Anyone who still finds cardigans fusty, rigid or unbearably twee need only look to the best men’s cardigans of the past few seasons. Admittedly, the cardigans that trended a few years ago were thin, conservative sweaters that you might have worn with a simple button-down. But these days, designers have been putting their own unique twists on the style, resulting in wacky animal print sweaters, oversized preppy styles or beefy numbers that can stand in for jackets.
Some of our favorite cardigans are the kinds of sweaters Kurt Cobain might have worn. Others, Harry Styles would throw on. Some would suit Steve McQueen, and others A$AP Rocky. What they all have in common is that the best men’s cardigans in 2022 are laid back, tough, and just plain cool. Wear them with your best T-shirt and most comfortable sweatpants around the house, or layer them with a casual shirt and a pair of your most comfortable jeans to embrace the outdoors and enjoy wildlife.
Beyond a style perspective, cardigans are just plain practical. The button-front makes men’s cardigans easy to take off, so you can easily remove it when you get inside or throw it back on when you feel cold. Wear your best cardigan buttoned when you want to look dressed up or unbuttoned for a more casual look. There’s basically no limit to how you can style a cardigan, and it gets even better when you have a few in your rotation. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite styles, including classics from brands such as Norse, Uniqlo and J.Crew and designer options from brands like Beams Plus and Todd Snyder.
1. Norse Projects Adam Wool Cardigan
BEST MEN’S CARDIGAN OVERALL
The best men’s cardigan to get if you’re only going to get one should be simple yet refined. That descriptor is how we feel about this cardigan from Norse Projects. The wool construction ensures that you stay nice and warm when you’re outside and helps regulate your body temperature when you’re inside. And no, this wool doesn’t feel itchy like the Grandpa cardigan your actual grandfather may have owned at some point or another. Plus, the all-black look pairs with everything, making it something you’ll wear time and time again. If you’re only going to get one cardigan, make it this one.
2. Uniqlo U French Ribbed Cardigan
BEST MEN’S CARDIGAN VALUE
Legendary designer Christophe Lemaire heads up Uniqlo’s U clothing line, so you’re getting some incredibly stylish looks at deeply affordable prices. This ribbed cardigan offers a fun textural element for your wardrobe in a classic militaristic olive hue that’ll look good with pretty much anything. We also like the bold chest pocket, which is atypical for a cardigan. Oh, and did we mention the price?
3. J.Crew Cotton Cable-Knit Shawl-Collar Cardigan
BEST CHUNKY CARDIGAN FOR MEN
Sometimes you want your cardigans to have some texture to them, which is where a cable knit can be helpful. The thicker material isn’t just a fun textural flair either, as it will help you stay warmer on top of providing of handsome look. This version from J.Crew comes with a shawl collar, which adds a touch of refinement to it. Oh, and the musty mint hue makes it totally in-style for spring — and the wood buttons tie the piece together with subtle sophistication.
4. J. Press x Todd Snyder Shaggy Dog Stripe Cardigan
BEST CARDIGAN COLLABORATION
As the collab king, NYC designer Todd Snyder knows how to make sure you combine different pieces to get a Voltron-like result. TS teamed up with J. Press, perhaps the standard for Ivy League wear, for a cardigan that uses the brand’s Shaggy Dog material. The brushed Scotland wool is a unique and fuzzy texture, and the striped pattern evokes feelings of a schoolboy scarf while looking absolutely timeless. If you’ve got a closet full of cardigans already and want something new and fresh, this is a great pick.
5. Beams Plus Floral Jacquard-Knit Cardigan
BEST MOHAIR CARDIGAN
There’s a strong chance the only familiarity you may have with mohair is from Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.” While this isn’t quite a mohair suit, a mohair cardigan is a quick and fast way to stand out from the typical cardigan crowd. If the material isn’t enough to get you excited, this particular pattern looks a lot like a rug pattern you’d find in your parents’ house. That’s meant a compliment. Pair it with a hoodie or a crewneck long-sleeve shirt for a sharp look.
6. Everlane No-Sweat Waffle Cardigan
BEST MEN’S CARDIGAN FOR SPRING LAYERING
One of the worst things about spring is the unpredictable weather. It can be freezing in the morning, only to turn around and be pretty warm by the time you go to leave the office. Everlane’s No-Sweat waffle cardigan uses COOLMAX recycled polyester, which actively wicks away moisture from your skin to keep you cool and comfortable. That makes this great to wear no matter the weather. Oh, and the waffle knit design makes it stand apart from your standard-issue cardigan.
7. Mr P. Slim-Fit Striped Merino Wool Zip-Up Cardigan
BEST UNCONVENTIONAL CARDIGAN
Mr P. is Mr. Porter’s in-house brand, and it makes some slept-on pieces like this staggeringly impressive zip-up cardigan. If you’ve already purchased a few different cardigans, a zip-up is a great way to diversify your collection. We also love the striped detailing at the hem and the cuffs, which adds a bit of a retro-style without ever looking old.
8. Banana Republic Italian Merino Cardigan Sweater
Sharply tailored and spun from midweight Italian merino wool, this cardigan sweater from Banana Republic is decidedly sharp. The rich black is a perfect color to pair alongside everything else you own, and you’re likely to find this in your local mall without much trouble. The standard-fit isn’t too tailored or too boxy and will frame your torso nicely, making for an elegant option that’s great for a dinner date or drinks with friends.
9. Stüssy Shaggy Cardigan
Stüssy’s inclusion on this list may surprise some, but the brand has continued to surprise over the last few years, turning into one of the most slept on brands out there right now. Cast-in-point: their shaggy men’s cardigan is a mohair-style cardigan for under $200 that’s sleek and polished. We love this white style because it’s refreshingly different from what you may see other retailers offer while also being high quality. If you’ve thought Stüssy was just a mall brand, well, let us reintroduce it to you.
10. Inis Meáin Merino Woold and Cashmere-Blend Cardigan
Are you looking to break the bank with a big baller purchase? Look no further than this excellent wool and cashmere blended cardigan from Inis Meáin. The Irish brand modeled this particular style sweater off the sweaters local Irish farmers donned when harvesting Seawood (yeah, that’s a thing!). The weighty wool gives this sweater some heft for those cold spring days, and the cashmere makes it comfortable and super soft to the touch. If you’ve got some extra money to spend, invest in this timeless sweater.