How to Style a Men’s Cardigan

Cardigans are oftentimes thought of as clothing for the fairer sex, but that's not necessarily true. In fact, men can wear cardigans to great effect, especially when dressing for a chilly autumn or winter evening. If you’re ready to get the look, read on for a breakdown of how to style a men's cardigan.

What Exactly Is a Cardigan?

While the exact definition can vary from brand to brand, a cardigan is basically a knitted coat or jumper that opens at its front. Think of it as a light jacket—more than a sweater, but lighter than a winter coat. Regardless, any cardigan is meant to enhance your aesthetic while providing a good amount of warmth. Donned properly, and with the right accessories and other articles, you’ll look stylish, slick, and polished while wearing one.

Are Cardigans Casual?

Not necessarily. Cardigans can feel casual, but they are oftentimes really decided or settled by the clothing articles they are paired with. For instance, if you pair a fitted cardigan with nice shoes, a bow tie, and dressy trousers, it will look more formal. Pair that same cardigan with jeans and sneakers, and everything will seem more casual overall.

4 Types of Men’s Cardigans

There are a few different types of cardigans to consider as you upgrade your wardrobe. Here’s a breakdown of different cardigan styles, one by one.

#1 Longline Cardigans

Longline cardigans are casual and perfect for get-togethers with your friends. They have elongated silhouettes and are usually made with lightweight, knitted fabrics, making them ideal for the chilly weather of spring and autumn months.

#2 Shawl Collar Cardigans

Shawl collar cardigans feature titular turned-down collars. These cardigans are usually thicker and heavier than other cardigan types, so they are better if you want to emphasize the warmth aspect of this article. They also look a little more sophisticated than other cardigan varieties.

#3 Button-Up Cardigans

Button-up cardigans are common, but also suave and sophisticated. They feature buttons running up the center, allowing you to button them up when it’s chilly or open up the cardigan to display your fitted t-shirt when needed. Since these cardigans can seem more formal, you can sometimes wear them with an Oxford button-up underneath.

#4 Chunky Knit Cardigans

Last but not least are chunky knit cardigans, which are casual and which feature unique button arrangements or shapes. Feel free to experiment with these types of cardigans when hanging out at home or in a casual social environment!

Styling Men’s Cardigans

As you browse through different men’s cardigans, you’ll want to know how to style a cardigan for different social occasions or meetups. Luckily, cardigans can be styled in many different ways and partnered with different outfits.


Cardigans are excellent options for casual ensembles. You can wear them with other casual articles like T-shirts, jeans, or khakis, like these Charleston Washed Khakis, and leather sneakers. Pair your colors wisely for a casual look that pulls a lot more weight than usual.


Cardigans can also fit in certain semi-formal settings. To nail this, you'll need a fitted cardigan that emphasizes your shoulders and chest. Pair your fitted cardigan with a button-up shirt of a complementary color, fitted trousers, and polished dress shoes. Then, you can wear this outfit to the office or even to certain work events, like cocktail hours. Certain trousers, like these 21 Wale Stretch Corduroy trousers, can be ideal companions for your favorite cardigan.


You can even occasionally wear a men’s cardigan to certain formal settings. For starters, swap out the waistcoat or vest in a three-piece suit with a fitted, button-up cardigan. Then pair it with a tie tucked underneath for a formal, smart look that nonetheless feels different—and more comfortable—than a traditional office look.

Business Casual

Cardigans are so versatile that you can even use them for business casual outfits. For example, you can replace a normal workplace blazer with a fitted, comfortable cardigan in a neutral color like gray, navy, or brown. Pair your chosen cardigan with an Oxford shirt, fitted chinos or trousers, and a tie. You'll look ready for work with a stylish, relaxed vibe: a major advantage in some offices or business meetings. To take things down to an even more casual level, wear Penny loafers instead of lace-up shoes.

Get the Look at Vintage 1946

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to style a men’s cardigan. Whether you’re searching for a new cardigan or new trousers to pull your look together, you’ll find it all at Vintage 1946. If you’re ready to upgrade your wardrobe, browse the Vintage 1946 catalog today!