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Alpha Male Nation | January 18, 2018

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How to find the perfect sweater this winter - Alpha Male Nation

How to find the perfect sweater this winter

As any fashion expert will tell you, choosing exactly the right sweater for you during the cold season will not only help keep you warm, but it will also improve the way you look and feel about yourself. But, if women can usually get away with any loose pullover and some jeans or leggings, men have to basically nail it when it comes to these garments, so as to really make their outfits work, but also to show they’ve put thought and effort into them. Consequently, the question of how to find the perfect sweater this winter arises, especially since nowadays there are countless offers in practically every clothes shops.

There are a number of factors which need to be taken into consideration when looking for this particular garment, from material and shape to colors and pattern, not to mention the style and weave that the sweater has. Thus, to help you on this search, we have listed below all these characteristics in detail, as a series of guidelines in helping you decide what is the best sweater option for you this season:

Fabric of choice  – even though many men disregard this feature, the material of the sweater is actually really important to its overall quality and aspect, not to mention the way you are going to ultimately look and feel in it. As a result, here are a few of the choices currently available on the market:

  • Cotton – is a natural and very price-friendly material that lets your skin breathe by allowing easy air circulation. This is why it is preferred for sweaters that are meant to be worn directly on the skin or by those who are always on the go, but still wish to remain stylish and presentable at all times. Cotton is also very lightweight, besides being resistant to repeated washing and wearing.
  • Synthetic materials – though not as high in quality, sweaters made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester are simpler to take care of and consequently wash after wearing. In addition, they can easily mimic the aspect of other materials (like cotton, for example), adapt to your body shape (by stretching), and be generally more durable.
  • Blended materials – are the materials which combine at least two fabrics at once in their composition (for instance, 51% cotton and 49% nylon). This can also lead to better price-quality deals, as well as improve clothes durability and provide better aesthetically endurance to ‘wear and tear’ over time.
  • Wool – this fabric has been used for centuries to create various clothes, being especially popular amongst men’s clothing. Wool is thus a natural material that withstands prolonged usage and can ensure warmth during cold periods. The disadvantage is that it can be quite unpleasant directly on the skin (itchy) and can show damage easily (from improper washing, bad handling, etc.).
  • Cashmere – is considered by most to be the top quality material when it comes to sweaters, since it has a very luxurious aspect and feel to it. This material is obtained from the hair of the Kashmir goat, meaning that the laborious task of obtaining it will definitely show in the price of a garment. Nevertheless, cashmere sweaters are soft to the touch, lightweight, and warm, which is why an investment in such an item is definitely worth the money.

Colour and pattern

  • Colours – your choice of sweater colour depends mostly on your lifestyle, workplace, and personal preferences. Nevertheless, it is universally acknowledged that darker clothing is more versatile, which means that sweaters in tones ranging from black, navy blue, brown, etc. to dark gray will most likely work with anything. This choice is also appropriate because autumn and winter are seasons that generally welcome more earthy tones in fashion trends
  • If you are the more adventurous type – that is, a man who likes to stand out in a crowd – then you could easily go for sweaters in brighter shades of red, green, and even yellow as a statement piece of your outfit. Be careful to choose the rest of your clothes in more toned down colours though, to best avoid looking like a Christmas decoration. For instance, you could pair a bold sweater with dark or blue jeans, a simple coat or jacket, and subtle shoes for a very interesting and comfortable ensemble.
  • Patterns – choosing to wear a patterned sweater will clearly draw attention to yourself, so be absolutely certain that the social context in which you are wearing it allows you to do so. Otherwise, sweaters with various drawings and shapes on them are a great way of transforming a casual outfit into something much more eye-catching.
  • The most famous patterns existent on the open market today are Argyle and Houndstooth; while Argyle uses interlacing diamonds, Houndstooth mainly employs a checkered black and white design, with the possibility of other variations. No matter your option of color schemes for the two of them, be sure to complete your overall look with dark trousers or jeans and simple shoes, since sweaters of this type are most likely to be the center of focus for all surrounding eyes.

Weave and thickness

  • Weave – while most commercially available sweaters have a uniform aspect, some styles of sweaters employ chunkier and more ribbed weaves in the making of said items. As a consequence, wearing sweaters woven in a cable knit manner will be more geometrical in aspect, but will also keep you warmer during wintertime. Again, choosing a sleeker or more imposing style of sweater strictly depends on the context you are wearing it in, alongside personal style.
  • Thickness – as can be deduced, sweater thickness is a direct result of the weaving method. This translates into the fact that closely knitted fabrics will be thinner, while materials such as wool will tend to be ticker and, as a result, keep you warmer. Even so, the blend of materials and weaving techniques also come into play (especially in mass produced garments), so these combinations can vary in aspect and heat preservation.

