Editors' product recommendations may earn DMARGE a commission Learn more.

20 Best Men’s Cardigans For Trans-Seasonal Warmth

Layer up, stay warm, and look good: this is Cardigan 101.

Best Cardigan Feature Image

When you think of cardigans, you may think of your dear old grandpa or the Big Lebowski. We’re here to tell you that cardigans are extremely fashionable. Available in a multitude of styles and materials a cardigan can give you a polished look while keeping you cosy and warm.

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Cardigan Online

A Brief History of the Cardigan

Though often attributed to the Earl of Cardigan, the men’s cardigan can actually be traced back to wool garments worn by northern European fishermen in the 16th and 17th centuries used to keep warm during cold days at sea.

Following this, the men’s cardigan became a campus mainstay at Ivy League universities in the late 19th century before the knitwear explosion of the early-mid 20th century.

Designers like Coco Chanel revived interest in the garment – though mostly for female buyers – before the popularisation of golf in the 1960s gave men’s knitwear and cardigans a long-overdue return to the spotlight.

What’s In Fashion Now

In recent years, the cardigan has undergone another major revival. Heritage styles have come back into play with longstanding brands drawing on their historic designs to create traditional, preppy looks that are perfect for work, home, or the clubhouse.

At the same time, streetwear-inspired adaptations have been popularised by celebrities like Tyler the Creator, who takes classically cut cardigans in bright, popping colours and then dresses them down with jeans, puffer jackets, and even knit ties.

Fisherman-style cardigans and shawl neck cardigans were also extremely popular last winter, and we don’t expect that to change next time around.

Fashionable textures for men’s cardigans include cable knits, flat knits, or even saxon braids. Ultimately, the texture you pick is a question of personal style, but bear in mind the weight of the knit.

In terms of weight, the thickness you purchase will be dependent on two things: price-point and intended use.

Heavy knits are generally more expensive and suited to colder seasons and standalone wear. Lightweight options are perfect for layering and summer evenings.

Cardigan Fabrics To Look Out For

Cardigans are now available in a range of materials.

More affordable options include:

  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Cotton blends

Whereas premium options include:

  • Cashmere
  • Wool (lamb, Merino)
  • 100% cotton
  • Mohair

Sizing and Fit

As with any piece of clothing, fit is absolutely crucial when it comes to men’s cardigans.

Ideally, your cardigan should be fitted across the shoulders, taper through your middle, and then open a little at the waist.

They should always be long enough to cover your belt or waistband. Undersized is never a good look when it comes to men’s cardigans – fitted is fine on the shoulders and guns, but nowhere else. Keep things classy.

You can definitely build a look around an oversized cardigan too, just bear in mind that this immediately adds a more casual edge to your outfit; keep this trick for the weekends.

To Button Or Not To Button

As with fit, the question of whether your men’s cardigan should be buttoned-up or hang loose is really a question of the vibe you’re trying to cultivate.

Buttoning up is perfect for a smarter, preppier look. It also helps to create a layered effect if you’re wearing the cardigan between an inner and outer layer.

However, the flowing fabric created by an open cardigan can make for a great casual look that exudes chill. If you’re wearing a cardigan as your outer layer, this is more likely the way to go.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that zip-up cardigans are also available. The same rules apply.

Styling a Cardigan

The cardigan’s greatest strength is that it’s endlessly versatile. Traditionally, they’d be worn with a shirt and tie for a smart-casual look that definitely leans smart.

Now, with the advent of the streetwear cardigan, you can just as easily style them with jeans and a tee for a weekend-ready casual look.

The cardigan’s secret power is its ability to be layered. While heavy knits work well as standalone pieces, a lightweight men’s cardigan can be layered with tees, turtlenecks, jackets, coats, and so much more. Get creative.

Our Top-Level Take on Men’s Cardigans

Best Value Men’s Cardigan:ASOS
Best Mid-Range Men’s Cardigan:Tommy Hilfiger
Best Luxury Men’s Cardigan: Paul Smith
Best Men’s Cardigan For Work:Uniqlo
Best Statement Cardigan:Hugo Boss
Best Cashmere Cardigan: Faherty