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How to Style this Season's Knitwear Essentials

May 24, 2017 - Calibre

how to style mens knitwear

Stand out with our basic guide to jumpers and cardigans for men

Just because the temperature is dropping and the rain is falling, it doesn’t give you an excuse to leave your house donning an outfit that resembles the abominable snowman. Leave that frumpy scarf and resist the urge of trying to make that dowdy Christmas jumper “work” because we’re about to give you our best tips on looking sharp while staying warm this winter season with your four must-have knitwear essentials.


1) The V-Neck Sweater

mens v neck sweater

Shop the look: Topstitch Men's V-Neck Sweater

The V-neck sweater is a wardrobe classic that will work hard for you on its own and as a layering piece. With its signature V cut out at the neckline, it is designed to flatter and streamline your silhouette by elongating and adding height visually. From casual everyday to smart occasions, it will supercharge your look with timeless style and provide added warmth through the chilly months.

How to wear a V-neck sweater:


  • The fit and feel: The V-neck jumper should slightly hug your body and arms, without outlining the bulging guns and pecs you’ve spent slaving away over in the gym. The elastic band at the wrist should sit comfortably and in place when pushed or rolled up, perfect for showing off your new cufflinks. To ensure the most bang for your buck, you will want to invest in higher quality fabrics, such as cashmere or merino wool, for optimal warmth and softness against the skin. With proper care, they will last in your wardrobe for years to come.
  • For the office: Keep your look refined by opting for a V-neck sweater with a thinner and lighter fabrication and in a more conservative, solid hue. Layer over a dress shirt with a crisp collar and add a subtle statement or colour pop with a patterned tie. For extra warmth, pull together your outfit with a blazer or overcoat.
  • For off-duty days: For casual occasions, experiment with heavier fabrics, fun patterns and bolder colours. Keep it simple by layering over a basic tee or an untucked shirt; and for another layer, add a leather jacket or your go-to bomber jacket over the top for effortless street style.

2) The Crew Neck Jumper

mens crew neck sweater

Shop the look: Criss Cross Crew Neck Sweater

A no-brainer, the humble crew neck knit should be considered a staple in any modern man’s collection of winterwear. A workhorse of knitwear and the V-neck’s rival, the crew neck jumper will be your best friend when it comes to keeping you comfortably while looking ever-so put together through casual Fridays at the office and lazy weekends. From luxe merino wool variations to chunky ribbed the styles, your options are endless.

How to style the crew neck jumper:

  • Loud up top: With so many styles to choose from, you might as well have fun while you’re at it. For thinner, lighter knits, brighten up your outfit with a burst of colour; think a rich jewel tone such as emerald green or a classic red. With a thicker knit, you’ll want to opt for a statement pattern or a cheeky graphic print. Keep your crew neck the focal point by pairing with a plain bottom half.
  • Understated style: If you’re after a cleaner look, stick with a neutral palette and pair your crew neck top with a buttoned-up oxford shirt and dark denim jeans. Add a touch of interest by experimenting with different weaves such as a waffle knit, cable or mixed ribbed design. Turn it up a notch for the office with dark slacks, leather brogues and an overcoat over the top.

3) The Turtleneck Sweater

mens turtleneck sweater style

Shop the look: Fine Turtle Neck Sweater

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the turtleneck sweater is here to stay. From Steve Jobs’ signature black turtleneck to Drake’s looser, minimally styled look in Hotline Bling, this piece of menswear is constantly in the firing lines of the annual style debate: Is the turtleneck sweater in or out? We say YES, as long as you’ve got an eye for appreciating its understated aesthetic, and of course, the confidence to pull it off a rolled collar that cradles your face for the spotlight.

How to own the turtleneck sweater look:


  • Casual weekend layering: Fan or not, Drake had the relaxed turtleneck look down pat. Opt for a thick knit in a loose fit and choose a neutral colour such as beige, khaki or grey and channel a relaxed vibe by pairing with a lighter pair of denim jeans and high top sneakers or boots. For good measure, throw on a leather biker jacket for a mean combo.
  • Keep it streamlined for smart attire: To avoid an overkill situation, go for a muted monochrome palette and stick to tried and trusted looks. Minimise bulk and keep it classy rather than ’90s by layering a tailored jacket over a navy or black turtleneck and finish with smart slacks and polished leather shoes. Think of it as a second skin, when you’re dressing for the nine to five.

4) The Cardigan

mens cardigan

Shop the look: Chunky Riviera Cardi

The perfect on-the-go piece for those of you that are weary of temperature fluctuations, the cardigan offers flexibility and is easily removable or thrown on at a whim. When it’s just starting to get cool and winter is still being a tease, the cardigan is your trans-seasonal staple and can simply be worn on its own over a short or long sleeved t-shirt. When the blistering cold finally hits, it makes for the perfect layering essential with shirts, jackets and overcoats.

How to finish your look with a cardigan:


  • You get what you pay for: Great for any business setting, you can sneak a slim button-up cardigan in the guise of a vest under a suit jacket, with one button done up. This creates an illusion of a softer, mixed three-piece-suit look that will have your bosses nodding in appreciation while you stay warm and toasty in the colder seasons. For this purpose, stick to the darker shades in a thin and fitted design and opt for modest buttons to avoid drawing attention and keep it clean.
  • A casual feel: You cannot beat a good loose and chunky cardigan when it comes to running casual errands over the weekend or digging into smashed avocado at the latest breakfast joint. A shawl collared cardigan will keep you well insulated against the chilling winds and is best layered over slimline, casual pieces such as basic tees, jeans and your favourite sneakers.

Master the art of layering

The secret to success is understanding proportions and making sure your look is balanced amongst all the heavy winter layers. Keep your knitwear selection on rotation and keep them neatly folded rather than on hangers, to maximise their lifetime. For more tips and tricks on lifting your winter styling game, be sure to check out our guide on men’s coats and jackets.

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