On cold winter days, there’s nothing better than a cozy sweater. Below are outstanding options for finding warm, stylish and nostalgic shawl collar and cardigan sweaters for men from some of my favorite innovative, direct-to-consumer menswear brands.
Google is great for so many things, but when I type in “shawl collar sweater for men” or “where to find men’s cardigans,” I get the same clusters of results from organic search and paid ads from well-known brands. I’m well aware that brands like Banana Republic, The Gap and Kohls make shawl collar sweaters for men, but there are tons of other innovative, independent and/or family-owned businesses out there who offer cozy and stylish sweater options as well.
The companies below are proving that cardigans and shawl collar sweaters aren’t just for older gentlemen. They are excellent examples of menswear e-commerce brands who are making stylish sweaters essential wardrobe staples for stylish young dads and nostalgic-minded Millennials and Zoomers.
Note: Seasons change and inventory comes and goes, so I can’t promise that all of these menswear retailers will stock the perfect pullover shawl neck sweater or marled cable ribbed zip cardigan at any particular time, but the below brands are where we turn when we’re cold.
Menswear startup Bonobos is one of my favorite men’s clothing brands to recommend. While their initial focus may have been on chinos, they do pretty well with sweaters too, and often have a shawl collar and/or button down cardigan sweaters on offer. If you live close to one of their guide-shops, stop in and get a feel for your size and Bonobos’ merchandise.
Mike and Alex Faherty founded their namesake brand to “create clothing for life’s great moments” outdoors around the water or the bonfire. The brand makes a signature flannel shirt in addition to a a range of great cardigan and shawl neck sweaters, including a gorgeous marled cotton cardigan in light gray-flecked rag tone. While Faherty’s clothing is not inexpensive, you can feel good about supporting a family-owned company.
I spent some time over the past couple of years driving through Maine, and always appreciate stopping into the L. L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. L. L. Bean carries some great sweaters, including their Men’s Signature Shawl-Collar Cotton Fisherman Cardigan Sweater and a rag wool cardigan with patch pockets. I especially like the look of the chunky fisherman cardigan, which is a substantial sweater with fine detailing.
I adore Iowa-born entrepreneur Todd Snyder’s clothes. I just wish I could afford more of them. It’s a pleasure walking around Todd Synder’s Madison Square flagship store to see the array of high-quality formal, business, casual and comfy clothing that he stocks.
Todd regularly produces interesting sweaters for men like an alpaca brown-plaid cardigan and a thick-necked Italian cotton-linen shawl cardigan in navy. Look for pre and post holiday sales if you can. (You can often find deep discounts on Todd Synder around Black Friday.)
Nordstrom is one of my favorite digitally-enabled department stores and a great option to find shawl collar sweaters for men for autumn and winter. The department store regularly features a number of sweaters from its house 1901 brand. (Get to know Nordstrom’s exclusive 1901 brand in the video below.) It also carries a range of innovative clothing brands who also make shawl collar and cardigan sweaters like Billy Reid, Brax, Brunello Cucinelli, Eleventy, French Connection, Liverpool, Pendleton, Rodd & Gunn, RRL, Schott NYC and Tommy Bahama.
None of the brands on this list can touch Brooks Brothers in terms of longevity. The iconic menswear brand has been innovating for over 200 years, though Brooks Brothers has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brooks Brothers regularly produces seasonal shawl collar and cardigan sweaters, including interesting offerings like a Donegal Shawl-Collar Sweater yarn-spun in Italy. Some of their recent sweaters are from their “youthful” Red Fleece Collection have a more modern, slimmer fit.
I don’t like my sweaters to fit to slim. Outerknown makes a classic fit, midweight, shawl-collar Northbeach Cardigan perfect for layering. It’s knit with a 1/2 cardigan stitch that gives it a textured look, and features nice-loking corozo nut buttons.
Their sweaters — in fact, all of their clothes — evoke a sense of nostalgia, making them an elevated alternative to a store like Urban Outfitters.
You can find a 15% discount coupon off Outerknown when you subscribe to their email list.
Amazon has been steadily expanding its own line of menswear brands. (See this guide to Amazon Prime fashion brands for men for more.)
Goodthreads, Amazon’s moderately-priced house brand poised to compete with Banana Republic and J Crew, offers an affordable soft cotton shawl neck cardigan sweater for men with patch pockets that feels comfy.
I love the look of Club Monaco, which is a solid alternative to a store like J. Crew for a range of refined wardrobe staples. Their clothing may not be the cheapest, but it is possible to score on sales.
As fall and winter approach, Club Monoco often carries a nice selection of cardigans, like a sweet-looking button-down merino-racked shawl cardigan sweater, featuring an interesting horizontal stripe hugging the bottom listed at just shy of $170, that I found last season.
Designed and managed in New York, startup State Cashmere makes quality sweaters for men and women using high-quality cashmere from Mongolia. Check out their Button Front Long Sleeve Cashmere Cardigan Sweater in baby blue.
Schott’s story of entrepreneurship dates back to 1913 when brothers Irving and Jack Schott– sons of a Russian immigrant — began producing rain jackets in a basement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Today the company keeps its entrepreneurial streak alive and continues to produce most of its clothing in the United States. Schott has a ton of interesting and affordable sweaters, and carries shawl-collar pullovers — some with a toggle closure, which is a nice touch — and button-down cardigans as well as sweater jackets.
Repeat Cashmere can’t date its roots quite as far back as Schott, but its parent company was founded in 1978 in Europe. The company moved into brick-and-mortar retail in 2008, opening flagships in Amsterdam and Bern. Today — thanks in part to e-commerce — the brand is global. Repeat has a nice selection of v-neck cardigan sweaters and shawl-neck sweaters.
Billing itself as “the most luxurious cashmere collection in the world,” Naked Cashmere sells everything from simple v-neck cashmere sweaters to unique double-striped cashmere jumpers. Naked Cashmere also sells several badass cashmere shawl collar sweaters and cardigan jackets. At $395 and up, they are not inexpensive, though you can cushion the below by saving 10% on Naked Cashmere by signing up for emails.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know Territory Ahead, which emphasizes cozy-yet-stylish wardrobe staples for men with a heavy focus on sweaters. I bought their Ribbed Ragg Wool Zip Cardigan in a natural-colored wool, and have been wearing the heck out of it around the house. It cost $99 and it’s awesome.
Territory Ahead was founded in 1988 and is owned by DAI Holding LLC, which is also the parent of brands including metrostyle and kids’ dress up destination Chasing Fireflies. The company has been creating and selling “Exceptional Clothing for Life’s Adventures” in small batches since the late 1980s focused on outdoor adventure and quality.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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