Formal jumpers for men

There’s an art to pulling off an office pullover like a gent.

There’s an art to pulling off a formal office pullover like a gent.
Image source: Ysbrand Cosijn

Is it really OK to wear a jumper in the office? A warm sweater might make your commute a more comfortable experience, but when it comes to down to business, should you ditch the knitwear or risk looking unprofessional? Here we take a look at formal men’s jumpers, and give you our verdict on appropriate woollens for men at work.

Can I wear a crew neck with a tie?

Wear a round neck jumper with a soft collar

Wear a round neck jumper with a soft collar
Image: Crew neck jumpers from Samuel Windsor

The answer is no – you can’t wear a classic crew neck jumper with a formal shirt and tie. Nor should you wear just the formal shirt without the tie. Stiff collars and casual jumpers don’t mix. But having said that, a crew neck is a good way to smarten up a casual office outfit.

If you’re one of a growing number of men whose office dress policy is smart casual rather than strictly formal, try wearing a crew neck jumper over a shirt with a softer collar – a tattersall shirt for example. Pair this combo with indigo jeans or plain chinos and you’re ready to go to work.

Can I wear a v-neck under my jacket?

If you’re wearing a tie, choose a v-neck jumper

If you’re wearing a tie, choose a v-neck jumper
Image Source: RobinE

Yes, you can. But you’ll look a bit like a geography teacher. A v-neck sweater is your go-to office jumper because, not only will it keep you snug while you wait for your train, but it’s perfectly acceptable to wear it as a top layer when you’re at your desk in the the main office. For the most formal look, thin, high quality v-necks are the way to go, preferably in a cashmere mix.

If you do happen to be a geography teacher, or any other occupation for which approachability is a key consideration, wearing a v-neck jumper under a tweed jacket is a good option because adding texture softens your look. For the last word in softly, softly, wear moleskin trousers.

Will my street cred tank?

Tank tops look great with a checked shirt

Tank tops look great with a checked shirt
Image source: Samuel Windsor tank tops

Not anymore. In past times wearing a tank top to work would see you laughed out of the office. But while Mr Bean is just the sort of chap you’d traditionally associate with sleeveless pullovers, in the modern technological landscape of bean-bag loving startup execs, the tank is perfectly acceptable for office wear.

Not sure? Remember that as long as the geeks rule the roost – and let’s face it, when even James Bond’s Q wears knitwear to the office, they do – you’re sure to get away with it too. Wear your tank with contrasting shirt, and for the full cool-geek look, go for cords.

Roll on the roll neck?

Roll neck jumpers exude an air of creativity

Roll neck jumpers exude an air of creativity
Image source: Bruce Mars

Yes and no. The work-wearability of a roll neck sweater is occupation specific, as in if you’re a theatre director, design creative, or Bond-style assassin – yes. If you’re a standard desk jockey – probably not.

If you do have a roll-neck appropriate job, this sweater makes an excellent choice. Not only will it make you look a little bit like Michael Caine in his heyday, it’s also a slimming garment, and is ideal for hiding saggy necks. A dark roll neck looks great with a contrasting light-grey suit, or for more casual office wear, with indigo jeans.

Can I wear a cardigan to the office?

A cardigan is a great alternative to a waistcoat

A cardigan is a great alternative to a waistcoat
Image source: Samuel Windsor cardigans

Yes, definitely. As long as you don’t bring your pipe and slippers too. Cardigans were once the preserve of the decrepit – but times change, and so has the cardigan. Todays woollens are very smart, and very on trend. It’s time to think of yours as an alternative to a waistcoat, giving your suit a colourful lift while avoiding the strict formality of a three piece.

Do you wear a jumper to the office? We’d love to hear how you wear yours. Just drop us a line via our Facebook page.

Posted in Men's style guides.

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