With Fall on the way and winter not too far behind, it’s time to start thinking about gearing up for the chilly weather. Once you’ve got a good everyday layer as well as some fitting outerwear for when things start to turn ugly (or are at their most seasonably pleasant, depending how you see things), you’ll want to look at sweater or sweatshirt. A mid layer, so to speak – but one meant for everyday wear and not for the outdoors. This fall, we recommend suiting up with one of these shawl collar sweaters.
Shawl collar sweaters can come in a few types – usually a cardigan, but also as a pullover. Either way, they are classy pieces that fit almost any outfit during the colder months, layered under a jacket or on their own. A shawl collar isn’t overly formal and stiff. Nor is it too casual. In other words, the perfect sweater for virtually anything. They can be old-fashioned – wool and traditional – or modern stylish, but they’re always welcome in our book.
Here are our picks for 2020.
LL Bean’s Fisherman Cardigan is as classic as it gets; understated, appropriate for anything, and with a timeless look that will never go out of style. Despite appearances, it’s cotton, rather than wool, which keeps the price tag down while still allowing for a thick, warm build and traditional LL Bean quality. To ensure it appeals to the more hip, LL Bean gave it a slimmer, more stylish cut. For timeless but signature style, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re looking for a good budget option, look no further than Perry Elli’s Shawl Collar Sweater. Made from a lightweight but warm blend of cotton, poly and viscose, it’s the perfect amount of stretchy and quick drying, is stylish but classic, and still totally affordable. You can even machine wash it (how convenient). The layered jersey knit gives it a sophisticated look while maxing out comfort and style, too.
Cardigan’s are best for classier occasions, but the Shelter from Outerknown strikes the perfect balance of effortless casual and the expected class. By using an 85/15 organic cotton/wool blend, they maximized comfort, softness and earth-friendliness while still leaving some breathability and extra warmth. And wool is, of course, anti-microbial, which means you can wear it for quite a while before the stink sets in.
This must be our favorite of all these shawl collar sweaters, just at first glance. Classic British clothier Charles Tyrwhitt wove this beautiful shawl collar sweater from 100% merino wool, sourced from Australian sheep (where the best merino always come from). That means it’s incredibly soft, ultra-warm and just darn comfortable to wear, day-in and day-out. The Jacquard pattern and texture adds some timeless style, and it’s been garment-washed for softness the first time you put it on. And yes – it’s machine washable. We can see this paired with virtually any rugged jacket.
This classy-looking, old-time sweater somehow manages to look oh-so-comfortable…it might as well as your favorite beat-up and worn-in hoodie. It’s 100% cotton, so it breaks in just like that hoodie but offers warmth and an appearance not unlike that of wool. A split kangaroo pocket keeps your hands warm, and the knit construction gives it a bit of natural stretch (just be sure not to overstretch it).
This is one is super different. Made from a lightweight Indigo French Terry fabric, it’s super soft and looks almost like denim. “Vintage military details,” like those pleated flap pockets and sleeve cuffs, add timeless trimming and flair. And it’s been washed with special softeners to give it that old-time, broken-in feel before it has even been worn. It’s not your typical shawl collar sweater, that’s for sure – but we can guarantee you’ll stand out from the pack this fall.
Another tried-and-true cardigan, this sweater is the epitome of Shawl Collar. J Crew opted for 100% cotton, which again, keeps the price tag down…but they haven’t skimped on thickness of fabric or padding. It provides that perfect layer of warmth when heading out into the chill, and the 3-button cardigan design is easy to put on, take off and pair with virtually any outfit. It’s so heavy it can function as its own jacket on days where you need warmth…but a full outer layer isn’t actually necessary. And again, since it is cotton – you can machine wash it.
This 100% organic cotton sweater is 100% – at the risk of overusing this word – classy. It’s got that effortless look that we think defines good clothing, a traditional cable knit for some texture, and a perfect modern fit. The organic cotton is thick and plush and should feel just as soft and comfortable as the finest wool (but without any scratchiness). That wooden toggle closure adds a bit of seafaring style not found on many modern pieces. We can’t really think of a better way to keep warm during the upcoming cooler months of the year.
Simple, understated and totally affordable. Goodthreads opts for 100% cotton with this sweater, but the supreme softness and a little bit of stretch make it seem so much more luxurious. The shawl collar is streamlined and neat – not bulky – and the trim fit keeps things comfortably close to the vest (better for the slimmer folks). There’s 15 colors – both bright and muted – to choose from, and you can machine wash it (provided you air dry).
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