Cardigans are practical wardrobe essentials for males and females. Both sexes can benefit from the added warmth. When worn right, these sweaters can be used as overcoats or add extra style to an outfit. For men, it just takes a little know-how to pair the cardigan with a shirt or slacks for a look that's appropriate for the occasion and your body.
The Work Suit
Wear a cardigan under or over your work suit. It can be a warmer alternative to the three-piece suit with a vest. Choose a color that matches your blazer and only wear a cardigan underneath if it's made of a thin material -- lightweight wool, cotton and cashmere -- to create a streamlined look. V-neck cardigans look the most professional when worn over button-down shirts. Try a thicker knit to substitute a cardigan as an overcoat. Wear it over your suit or blazer and jeans, but remember to take it off once you get to the office. Chunky sweaters look appropriate as a coat but not as office attire.
Casual Tees and Button-Up Shirts
Pair a cardigan with jeans and a fitted T-shirt for a casual look. Upgrade the ensemble by wearing a button-down shirt underneath, but unbutton the top button to keep the look relaxed. To avoid adding bulk to your figure, choose cardigans in lightweight cotton, wool and synthetic blends. Pair a brightly colored or patterned cardigan with a solid color shirt in black, white, or neutral hues. If your shirt is going to be the main focus, choose a simple cardigan, and keep your bottoms basic. Well-fitting dark wash jeans are a great option.
Shirt and Tie
Try a shawl cardigan with a shirt, tie and jeans for a refined nonchalant look. A shawl cardigan features a turned-over collar that was made popular by gentlemen tuxedos in the 1950s. On a cardigan, this collar can be "popped-up" around your neck for added warmth. By pairing it with a shirt and tie you'll add old-school refinement. Jeans relax the look. Wear a colored cardigan for casually running errands or going out. Try a black cardigan for the office if you have a relaxed dress code.
Shorts and a T-Shirt
Dress up shorts with a cardigan that stretches, moves and bends comfortably over a fitted T-shirt or button-up. Bear in mind that this look requires tailored pieces to work well. Shorts shouldn't be longer than your knees, and a cuffed hem looks classic. Wear a leather belt to fit your pants at your waist. Choose a slim-fitting cardigan; ensure that it isn't overtly loose and sloppy. Polish off the look with a slip-on leather or canvas loafer for a tailored and casual outfit for summer.