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The Sweater – One Secret to Looking Smarter

November 28, 2012

For the early part of my life, I regarded the sweater’s purpose to be primarily for warmth. It never crossed my mind that a sweater could make me look smarter or dapper. My sweaters were thick, too large, and sagging. Today, especially in the autumn, winter, and early spring, a superb sweater ranks high in my regular line up of work attire. Each season, I boost my collection with another sweater or two. Back in the day, Albert Einstein drove home the image of the genius professor with his classic combination: nice dress shirt with a V-neck sweater. Today, the ensemble provides a prime way to appear more intelligent.

The best sweaters are comprised of cashmere wool. This strong type of wool comes from the Cashmere goat and possesses a fine texture and soft feel. Trade of this commodity originated in the Kashmir region of India (thus, the name Cashmere) and quickly caught on in Europe (particularly France). In America, this wool must have a fiber that is fine below a certain level of thickness. As cashmere tends to fetch a higher price, you may want to phase into this type of sweater. If for some reason you find one on sale for under $75, snatch it. The next best yarn is merino wool. It also feels luxurious, but at more affordable prices. Cotton too will provide you with decent sweater material and will cost you the least of all. In fact, grab a couple of these to jumpstart your collection. Try black and grey first.

Start with V-neck sweaters in solid colors as they work especially well with collared shirts, ties, and suits. The open area displays more of your tie and follows the lines of an open shirt as well. Crew neck sweaters pair well with a crew neck undershirt and jeans, but also can work with a good button-down shirt. Another classic to place on your sweater list is the turtle-neck. Like a solid white dress shirt, you will find it quite difficult to ruin your appearance while wearing one in solid black. They hold a certain refined character that almost makes your posture seem straighter and taller.

No wild patterns or novelty sweaters. I’m sure you can find a better way to convey your Christmas spirit than proudly displaying your glow in the dark candy cane sweater. Decorate your house, not your body. If you work as an elementary school children’s librarian, disregard this point. As you venture into the world of sweaters, try this mix: classic white dress shirt, dark grey V-neck sweater, light grey pin-stripe pants, and black oxford shoes. Here is another splendid blend in a more casual form: classic white dress shirt, light blue V-neck sweater, dark blue jeans, brown loafers, and a light tan corduroy blazer.

Allow your shirt cuffs to show. Be gentle when removing it. Keep it wrinkle free with a good steam here and there. Also, clean it every year or two. A gentle hand wash will suffice, but you may entrust it to a dry cleaner as well. As always, start simple and work your way up to more complex.

© Copyright 2012 Fashion for the average man.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2012 5:53 pm

    Wow – why haven’t I seen your blog yet? This is exactly what men need to read (as well as the women who want to buy them gifts!). I think men in sweaters really do exude a stylishly strong look, and I wish more would wear them =0)

    • December 6, 2012 6:12 pm

      Thanks for the thumbs up. Indeed, more men should own and wear sweaters.

      • December 6, 2012 6:29 pm

        May I ask your opinion further? My boyfriend is a cowboy, and so wearing denim, a button down, long sleeved shirt, boots, and generally his black hat, is his daily style. What type of sweater would you envision?

      • December 9, 2012 1:03 pm

        Over the years, Ralph Lauren has offered a classic look through western wear. For a cowboy, I would choose a sweater with an earthier and more rugged look such as RL’s toggle cardigan. Or even a cable pullover with toggles or slightly larger buttons.

        Is this for function or simply style? Will he be working in this? It matters. Some fabrics are not as durable as others.

        I think for a gift though, I recommend getting a simple solid black v-neck sweater. Cashmere would be best of course, but merino wool will work. These fabrics are for style, not work. He can wear those jeans with the sweater pulled over most any collared shirt and look good with that black hat and a kickin’ pair of boots.

  2. January 9, 2013 2:21 pm

    Great blog Jeremy. I, too, am trying to help men step out of the darkness with clothing. It’s not as scary as they may think, and doesn’t need to be nearly as expensive as you have pointed out in some of your other posts. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.

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