Quarter-Zip Sweaters: When to Wear and How to Style

The quarter-zip sweater is a popular choice for guys throughout fall and winter. It’s easy to see why; the right quarter-zip sweater is light and comfortable enough to be worn indoors from time to time, but it’s also thick and durable enough to serve as an outermost article when a jacket’s a little too heavy for comfort.

But if you've never worn a quarter-zip sweater before, you might not know when to wear it or how to style it effectively. Let's take a closer look.

When to Wear a Quarter-Zip Sweater

A quarter-zip sweater serves the same function as any other type of sweater: protecting you from the cold without requiring you to wear a full-on jacket. Therefore, a quarter-zip sweater is perfect for occasions and situations like:

  • Camping with friends and family members
  • Walking around outdoors downtown in the middle of fall or winter if it’s not too chilly
  • Wearing as an outer article indoors if it’s in the middle of winter and you don’t want to turn the thermostat up too much!
  • In the garage when doing work on your car
  • And more

Think of a quarter-zip sweater as a slightly more stylish option compared to a “normal” sweater without a zipper. Many quarter-zips feature not just their primary zippers, but also zippered pockets for added storage and a bit of extra practical value.

Styling Your Quarter-Zips

When it comes to styling your quarter-zip sweaters, you’ll want to keep a few broad principles in mind.

Contrast Your Colors

First, try to wear colors that contrast with each other. For instance, if your quarter-zip sweater is white, black or gray trousers are perfect.

The same principle holds when choosing articles to wear beneath your quarter-zips. So if your quarter-zip sweater is black, a white or colored T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt underneath it will look better than a similar color. Similar colors just blend in and make your outfit overall look fuzzy.

Layer Wisely

Be sure to layer your quarter-zip with other clothing articles smartly! For instance, it's not wise to wear your quarter-zip over another sweater or a very thick long-sleeve shirt. But it could be wise to wear a quarter-zip over a thin sweater, a flannel, or even a plain T-shirt.

Pair the Quarter-Zip with the Right Trousers

The trousers you choose will heavily impact the overall look of your quarter-zip style. For example, are you wearing a lightweight, dark quarter-zip sweater for a brisk morning jog in the middle of winter? You should pair that quarter-zip sweater with some comfortable, casual trousers, like these Stretch Khakis from Vintage 1946.

Alternatively, maybe you’re wearing your quarter-zip out for a date night with a significant other. In that case, dark dress denim jeans or slacks will be perfect fits, especially if you choose legwear in a complementary color compared to your quarter-zip as mentioned above.

Cover a Button-Down with the Sweater

Sometimes, you might need to combine your quarter-zip sweater with a more formal upperwear article, like a button-down shirt. Say that you head outdoors for a camping trip with your boss and coworkers. In that case, you'll be happy to know that you can cover button-downs with your quarter-zip sweater and stay stylish at the same time.

Generally, this style tip works better if you have a thicker quarter-zip sweater, which will hide any additional bulk from your button-down shirt. This Quilted Quarter-zip from Vintage 1946 is a perfect example, as it’s durable and comfortable enough to provide you with some extra insulation. But it’s also in a formal, masculine color that’s ideal for workplace retreats or outdoor walks with your boss.

As for the rest of the outfit, don't forget to combine your sweater and a button-down shirt with dress shoes or boots depending on what the occasion calls for, plus dark tailored slacks (not cargo pants!).

Wear the Right Footwear

Lastly, you want to combine your quarter-zip with the right footwear. Sneakers, boots, or even dress shoes can all work depending on what else you pair with your quarter-zip sweater and your other articles.


As you can see, styling your quarter-zip sweater isn’t as complicated as you may think. Even better, you can wear your favorite quarter-zip sweaters in the office, outside, or even in the home depending on the temperature!

Still need to find some quarter-zip sweaters to start your collection, though? Check out Vintage 1946’s extensive selections of sweaters and men’s outerwear today!