Style – fortunately for contemporary men, sweaters come in all types of styles these days, from revived shapes of the past to more modern and edgy designs. Amongst the most widespread we find the following:

  • V-Neck – by definition, V-neck sweaters are meant to be worn with a shirt or button-down, since they do tend to be more exposing. On the other hand, this makes them great layering pieces, which is a positive attribute during winter. Furthermore, V-neck sweaters can be extremely versatile and thus easily adaptable to a variety of social contexts, from work-related instances to going out with friends or attending family gatherings. Since they don’t usually go out of style – no matter the season – these sweaters are great investments, especially in a dark and good quality material.
  • Cable Knit Crew – this sweater style is most commonly known as the ‘fisherman’s sweater’, since it initially originated from the west coast of Ireland. They are very chunky, usually made out of wool, with prominent cable patterns (on the chest and arms area, for example). Consequently, such sweaters create a very masculine and imposing aspect, besides keeping you comfortably warm in harsher conditions. Their added benefit is that what you wear underneath doesn’t matter, besides also being a central piece to any fashionable and easy to put together outfit.
  • Turtleneck – also known as a ‘roll neck’, this type of sweater seems to many a ‘blast from the past’ in terms of fashion. Even so, a turtleneck can be a very elegant and versatile choice, more so when chosen in a darker colour and higher quality material. Worn by itself or properly combined with a coat or sports jacket, this sweater has the ability to make any man look slimmer and more professional. Not to mention the fact that it will keep you warm during winter and save you the worry of putting on a scarf or shawl too.
  • Pullover – this sweater design is also great for layering and keeping warm in colder weather, apart from instantly creating a very stylish and put together look for any man. Such articles of clothing come in a variety of neckline options, from simple to a three button-down placket or even with a raised collar (for extra protection). Pullovers are ideal for those who want to change their appearance in an affordable manner, since they are widely distributed in clothing shops.
  • Polo – the polo style combines the comfort of a traditional sweater with the elegance of a button-down shirt by having an already ‘attached’ collar. Hence, it eliminates the need of an underneath garment, leaving you able to move more freely. Additionally, it brings an extra dose of elegance to any outfit, so be sure to match your attitude with your outside appearance (for instance, they work great with tinted sunglasses, dark jeans or pants, and suede shoes).
  • Fair Isle – this style is pretty new to the international market. It comes from the Shetland Islands, where the traditional knitting techniques involve making intricate patterns using a multitude of colours. Having been recently popularized by clothing brands, Fair Isle sweaters are considered by some men as being too bold and ‘flashy’. Nevertheless, they can be a great centre piece when combined with more toned down or colour-coordinated items and can be very easily used in layering with collared shirts.
  • Donegal – most men have probably never even heard of this style of sweater and they are not to be blamed for. Fact of the matter is that Donegal sweaters are something of a ‘newcomer’ on the fashion scene, but a strong one nonetheless. They are obtained from a heavy wool initially processed in the region of Ireland which then gave them the particular name, having a distinct mottled aspect to them. Donegal sweaters are warm to wear, adaptable, and a nice eye-catcher (since they are not that popular yet).
  • Cardigan – either with a zip or a traditional button down, a cardigan sweater can be easily worn in a layered outfit to make it look anything from elegant to casual. This is the only type that can realistically integrate pockets into its design, which makes it extra practical. Pick a classic colour (black, white, dark blue, etc.) and clean design for a truly flexible item of clothing.

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Personal fit – no matter whether you intend on wearing a sweater in a professional or casual context, it is mandatory for it to properly fit your body type and overall clothing style. Don’t go for whatever is new and trendy at the moment, but choose to make an investment in an item of clothing which can be both flattering and practical (more so during cold weather or winter). Make sure the sweater you are buying is loose enough for you to move in, but not so baggy so as to make you appear heavier than you actually are. Moreover, be certain you feel comfortable in your material of choice (so it doesn’t itch or feel funny), as well as check for any fabrication flaws or weird patterns in the weave. The most crucial thing is for you to feel good in your preferred clothing article, which will then show in your posture and attitude.

As can be seen, there are a variety of options when it comes to selecting the perfect sweater for each occasion, from formal wear to casual outfits. Thus, the key towards picking the ideal sweater for you is to take into consideration all variables involved, from your individual body shape to the materials and colours, but more importantly how you feel and look in your particular option.

In conclusion, try out different fabrics, cuts, styles, etc. and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Similarly, be on the lookout for better quality sweaters, even if they seem a bit more expensive than what you would usually pay for such a garment.

Experiment, try out different choices, and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Who knows? Maybe you’ll just find the perfect sweater not only for this winter, but for many more seasons to come.

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