For some men, sweater vests have never left. But for those who like to be ahead of the trends, sweater vests have made a major comeback in 2020. Whether you’re looking for another staple piece for your closet or want to add a stylish new layer to your next dinner party outfit, sweater vests are a great way to add both function and fashion to an ensemble.
Sweater vests come in a wide range of styles that fit just about any setting. A good rule of thumb when deciding which sweater vest to wear is that thinner knits are typically better for more professional settings, while thicker, cable knit sweaters are best for casual events.
Sweater vests can create a more polished look to office attire. Choosing designs with fun patterns can add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Heavier sweater vests also provide warmth during cooler temperatures. Those made with high-performance materials can provide protection against the elements when outdoors.
Then there’s the fashion-forward option, which features a massive range in price points. For sweater vests that come with a sticker shock, the good news is that this menswear trend is going to continue into 2021.
Convinced on the sweater vest? Good. Take a look at our picks for the best men’s sweater vests below.
1. Nordstrom Merino Wool Sweater Vest
The classic design of the Nordstrom Merino Wool Sweater Vest makes it a versatile piece that customers can add to their closet and wear for years. Available in four neutral colors, including the Brown Bear Heather shown here, the 100 percent merino wool vest can work in both professional office settings with dress pants and khakis or be paired with jeans for a more casual look. The classically-styled machine-wash vest has a ribbed bottom and fits true to size, giving outfits a more polished look.
2. Merino Wool Vest by Bloomingdales
BEST BUTTON UP
Like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales also makes their own merino wool vest for men, adding a six-button opening to the front of their design. Available in four dark colors, including the dark purple Raisin shown here, the vest is designed with allover rolled borders that create a professional look. Perfect for pairing with a button-down or turtleneck, the vest adds some warmth and a classic style that will be a fit for most professional settings.
3. Blizzard Bay Men’s Ugly Christmas Sweater
BEST HOLIDAY VEST
Christmas trees are, in essence, pretty tacky. Out-tack any tree, tinsel or loud light displays with an over-the-top sweater vest that will make you the hit of the holiday party. The 100 percent cotton vest is available in three holiday designs and is much more comfortable than getting dressed up in a Santa suit. Feel merry and bright without having to dress like an elf in a vest that will almost make you look forward to your great aunt’s fruit cake. And if you really want to outdo everyone at your next ugly Christmas sweater party, the best way to do it is with an ugly Christmas sweater vest.
4. COOFANDY Men’s Casual Slim Fit V-Neck Vest
BEST PATTERNED OPTION
Add some interest to your look with a rhombus patterned vest by Coofandy. The cotton and acrylic vest is lightweight and designed to be worn everywhere from the boardroom to the golf course. The contrast colors are a great way to add sophistication, giving customers the chance to show off their style with matching ties or socks.
5. Patagonia Better Sweater Vest
BEST FOR ACTIVEWEAR
For a vest that will keep you warm without weighing you down, we like the Better Sweater Vest from Patagonia. A favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, the Better Sweater is made with 100 percent recycled polyester fleece with a sweater-knit face and fleece interior. Flat seams reduce bulk and chafing, while a zip-through standup collar protects against wind. Light enough to wear indoors and warm enough for cool temperatures outside, the Better Sweater has several features that make it ideal for commuters and hikers, including a micro-polyester jersey trim on areas that tend to rub frequently and offset shoulder seams for added comfort when carrying a backpack or crossbody bag.
6. Men’s Ridge Runner Soft-Shell Vest by LL Bean
BEST FOR OUTDOORS
Need a vest that can keep you warm and dry while out in the elements? We like the Men’s Ridge Runner Soft-Shell Vest by LL Bean. The outdoor retailer has created a 100 percent polyester vest that is easy to care for and has a breathable, snag-resistant, wind-resistant and waterproof design to keep wearers comfortable. Great for layering on its own or under a heavier jacket, the Ridge Runner is odor-resistant, made with quiet material and has two vertical handwarmer pockets, all features that are helpful whether you’re hunting game or taking the dog on its nightly walk.
7. Urban Renewal Recycled Sweater Vest
Want a unique and sustainable fashion choice that looks good? We like the Urban Renewal Recycled Sweater Vest from Urban Outfitters. Each vest produced by UO for the Renewal Recycled line has been up-cycled and crafted from vintage materials, resulting in a vest that is truly an original. No two hand-made vests are alike, giving customers an affordable and one-of-a-kind option for a sweater vest that works in both professional and casual settings.
8. Fair Isle Wool-Blend Jacquard Sweater Vest by Aimé Leon Dore
BEST TRADITIONAL STYLE
The Fair Isle Wool-Blend Jacquard Sweater Vest by Aimé Leon Dore may look like a vest your grandfather would have worn — if your grandfather had great style. The classic design of the jacquard button-up sweater vest is a truly timeless piece that is currently enjoying a resurgence. Inspired by the goth era of the 1990s, which took several cues from 1950s Americana, the loose-fitting vest works with your best t-shirt or best dress shirt. How much of a fashion homage you want to make to Kurt Cobain depends on your (teen) spirit.
9. Striped Cashmere Sweater Vest by Thom Browne
If you’re ready to turn your closet into the next hottest fashion show outside of Paris, we recommend the Striped Cashmere Sweater Vest by Thom Browne. The beautiful navy vest features Browne’s trademark white stripes and shrunken fit. Luxurious manufacturing, which includes a cashmere base and mother of pearl buttons, make this timeless and timely vest one you can wear with a suit to the office or pair with a t-shirt for your next date night.
10. IZOD Men’s Big and Tall Premium Essentials Solid V-Neck 12 Gauge Sweater Vest
BEST FOR TALL CUSTOMERS
Being tall shouldn’t mean you’re forced to wear clothes that look like they were left in the dryer too long. IZOD Men’s Big and Tall Premium Essentials Solid V-Neck 12 Gauge Sweater Vest is available in sizes that are more generous in the length and waist. Available in multiple color options, the easy-care, machine-washable vest is made from cotton, acrylic, nylon and wool and has a lightweight finish that can be worn under a sportscoat.