Style notes: finding and styling men's cardigans for 2016
The humble cardigan is a versatile, classy and stylish item of clothing that every fashion-conscious man should have at least one of. What’s especially brilliant about men’s cardigans is their wearability; they’re easy to throw on over so many of your other clothes. Cardigans also make layering easy and are a great cheap way to update your wardrobe. While some men have completely embraced the cardigan, others still seem a little shy, despite its prominence on men’s designer catwalks.
Read over our style notes to see how versatile and slick a men’s cardigan can be, then head over to our comparison pages where you can compare the latest styles and shop for your perfect new men’s cardigan.
History of the cardigan
Men’s knitwear cardigans were named after a British commander, James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, after he fought in the Crimean War in the 19th century. Fishermen in the French and British isles soon adopted the cardigan as a means of keeping warm on the rough seas. When the Ivy League look became popular in the 1950s the cardigan was adopted into mainstream fashion where it still remains in 2016.
Which styles are in fashion for 2016?
Single-breasted A flattering option for all, a single breasted men’s cardigan features one row of buttons down the front of the cardi.
Double-breasted A double-breasted style features two rows of buttons down the front of the cardigan. Stick to this look if you’re on the slimmer side because it can bulk you up if you’re not careful.
V-neck An extremely popular style of men’s cardigans at the moment, the V-neck adds definition to the torso and shows off your layers underneath!
Shawl collars An added focal point on a men’s cardigan, the shawl collar is a thick band around the neckline. Avoid this style if you’re heavier set because it adds bulk.
Wearing and styling cardigans for men
Formal For a formal look, pair your new men’s cardigan with a formal shirt and slacks, classy and slick without looking like you tried too hard. Add a skinny tie or colored cardi for a new-season update and layer under a blazer for added warmth in cooler months. Stick to neutrals, darks and muted tones in the office.
Casual Skinny jeans or chinos will always work with men’s cardigans for a casual look. A classic, crisp white tee looks great with this combo. Or try a color or print top (as long as the print is very small) for added interest.
Colors Stick to buying men’s cardigans on sale in a variety of dark and muted tones: black, grey, maroon, dark blue and earthy tones all look great and can be worn year-round and incorporated into any outfit.
Men’s cardigans: The Rules
- Avoid bulky layers above or underneath your cardigan.
- Similarly, don’t pair your men’s cardigan with loose fitting jeans. It’ll completely ruin the sleek silhouette you’ve got going on with your new knitwear!
- Wear open or buttoned-up. Both ways can look great but leave the bottom button of your cardigan open if you’re doing it up.
- Wearing your men’s cardigan open gives a relaxed vibe while framing the torso and is obviously a great way of showing off your shirt underneath.
- Do not pair a V-neck top with a V-neck cardigan.
- A well-fitted men’s cardigan should have a soft drape at the shoulder and hang low enough to cover your belt.
- When you buy a men’s cardigan look for a slightly tapered shape - narrowing under the rib cage then slightly widening at the bottom. This makes for the most flattering silhouette.
When shopping for men’s designer cardigans and knitwear it’s imperative you get the fit just right. Take a look at our size guide for general guidance on sizes.