Sometime between now and mid-November you’ll leave your house headed to work and a few min into your drive or walk you’ll realize you’re either too cold without a jacket or too warm wearing your suit and overcoat. The good news is there’s a simple solution: a properly paired and styled knit sweater joining forces with your favorite go-to suit like a stylish super team. We've talked about mastering layering before, and in addition to being a sweet move that’s perfect for the season, it’s an easy way to strike that ideal balance between too cold and too hot. It also gives you some flexibility to change up your look if you need to cool off or you just want to take things down a notch before you hit happy hour. Pairing a sweater with a suit isn’t as simple as just throwing on any old thing though, here are few factors to consider before attempting this move. Here’s how to do it right.
Choose The Right Style
First up, you want to give your suit the right kind of knit role player, and that means choosing the proper style. With the formality of a suit and tie, a cardigan is the ideal partner in crime. Its style is slightly more formal and its lower dip will look proportional with the tie you’ve got on. If you’re going sans tie, a v-neck style is the right complementary look. We love a crewneck sure, but given the more formal vibes we’re after, they’re probably better left to your denim and chinos.
Choose The Right Weight
Pairing a suit with a sweater can be risky business, it’s a fine line between boss and bulky so choosing the right weight is key if you want to avoid looking like a puffy Ben Roethlisberger in a down parka. When layering up your suit, go with something that is thin and light, you don’t need much weight for a warm layer. We also definitely recommend going with something that has a fine-gauge knit and uses wool and/or cashmere, it will add the proper look and feel that your best suit demands.
Choose The Right Color
Just as you’re thinking about how your shirt and tie combo goes with your suit, you want to give your sweater layer equal consideration. The key is to add some contrast but not to overwhelm what else you’ve got on. This isn’t the place for a crazy bold color or a sweater with an aggressive pattern (unless you’ve truly really reached style black belt level). Go with a simple, basic color; it’s going to give your look just the right amount of juice without taking it over the top. Obviously complementary colors are key, but if all else fails, a sharp light gray or navy is going to look great. Just make sure you don’t get too matchy-matchy, skip the navy on navy or gray on gray, and so on. Again, a bit of contrast is the key.
A Final Pro Tip
Now that you’ve got your layered up look dialed in, maybe you want to master an off-duty look. Great call my friend. For a more advanced move, dress it all down and try a v-neck or crew neck knit without a dress shirt underneath your suit jacket. Go with a slightly less formal shoe, like a loafer or leather sneaker (this is “casual” after all), and hit the town knowing you’re now next level. It’s the kind of pro-level swag you’ll see being rocked by some of the best-dressed men on the planet for good reason, and know you have the knowledge about how to do it yourself.