Not quite the sweater, and not quite the vest. Yet the cardigan brings the best of both worlds to the table. With winter right around the corner, it’s time to start layering. What better way to spruce up your style than by adding a cardigan into your collection of clothes? Timberlake did his thing and brought back the vest into mainstream fashion, but now the cardigan’s been on the rise and taking the spotlight with celebrities and fashionistas alike.
I can hear people thinking already “Why would I want to wear one?” Let’s get that question squared away and then we’ll check out a couple of different looks you can start using right away.
- Keeps you warm
- Serves as a great layering piece, either under a jacket or as a standalone for an outer layer.
- Emphasizes the highly regarded silhouette and enhances the desired V-taper guys want from clothes
- Versatility: Can be dressed up and dressed down. Produces very different looks for very different outfits, making it more of a staple. Basically, more bang for your buck!)
Five Looks You Can Incorporate Now
David Beckham: Photo Courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk
Rugged yet dressy, that’s what this look is all about. This season is all about combining both hard and soft looks together through different layers. Flannel shirt and a medium wash pair of jeans brought together with a more casual-styled belt drives home the rugged look. Combined with the dressy elements of a cardigan and black tie easily ties the looks together.
Tip: Stick with a black tie, it’s a classic that will never go out of style and makes pairing tie and shirt combos easy.
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice): Photo Courtesy of Men’s Health
Modern prep, how the cardigan used to be rocked back in the day, now updated. Gingham button down with a patterned tie, brought together with a cardigan on top. If you know how to wear a vest, this is exactly the same. Nothing different from what guys are use to with the vest except the fact that you’ll be warmer and able to play with more looks. To obtain the same style, unbutton the cuff on your dress shirt, flip it up and push your sleeves up for a more casual vibe. Stay away from actually rolling up the sleeve, its just more a push, the cardigan’s sleeve should hold everything in place.
Tip: To change it up a bit, have the sleeves pushed up at varying lengths.
Common (Rapper): Photo Courtesy of BET
For a style that’s fully dressed up and just downright classy. Some days its just not cold enough to wear a jacket, yet still a bit chilly. Same as above, wear it like how you would wear a vest. It’s a great substitute for one and feel free to throw your suit jacket on top. Think ‘black tie’ event or what you’d wear to work and simply add the cardigan as a layer.
Tip: Make sure the cardigan is the right length where you can show off a quarter inch of cuff. It adds a nice dash of color to the ensemble that works especially well with dress shirts in vibrant colors!
Vest + Cardigan: Photo Courtesy of Bijou Living
For those who want to take things to a completely different level. This not only adds a couple of layers, but adds more dimensions to the look, with varying ‘V’ tapers in the outfit. Different shades of the same color for both the vest and cardigan will create dimensions in the look that emphasizes style, without making the whole ensemble too loud. If you wanna dress to impress and stand out from the crowd, here’s one outfit that’ll do just that.
Tip: Button as few buttons on the cardigan as possible, it’ll create more of a contrast between the two items.
Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder): Photo Courtesy of Men’s Health
This look is simply casual. A simple V neck paired with a cardigan with the sleeves pushed up. Pair it with anywhere from a medium-light wash pair of jeans all the way to dark. Just make sure you’re boots align with the wash.
Tip: Motorcycle is optional.
A couple of rules of thumb before you leave
…and a personal tidbit or two
- Go with neutral colors for your first purchase (black, gray, white). It’ll make things a lot easier to pair up.
- Stick with solid colors. They have ones with patterns, designs, and graphics. If you’re a pairing genius then by all means go for those, if not… stick with the solids. With P,D, and G’s it gives more of a casual vibe, but this can still be achieved with a solid color.
- Buttoned or Unbuttoned. If buttoned, keep the last button undone. It’ll sit better this way and prevent this weird bubble in your midsection (aka “I just had a huge meal and gotta a gut” look). If you look back on the ‘different looks’ section you’ll see what I’m talking about.
- Personally I like a bit of symmetry on what buttons I keep undone. So if one is undone on the bottom, I undo one on top. Same applies for two buttons.
Be creative when wearing a cardigan. Test out different looks! Instead of focusing on just buttoned up or unbuttoned go a step further, play with the number of buttons you have buttoned or unbuttoned. A good rule of thumb: don’t button the last button. It’ll flare out, which gives the same appearance of an untucked dress shirt, but more importantly it won’t balloon up in a weird fashion. But more importantly, have fun and enjoy!