There’s snow on the ground and your T-shirts–even your long-sleeved dress shirts–aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s sweater season, boys, and successfully pulling off winter-ready apparel (without looking like you raided your grandfather’s closet) can be tricky. Hence, this little thing we’re going to call the guy’s guide to wearing sweaters. Think about sending it to your mom before she gifts you one that’s itchy, baggy, and all too ready to be returned.
When choosing a sweater, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each textile in terms of warmth, comfort, and care.
Wool is the warmest sweater material and retains heat really well. But there are some drawbacks: It can feel itchy against skin, can’t be washed in hot water, and should never be put in the dryer.
Cashmere is another popular material. It’s warm, light, and extremely soft, but the price point for these babies can often be very high.
Cotton is more lightweight and cooler than cashmere or wool. Plus, it’s less expensive and easier to care for.
Synthetic materials, like acrylic, are probably your best bet. They can easily mimic both wool and cashmere without leaving a hole in your pocket or a rash on your chest.
While there’s nothing wrong with a great navy or burgundy sweater in the wintertime, purchasing a few more vibrant colors will help brighten up your wardrobe. When choosing what looks best on you, pay attention to your skin tone and go with something that doesn’t wash you out or make your complexion look dull. Blues work on almost everyone, as do beiges and darker yellows, like goldenrod.
Go with a happy medium—not too loose, not too tight. A super-casual sweater made with a heavy-knit material can appear baggy and fall below your pockets. But when you’re going for a more polished look, make sure your sweater appears tailored and hits right at your belt. The goal: to look sophisticated, not like you’re heading out to shovel snow. Keep this in mind and you’ll be good.