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Athletic apparel companies are constantly competing to make the most innovative performance fabrics, prioritizing properties like moisture-wicking, breathability and stretch. But truthfully, they can’t compete with nature’s performance fabric, which is wool. Wool is naturally odor-resistant, temperature-regulating and elastic. Wool can be used for everything from sweatpants to suits, but the most classic use for wool is for making knitwear. That’s why as the weather (gradually) cools, it’s time to stock up on the best wool sweaters for men.
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Wool consists of fibers shorn from animals, primarily sheep, but also goats, alpacas and other animals — that’s why wool can vary pretty drastically. Lambswool is pretty different from mohair, which is different from merino. You can find stylish sweaters made from any of these materials (and more), which is why it’s worth breaking down a few key types of wool.
Cashmere comes from goats, and it’s known for being soft and durable, and it’s lightweight yet warm.
Merino is insulating and less itchy than other kinds of wool, making it one of the most beloved options for not just knitwear, but socks, athletic apparel and other items.
Lambswool comes from lambs, which are young sheep. It’s softer and less itchy than other forms of wool.
Shetland wool comes from sheep from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, so it’s no surprise this wool is particularly warm.
Wool from other animals includes camel, alpaca and angora, which comes from rabbits (not to be confused with wool from angora goats). We’ve rounded up some of the best wool sweaters from men, ranging from dressy crewnecks that you can wear to work to trippy cardigans for making a fashion statement.
1. Patagonia Men’s Recycled Cashmere Hoodie Pullover
Patagonia doesn’t just make clothes for the outdoors — the brand also makes clothes that respect the outdoors, too. This sweater is made from recycled cashmere, helping to limit the environmental impact of its production. It’s also a more elevated take on the classic hoodie, but it’s just as comfortable.
2. Vince Raglan Ribbed Crew
The term elevated basics gets thrown around a lot (okay, too much) but Vince is particularly good at making casual staples that are still put together enough for a first date. This crewneck sweater is made from a blend of wool and cashmere, and it has casual details like a ribbed texture and raglan sleeves.
3. Uniqlo Men’s Merino Wool Long-Sleeve Polo Shirt
Part sweater, part polo, this merino wool knit from Uniqlo is a polished alternative to the standard pique cotton polos. It’s made from 100% merino wool and comes in several basic colors like navy, brown and heather gray. It has a three-button placket on the front. It can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with a pair of faded blue jeans.
4. Awake NY Pink Mohair Ombre Cardigan
Once seen as proper and borderline fusty, cardigans have recently enjoyed a resurgence, with offbeat colors, thick fabrics, and eye-catching patterns beating out thin, dressy cardigans. This number from Awake NY is the perfect example — it’s made from fuzzy mohair, has a slightly oversized cut and a standout pink ombre pattern.
5. LL Bean Men’s Heritage Sweater
This sweater from LL Bean is inspired by traditional Norwegian sweaters, and it’s made in Norway, too. It has a white “birdseye” pattern on the blue background, making it a more interesting option than your standard solid navy sweater.
6. Todd Snyder Merino Waffle Crewneck Sweater
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SWEATER
Todd Snyder’s merino wool sweater is a great lightweight option that can hold its own in the colder months, too. It’s made from premium Italian merino, and this crewneck is knit in a waffle pattern, adding some pleasant texture to the sweater.
7. Jamieson’s of Shetland Cardigan
Shetland wool has gone global, but sometimes it’s best to stick to tradition. Jamieson’s of Shetland has been in the wool business since 1893. This cardigan is made in Scotland from new wool and has brown leather buttons on the front. Jamieson’s is also known for selling knitting kits, so you can even make your own sweater if you’d prefer.
8. Tom Ford Ribbed Cashmere Cardigan
Regular ol’ cashmere just not luxurious enough for you? Tom Ford has your back. This predictably decadent cardigan from the king of American luxury has a ribbed texture and a cozy shawl collar. Neutral looks great, but we’re pretty partial to the pink.
9. Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton-Cashmere Cricket Sweater
Looking for something a little more preppy? Who better to turn to than Ralph Lauren? This cricket sweater is made from a blend of cotton and cashmere for softness and breathability. It has a deep V in a contrasting stripe pattern, which can be worn with a button-down if you prefer to keep it classic. Or, if you’re more adventurous, go for a low-slung ribbed tank under the sweater for a more laid-back look.
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