As the weather cools down and Old Man Winter begins to blow his icy breathe across the fallen leaves, dapper men everywhere are stuck making the same decision we make every year... do I freeze for the sake of showing off my latest tie or do I bundle up in a heavy top layer and deprive those around me of the privilege of experiencing my wonderful taste in shirting? After spending one too many days with my teeth chattering, I settled on my fashionable compromise: sweaters.
Sweaters not only add the necessary warmth for winter weather but also provide texture and contrast to an outfit; even the most basic cable-knit sweater offers a fantastic level of complexity and depth. A simple solid cable-knit sweater paired with matching tie, shirt and blazer creates a classy outfit perfect for an evening on the town without forcing me to wear a bothersome coat. For the more casual weekend look, I will almost always be found in a fairisle patterned sweater with a casual oxford underneath. A daring move it may be to ditch the tie and still declare myself a dapper gentleman, but I find that the casual flair of the unbuttoned collar paired with the playful pattern of a wool fairisle creates the ideal outfit for the winter months.
The above outfit is what I consider to be the pinnacle of classy winter fashion. Alone each piece is rather simple; a herringbone blazer, a cable-knit sweater, a micro-check shirt, a modest patterned tie. When paired together, this outfit has many subtle nuances that create an eye-catching ensemble that can't be missed. The neutral colors of the sweater and blazer allow the two small swathes of yellow to burst forward from the tie, highlighting the matching maroon colors of the shirt and tie. The cable pattern of the wool sweater pairs well with the soft herringbone blazer by creating its own shadows to add depth and emphasizing the contrast between the two piece. Perhaps the best feature of an outfit such as this is the versatility; it can easily be worn without the sweater should the sweater no longer be required.
This is the perfect example of the 'dappered down' sweater look. While this outfit lacks the textures of the previous outfit, it entirely makes up for it with its bold patterns. The distinctive pattern of the fairisle stands out in a crowd while still blending seamlessly into winter surroundings. I prefer a fairisle whenever I'll be wearing a peacoat, making sure to leave the pattern poking through at the top. These minor details are what make a sweater so important for winter fashion.
Sweaters offer amazing versatility not found with other winter garments, every dapper man should own at least one neutral cable-knit and one patterned sweater. Experiment a bit, try pairing a corduroy blazer with a solid color sweater for a new texture. If you're anything like me, you won't be able to get enough sweaters. Don't be afraid to try a new pattern, combine unique colors, or layer it up. No matter what the occasion or outfit, a sweater will never fail to add a little class. I can guarantee that you won't be able to stop with one sweater; one will lead to two, two to three, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a better 'sweaterer'.
Outfit 1: Blazer: Gap Sweater: Lands End Shirt: Gap Tie: Threads for Thought Watch: Timex Weekender Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Outfit 2: Sweater: J.Crew Shirt: J.Crew Peacoat: Kenneth Cole
Sweaters: Ralph Lauren J.Crew Brooks Brothers Gap LL Bean Lands End
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