It’s hard not to look cool in a chunky shawl collar cardigan. They are some of my favorite pieces to wear come dead of winter. I’m talking one inch thick, 5+ pounds and warm enough to call a coat. That kind of chunky.
Look for one knit using a thick yarn with a simple pattern in neutral colors and you’ll find yourself wearing it for all kinds of occasions. And it doesn’t have to be super luxurious cashmere. In fact, the harsher the wool, the more bad-ass (and manly) the sweater.
Can’t afford to pay $400+ for a hand-knit piece, go vintage! I got this one for the price of breakfast (well, maybe brunch) and it’s one of my current favorite pieces. Of course I went with a Cowichan knit – have to represent for my Canadian people. You can get these hefty hand-knits in all kinds of knit patterns, from flying eagles to dancing cowboys. My suggestion, however, is to stick with an abstract pattern for best versatility.
Here, 3 ways to wear a chunky/manly cardigan.
1. Casual Throw-Over
Some people would say this sweater is old and ragged – to me, it’s got swagger and charm. It’s also heavy enough to serve as outerwear on mild fall/winter days. Just throw it over a couple solid layers for an easy and nonchalant casual look perfect for a laid-back weekend.
The beige & brown knit pattern on this sweater provides a relatively neutral palette, making it easy to pair with complimentary colors. It looks great grounded by navy blue with burgundy as an accent color – as we see here in all three looks.
Bonus Tip: sometimes these old sweaters begin to pill and shed. All they need is a little haircut – give it a quick shave with a garment grooming stone or, even better, an electric lint remover.
Bonus Tip II: a henley is a very versatile, and underrated, layering piece. It can look great on it’s own, under an open washed shirt (as shown here), or layered over a shirt and tie. Post on henley layering coming soon.
- Vintage chunky “cowichan” zip shawl cardigan
- Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic (42mm)
- Suede chukka boots by John Varvatos
- Tan leather gloves by Hugo Boss
- Necklace from NYC street vendor
- Navy washed cotton shirt by Steven Alan
- Brown alligator watch band by Montblanc
- Brown corduroy jeans by H&M
- Burgundy henley by Ralph Lauren Polo