Formal Sweaters for Men

Formal Sweaters for Men

Few styles define comfortable cold-weather wear as well as men’s sweaters. Available in a range of colors and styles, they’re versatile enough to fit into any well-rounded wardrobe and easy to pair with virtually anything you own. Are you more of a denim guy? Do you take a shine to khaki pants? Are you all about simple joggers? Whatever your flavor, there’s a sweater to complement it.

The beauty is that sweaters can also be dressy when you want them to. While you may typically associate formal attire with garments like crisp shirts and tailored pants and blazers, there’s room in any well-assembled closet for a sweater or two that you can reach for when a dressier occasion calls for it. Here are some ideas and styling suggestions that can help you make the most of the warmest pieces in your closet.

Make Cashmere Your New Best Friend

As cooler weather settles in for the coming months, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one or two men’s cashmere sweaters ready for the taking. Sure, some styles are inherently casual — it’s more the material that reflects its upscale quality. At the same time, there are ways to make this plush choice part of the action when you’re headed to a special event.

If you’re going for the dressy angle, avoid inherently casual details. Zippers and buttons reflect a more laid-back vibe and aren’t in keeping with the clean lines and crisp fabrics that define most formal outfits. Instead, opt for a cashmere sweater that fits you well — and isn’t too baggy. The baggier a piece, the more casual it looks. What’s nice about cashmere is that it’s an extremely forgiving fabric, so it will feel wonderful even if it’s more fitted to your form. Layer it over a dress shirt and slip a blazer on top to pull your outfit together nicely.

Get to Know Turtlenecks Better

If it’s been many, many years since you last wore a turtleneck, this is a great time to get reacquainted with the style. Men’s turtleneck sweaters offer a refined alternative to the usual sweater. They’re fitted more closely to the body, so they naturally look more sleek and polished. That silhouette conveys a more formal appearance overall.

Plus, you can wear turtlenecks in many different ways. On an especially cold day or evening, layer yours beneath a button-front shirt and add a blazer on top of that. If you’re planning to wear it without anything on top, it will look immaculate with a structured blazer on top. Opt for something in a contrasting color to create some visual interest without going too boldly in any one direction. An ivory turtleneck with a grey blazer, for example, is a smart choice.

Consider the Type of Occasion

“Formal” can be as upscale as a wedding or as relaxed as a reunion that calls for nice attire. Some gatherings may express that they’re formal but do not quite mean that you need to wear a suit and tie. That may come as a huge relief to you, especially if your idea of comfortable formal wear involves slipping into a cozy men’s cotton sweater and adding a pair of easy pants.

As it happens, that can be a perfectly suitable formal outfit when you select colors and fits that fit with the type of event in mind. If you’re headed to an art show, for example, you could probably get away with a nice sweater in a neutral color coupled with a pair of crisp navy or beige pants. Opt for silhouettes that are clean and streamlined instead of loose and baggy. Again, that plays a big role in defining the way the outfit ultimately looks. If you’re headed to a wedding, however, you’ll want to wear something more luxe, like a cashmere sweater.

Add the Right Finishing Touches

It’s not just the sweater itself that conveys a formal appearance. You also need to consider other elements that make up the totality of your outfit. For example, you might have a crisp men’s button down shirt peeking out from beneath your sweater, and you may want to wear that with your finest wool trousers. Adding a smart tie could be the perfect finishing touch that brings it all together.

Then there are your shoes. If you’re wearing slip-ons, you can be certain the outfit won’t quite convey the pulled together look you desire. Stick with something sleek and dressy, such as a pair of polished loafers or dress shoes that conveys the formality of the occasion. A sweater can undoubtedly be a dressy piece when you pair it with other pieces that elevate its look just a touch.


No matter where you’re headed, you can make a sweater work for you if the weather calls for it. Why sacrifice your comfort when you can enjoy cozy warmth while taking part in the festivities? Whether it’s a formal gathering with colleagues or a party for a friend, make sure you’re ready with the right pieces in your cold-weather wardrobe.


Related Articles