How to Style Men's Sweaters for Seriously Cold Weather

How to Style Men's Sweaters for Seriously Cold Weather

When cold weather comes around, we instinctively want to bundle up and stay warm. For some guys, that means throwing on a few layers without any regard for whether they coordinate. And the colder it gets, the more layers people tend to add. However, if you’re a man who prefers to look more put together, there are ways to layer clothes, including sweaters, so that you still look fashionable. Read on for some ways to style men’s sweaters for seriously cold weather.

Start With a Base Layer

When it’s freezing out, a sweater alone won’t cut it, no matter how thick the knit is. Your best bet is to start with a men’s base layer, such as a thermal shirt, to help retain body heat. Long underwear is designed to wick away moisture and keep you dry in addition to retaining heat. Base layers can be made of silk, fine-gauge merino wool, or polyester and other synthetic materials, such as Thermaskin®. Be sure the material fits snugly, both for comfort and to prevent heat from escaping. The thicker the thermal, the better the heat retention. Usually, you can find guidance on the packaging regarding what temperature range an article of clothing is best for.

Add a Shirt

Over your base layer, you’ll want to wear a shirt. You have quite a few options to choose from! For a casual look, choose a men’s Henley top or a long-sleeve T-shirt, especially if you don’t want the shirt to be seen at all. For a somewhat dressier look—think wintertime business casual—choose a button-down shirt. If your sweater is a solid color, select a shirt that adds a pop of color. However, if your sweater has multiple colors, opt for a solid color that complements the sweater or even a classic white Oxford shirt, which goes with pretty much everything.

Top Off With Your Favorite Sweater

To some extent, what type of shirt you choose will determine which sweater you decide to wear. Fisherman sweaters—also called Aran sweaters after the Irish islands these knits originated on—are thickly textured sweaters that stand on their own and, therefore, look best over hidden shirts. The texture in these sweaters comes from the variety of stitches used to create these wearable works of art, ranging from chains to cables to diamonds. When made from wool, fisherman sweaters are water repellent due to the lanolin oil in the wool.

Collared shirts look great under a men’s V-neck sweater or crewneck sweater. If you need to up your style, add a blazer. Not only does that make for a dressier look, but the blazer adds an additional layer of warmth—never a bad thing when it’s seriously cold outside. Since you’re wearing a collared shirt, you can also add a necktie or bowtie if the mood strikes.

Switch Things Up

Another way to style a sweater in really cold weather is to reverse things. That is, wear a men’s turtleneck sweater over your base layer. Turtlenecks are great when you want to keep your neck warm without having to bother with a scarf. Once you have your sweater on, you can add an additional layer. Try throwing on a flannel or corduroy shirt. However, keep in mind that a sweater is thicker than, say, a T-shirt, so you may want to go a size up for the shirt. If flannel or corduroy isn’t your jam, consider a quilted or fleece vest. If it’s absolutely frigid, wear both a shirt and a vest.

You can also wear two sweaters together. For example, pair your turtleneck sweater under a thick men’s cardigan sweater. You can go for a monochromatic look or choose two different complementary colors. If your sweater is tweed or marled knit, choose a turtleneck sweater that picks up one of the colors in the cardigan.

Don’t Forget About Pants

When you’re styling your men’s sweater, remember that the pants you choose play a role, too. If you’re going for a rugged look, choose jeans. In cold weather, opt for a pair of flannel-lined jeans for extra warmth. Jeans aren’t the only pants that can be found with a flannel lining; chinos are another option if you want to appear more polished. Corduroy pants are another possibility. The ribbing in corduroy makes the fabric a little thicker than denim; thus, corduroy pants are a little warmer.

Finish With Outerwear

Your choice of jacket or coat also matters when it comes to styling men’s sweaters for seriously cold weather. A peacoat is one classic that will go with pretty much any look you're striving for. Peacoats date back to the 1800s, and sailors originally wore them in the Dutch navy; the name comes from the Dutch word pije, which described the fabric the jackets were made from. The short jackets made it easier for sailors to climb the rigging. The British navy adopted peacoats before making their way across the pond to the United States. Traditionally navy and with a double breast of buttons, they complement any sweater style. If it’s frigid, you may prefer something warmer, such as a men’s down jacket or one with artificial fill; either will help keep you as warm as possible when you’re outdoors.

Styling men’s sweaters in seriously cold weather doesn’t mean you have to look sloppy or unfashionable. These tips will not only help you keep you warm as possible but will help you look your best as well.


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