Cardigans for a Stylish Man

Welcome to Men’s Cardigans 101.  I am Professor Allen and I’ll be your instructor for the rest of this article.  Before we begin there are a few misconceptions that I’d like to throw light on; firstly, the idea that the cardigan is a staple of women’s fashion only (figure 1).  Secondly, if you are a man wearing a cardigan, then by all powers of deduction, you are Mister Rogers (figure2).  And lastly, that if you are wearing a cardigan, and being neither a woman nor Mr. Rogers, you are merely attempting to overcome the risk of dying of exposure (figure3).


Okay, now that we have those out of the way, I would like to talk to you about what is true about cardigans.  Cardigans are worn by women and men alike.  A man can wear a cardigan with great fashion and not feel that the knit or the material is too feminine.  Although you must make sure that it fits well.  Too tight of a fit will look make you look bloated and bulging. This is especially true for thicker knit cardigans.  Don’t go too big either or else you’ll look like a hooligan.

Let’s get into some specifics of the fitting, starting at the top.  The seams of the shoulder should not go past the top of your shoulder.  If they do, it’s too big and you’ll look unkempt.  The chest and waist should be wider than the abdomen area, giving a slimming hourglass shape.  Your sleeve cuffs mustn’t extend past the wrist or else you’ll look like a child waiting to grow into your clothes.  For the bottom hem, don’t let it pass your pockets, of course unless you’re going for that ruffian look.



Moving on, we’ll discuss the materials and styles of the cardigan.  The Merino breed sheep has been considered to have some of the finest quality and softest wool dating back to the Middle Ages.  Even softer is Cashmere.  This fiber from certain breed of goats is more like a hair than a wool.  There are plenty of other types of materials that are more modestly priced, such as lambswool, cotton, nylon, and acrylic.  There are even fabric blends: cotton/silk, wool/nylon, cotton/cashmere.  These blends, cotton/silk for example, can have added benefits like added durability while retaining the soft silk feel.  NY Fashion Center has a comprehensive list of fabrics if you’d like more information.

Along with the countless options of fabrics available for cardigans, there are endless style types of these garments too.  Shawl collared cardigans are usually very cozy and informal.  A low plunging V-neck is trendy and will add shape to the torso.  The double breasted cardigan gives a classic formal look.  Hooded and zippered cardigans are great for a casual outfit.  From shawl collars to plunging V-necks, pocketed, hooded, or sleeveless, the possibilities are endless.

There is also the option of type of fasteners, such as: buttons, snaps, toggles, or zippers.  Buttons are the most common fastener and are considered the most formal.  Though there are so many types of buttons, you could easily customize the look by adding large or decorative buttons.  The toggle style fasteners have a natural old-fashioned look.  These have more of an informal feel to them.  If you’re not looking for a lot of pizzazz, snaps are a good toned-down option.  These can be used on both formal and informal styles.  Finally, the zipper.  The most casual style of fastener, the zipper is quick and easy.  Just be careful not to get any fabric caught in the track, as snags could happen easily.


Regarding outfit style, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to wear your cardigan without sacrificing your coolness.  A stylish V-neck shirt underneath with some killer shades will do away with any overly-neighborly vibe.  Wear it unbuttoned for even more extreme casualness.













It can be worn as an over-garment like a suit jacket or underneath a blazer like a vest.


We’re just about out of time so I’ll finish up here.  With the near infinite amount of combinations of material, style type, fastener type, and color, you will definitely find several cardigans to suit your unique look. Your first assignment is to go out and shop for some cardigans for either yourself or a loved one.   [Bell rings]  Alright, ladies and gentlemen, that concludes your first class in Men’s Cardigans 101.  Thank you and stay stylin’.