance those out with a fitted cardigan. Dressing up a pair of slim-fit dark-wash denim instead? You have the freedom to wear that oversized shawl cardigan with statement wood buttons. To bring an autumn-ready outfit together, add a pair of your favorite men’s fall shoes for a final touch.  

Expert Style Tip: Add your own personal twist to jeans and a T-shirt by swapping your shirt with a well-loved graphic tee. A band tee in a grungy grey or dark charcoal will pop under a lighter cream-colored cardigan.

Adding Cardigans to Your Workwear Rotation

When figuring out how to wear men’s cardigans to work, take the astute route. Swap the vest from your matching suit for a button-up cardigan instead. This adds a cozy and unique touch without compromising your overall polished appearance. A marled cardigan that’s two-toned will make a plain white dress shirt pop against solid slacks. Looking to kick it up a notch on the professorial spectrum? Layer with a blazer for an added tailored effect and accessorize with a bow tie and framed glasses. Whether you’re presenting to management or leading a philosophy lecture, you’ll receive an A+ in fashion from us.

Are you hoping for something on the business casual side with an emphasis on casual? Grab a polo or short-sleeve button-up with a collarless cardigan. When choosing colors, opt for a lighter base with a darker sweater for a neat and tidy look. Khaki chinos are a reliable and versatile bottom that will tie this outfit together in a flash. A leather belt and oxfords add sophistication to this comfortable outfit, so you get the best of both worlds.

How to Wear Men’s Cardigans in Summer 

You might think we’re crazy posing the question of how to wear men’s cardigans in summer, but hear us out. It’s true—cardigans are most often referred to as a three-season piece best worn in fall, winter and spring. However, if you live in an area that has mild summers with chilly evenings, cardigans are a total win. They’re also excellent travel companions. Have you ever left for a summer vacation to a warm destination to find yourself freezing on the plane ride? Avoid a similar situation by tossing a cardigan in your carry-on backpack before embarking on your next trip. Still stumped on the intricacies of how to style a cardigan for men in the summer? We’ve broken down the summer cardigan do’s and don’ts so you don’t have to. 

How to Wear Light Cardigans for Men: Stay Cool (Literally and Figuratively)

Hey fellas, grab a pen and paper (or the notes app on your phone) for this part. A few style tips come into play when deciding how to wear light cardigans for men in the summer. The first step is to seek out a cardigan made from ultra-fine materials that are breathable like modal or cotton. Here’s where things get complicated, but never fear, we’re here with the fashion solutions. With thin fabrics, you run the risk of awkward bunching if you choose the wrong shirts to wear underneath. To make things easy on yourself, opt for tank tops or shirts without piping or pockets. Keep any details like buttons or textured patterns to the center of your chest—like a henley shirt. This will ensure your layered look is sleek and smooth from top to bottom.

Expert Style Tip: When taking into consideration how to wear cardigans for men in the summer, look closely at the fabrication. Cardigans with an open woven design or large crocheted loops provide maximum airflow. Breezy styles during summer? Yes, please. 

Style Summer-Ready Cardigan Outfits Without Looking Dated

It’s no surprise that grandpas and cardigans go hand-in-hand. Ever heard of “grandpa cardigan?” In fact, many embrace this lovable look during the winter months, regardless of age. There’s a certain cozy charm that comes with it. But what about when cozy is not a factor we want to take into consideration in our summertime get-ups? Maybe you’re looking for ways on how to style a men’s cardigan in the summer without looking dated. Well, we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve. 

The answer is to lean into current trends to keep your looks modern and lively. Maximal fashion is all the rage right now, so opting for bold geometric patterns will do the trick. Don’t shy away from bright colors either—the more, the merrier. Grab a lightweight cardigan in a neon shade paired with a tropical short-sleeve button-up. Top off the look with a pair of neutral shorts like khaki or navy. Freshen things up even further with crisp white kicks. Ta-da, gramps won’t know what hit him. 

Show off your newfound cardigan styling knowledge by adding a few new selections to your closet. Get started today and ask your style expert to send a couple of cardigan outfits to try. Relax and receive five items to try on at home. Shipping and returns are always free.

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