How to Wear a Cardigan for Men

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

Today you can always find both stylish and formal cardigans to make you look great on any given occasion. Heartafact’s editorial team has curated some ideas on How to Wear a Cardigan for Men.

This article will help you decide how to wear your cardigan based on your style, body type, and other variables. Whether you’re going for a timeless look or something more contemporary, you’ll know how to wear your cardigan like a pro with this information.


What is a Cardigan?

What is a Cardigan

A cardigan is an extra layer that sits on top of your shirt and adds comfort to your outfit. It gives you options when dressing in different seasons: it helps keep you warm; in summer, it’s light enough not to add too much heat. Though its roots are British (traditionally worn as sportswear), a good cardigan can be used anywhere. 

Nevertheless, many people mistake sweaters to be cardigans. But, the difference between sweaters and cardigans is just one of semantics. Like sweaters, they both slip over your head. Sweaters typically have no collar, while cardigans do. 

They differ slightly in cut, but those differences are subtle. They’re also often interchangeable because most brands make both sweaters and cardigans with their logo imprinted on them.

Cardigan on its own is great for casual outfits or smart-casual outfits. It blends well with jeans and button-down shirts, t-shirts, and polo shirts. It’s an excellent choice when you want to hide your belly fat or as an alternative when you want something that looks good but doesn’t add too much bulk to your body. When it comes to colors, remember that there are no limits.


How Should a Cardigan Fit you?

The fit of your cardigan is as important as how you style it. Your outfit will lack structure and appear messy if it’s too loose. It may look more like outerwear than an accessory if it’s too tight. Fit is also important because you want your cardigan to layer well over shirts, sweaters and other types of tops. 

Some men opt for a looser fit while others prefer something more fitted—it all depends on your taste. Most brands have sizing charts that make it easy to determine what size works best for you. 

According to Exterior Essential, cardigans should be fitted but not tight. In colder months, a properly-fitting cardigan can even be used as an outer layer. 

It should fall just past your hips and hit at your mid-thigh area. Most men prefer a slightly oversized fit, so opt for one size larger than you normally would if you want it to fit well like a typical layering piece.  

Your best option of course should always be trying it yourself at the store to determine which size and fit is right for you.


Here’s How to Wear a Cardigan for Men


Formal Cardigan 

Formal Cardigan 

A formal cardigan is best worn during winter, although other trendy versions are worn in spring and fall. A black or navy blue cardigan is always safe, though you can also opt for browns and grays.   

Wear it over a button-down shirt with jeans on days when you’re going out for lunch with co-workers or attending an informal business meeting. If you want to add personality without sacrificing formality, look for patterns like argyle; they’ll make your outfit stand out without being too flashy. 

You wear a formal cardigan over a dress shirt and suit jacket in a professional setting—say, if you’re headed to a presentation at work or something similar. Keep it light gray or brown so that you don’t take away from whatever suit color you end up wearing and stick with simple designs. 


Semi-Formal Cardigan

Semi-Formal Cardigan

The cardigan may be dressed up to match semi-formal and smart casual clothes, but men should select tailored and well-structured versions. You’ll need upmarket fabrics like high-count micron cashmere, silk blends, mulberry silk, and Pima cotton to take your outfit to the next level.

Pair your cardigan with a quality button-up shirt, fitted trousers, and leather dress shoes for a business or formal look. Men should wear neutral hues in the fall and winter, whereas, in the spring and summer, they should wear fading pastels.

Because accessories enhance any semi-formal look, pair leather-strapped watches with brown, black, and white cardigans. Swiss stainless watches appear exquisite when paired with champagne, light pastel, and cable-knit patterns.


Casual Cardigan with Jeans

Casual Cardigan with Jeans

Whether you choose to wear jeans with your cardigan for a casual look or add a button-down shirt, tie, and dressy shoes for a smart-casual ensemble, these wardrobe staples make jeans and a cardigan seem dressed up. 

Guys should go for slim, skinny, or classic cuts to coordinate with your knits but steer clear of baggy or oversize jeans.Dress in a chic, classic style with a long cardigan, a fitted shirt, and skinny jeans. 

You can go for a sleek and fashionable finish with skinny black jeans and a slim-fit shirt. Premium fabrics, such as Pima cotton, make slim-fit selvedge denim styled in darker colors with raw washes perfect.

Your footwear options range from dress shoes to dressy sneakers to chunky-heeled boots; you can even wear dress shoes with your ripped jeans and a turtleneck. The possibilities are limitless; keep them sleek and unfussy.

You can also go without a belt when wearing jeans and a cardigan. While it may seem counterintuitive to leave extra fabric hanging around your waist, move both sides of your belt through any belt loops (make sure they match up), then buckle away. 

If you find that the bottom edge of your jeans starts falling below the cardigan line, fold up once at that point and secure it with safety pins—there’s no shame in taking matters into your own hands when Mother Nature has other plans for you.


Casual Cardigan with Chinos

chinos and cardigan

If you’re looking for a dapper look, consider styling your chino pants with a cardigan. Chino pants are less formal than dress pants but heavier than jeans, offering guys a sharp and versatile look. It’s simple to rock a cardigan with this pants style for a look that’s cool and pulled together.

Wear tan chino pants and a nice t-shirt with sneakers for a casual outfit. Dress black, navy, or khaki chinos with an Oxford dress shirt, a fitted button-down or shawl cardigan, and leather boots for a smart casual look.


Longline Cardigan

Cardigan for Men outfits

A long cardigan is a simple and attractive piece that can wear down to your mid-thigh or ankles. Although the longline cardigan may include buttons or an internal loop-and-tie, fashionable men will often wear this knitwear open. 

Pair a longer cardigan with fitting jeans and a slim-fit crew neck t-shirt or a scoop neck cotton shirt for a smart look. Wearing a dark monochromatic basis, such as black jeans and a long cotton t-shirt under a brilliantly colored longline cardigan, may optically extend men. 

This casual garment is available in various weaves and lightweight materials, making it the most adaptable cardigan. You can adapt this comfy garment from summertime to fall and winter to spring with ease.


Pattern Cardigan

Tips on How to Wear a Cardigan for Men

These are extremely popular, and they come in many different patterns. Depending on what you want to do with your cardigan, you can buy them in solid colors. 

For example, if you want one that goes well with any pants, go for a solid color cardigan. However, if you want something more unique that adds texture and style, go for something that has different colors, like flowers or stripes.  

Also, check how these kinds of cardigans that have collars that fold down, which makes it look great when you’re dressed up for a night out. Take advantage of these and wear them when going out to dinner or having drinks at a bar with friends.


Chunky Knit Cardigan

Here's How to Wear a Cardigan for Men

You won’t be disappointed with a chunky knit cardigan when you want to remain warm while still looking casually trendy. Whether you’re out with loved ones or on a date, different knits may complement men’s clothes in various ways. 

Ribbed and fisherman-knit sweaters are timeless styles that may be worn with various bottoms, including slacks, chinos, and jeans. A thick marled cotton cardigan is a modern and sophisticated accent to a streetwear-inspired ensemble with a fancy t-shirt and fitting trousers. 

Cable-knit cardigans look great with stylish jeans and beautiful shoes, giving males a natural style that conveys success and elegance. For an elegant look, you can go for a knitted sweater in a neutral hue like black, gray, or navy blue.


How to Wear a Cardigan for Men (Tips & Tricks)

Versatility and timeless style are two of a men’s cardigan’s best attributes. A great fit and an interesting pattern can elevate your look, even without a suit jacket or blazer. Here are some cardigan-style tips.

  1. Cardigans are no longer reserved only for winter months and can be paired with just about any top or bottom you have in your closet. 
  2. Don’t be afraid of color! A cardigan can come in many different colors and patterns, allowing you to pair it with just about any colored pants or shirt in your closet. However, wearing very bright colors is not recommended unless you plan on pairing it with a suit jacket or blazer. It is because when placed on top of an all-black outfit, bright colors tend to stand out too much and draw attention away from your face—definitely not something you want while making important business connections!
  3. A cardigan can help hide some of your flaws or accentuate some of your best assets, which is one reason why it’s an ideal layering piece when going from day to night (or vice versa). For instance, if you have broad shoulders and want to show them off, try wearing a cable-knit sweater underneath a dress shirt and tie—your body type will look even more impressive paired with something simple like khakis and loafers!
  4. Try going with an open cardigan instead of one with buttons on it. It is something that most people don’t do, which will allow you to stand out from other men in your office who are wearing cardigans as part of their everyday business attire.


The Best Brands for Men’s Cardigan

The market is saturated with cardigans, ranging from flashy to dull, so it may seem daunting when you’re searching for one. But rest assured: There are enough quality brands out there that you don’t have to settle for poorly-made sweaters. Ralph Lauren makes some of the most luxurious cardigans, offering cashmere and cotton blends. 

JCrew offers a wide variety of color options, including multi-toned striped pieces and classic pastels like baby blue and French pink. Some other amazing brands for men’s cardigans include the likes of:

Banana Republic:  Known for its timeless American-inspired designs, it is a go-to store for classic wardrobe essentials like button-down shirts and polos. The brand’s men’s cardigans are no exception, offering quality sweaters with clean lines and soft fabrics perfect for layering. 

Ralph Lauren: If you’re looking for top-quality craftsmanship, go with Ralph Lauren. The brand’s cardigans are crafted from premium materials such as lambswool and cotton that ensure maximum softness and warmth.

H&M: With an affordable price tag, H&M is worth checking out if you’re looking for a smart-looking, stylish cardigan without breaking your budget. The Swedish brand offers everything from sporty numbers to classic cable designs in neutral colors paired with jeans or chinos.

Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, H&M, Uniqlo and other top brands all offer a variety of stylish cardigans in many different colors. You can find cardigans ranging from casual cotton pullovers that can go well with your favorite pair of jeans or khakis to elegant cashmere sweaters designed with dress pants and button-down shirts in mind.



Don’t be afraid of cardigans. You might not think that you can pull off anything but a t-shirt and jeans, but give yourself some credit. The chances are that you can at least try out one or two options. Whether it looks good or not is up to you—but if you don’t even try, how will you know? Happy fashioning!


To stay updated on everything happening in men’s style/lifestyle, street culture & music follow @heartafact on Instagram

Leave a Comment