A good cardigan straddles the line between hoodie and blazer, and the
best men's cardigan sweaters look on-point for any occasion (whether you’re leaving the house or not). The one thing most people can agree on is that a good cardigan should, above all, be comfy — and that’s where sweater materials come into play.
Wool and cashmere take top honors — they're warm, cozy, and
less likely to pill over time. Merino wool is another great choice as it's thermoregulating, sheds water like a duck, and doesn’t hold onto odors. It's also exceptionally soft (and not itchy like other types of wool). Cashmere is the king of sweater materials for obvious reasons: It’s the softest thing you can put on your body, it’s incredibly warm, and it's lightweight — look for at least two-ply options for softness that will last.
But if you're after affordable or vegan options,
cotton is a good lightweight choice that you can wear year-round. It’s soft, breathable, and absorbent — just like your favorite tee. Acrylic is a synthetic alternative to wool, although you have to be careful with how you wash it so it doesn't pill or lose its shape. Aside from that, it’s a decent budget option. A blend, of course, will exhibit some of the best qualities of the materials at play . It’s a great way to get a similar feeling to a cashmere sweater without paying two-ply prices.
From there, it's all about the cut. A full-zip cardigan can be worn to the office or as a lightweight outer layer. For an extra polished look, pick up a classic button-down or seek out something with a shawl collar or double-breasted cut. If you’re often super-casual, you might do better with a hooded cardigan.
cardigan style you're on the hunt for, there's sure to be an option below that you'll want to add to your sweater arsenal. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 01 The classic one
all-purpose cardigan can stand in for a hoodie when you need to polish it up a bit, but it still feels pretty damn comfortable. This one is made from smooth 100% merino wool with a V-neck and two discreet pockets on the front. Although hand washing is advised, wool's natural anti-odor properties mean you won't have to do it as often. "This sweater is thin and lightweight, but surprisingly warm for the thinness of the material," one Amazon reviewer commented. On a budget? Consider picking up a similar cardigan in 100% cotton. Available colors: 5 Available sizes: X-Small – 3X-Large 02 The full-zip one
full-zip cardigan makes for an upscale sporty jacket but in an affordable, easy-to-care-for package. It's made from 100% cotton that's machine-washable and feels as comfortable as a well-worn tee. This cardigan features a mock-neck ribbed collar and two welt pockets for your hands. "A soft non-itchy cotton front full zip sweater with lots of color choices, reasonable quality and thickness, and a decent price," one reviewer commented. For a toasty full-zip option, check out this flannel lined cardigan. Available colors: 9 Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large 03 The hoodie
If you lean towards street style,
a hooded cardigan puts a cool spin on the conservative sweater. This one has an open front design with two low-profile pockets; the cotton-polyester blend is machine washable (though hand washing is recommended) and comes in a good number of colors — you can even get one that looks like a Jedi robe. "This cardigan is super comfy and soft, it is great to watch movies in," one fan reported. "It is very light weight and warm at the same time." Available colors: 18 Available sizes: Small – XX-Large 04 The cashmere one
If you're after the softest sweater money can buy,
a cashmere cardigan is a worthy investment. It looks and feels top-notch while providing lightweight warmth that's hard to beat. In a classic V-neck style, with a button-down front and two pockets, you can wear it almost anywhere (and you'll probably want to). The two-ply construction makes it extra cushy. Just make sure to hand wash this sweater or have it dry cleaned.
"It fit perfectly and was very soft and comfy," one reviewer wrote. "High quality cashmere with great details. Beautiful job. Will buy again." Looking for a more affordable option? Consider a
cashmere wool blend cardigan. Available colors: 3 Available sizes: Small – XX-Large 05 The one with elbow-patches
For a good old-fashioned collegiate look, this
shawl-collar sweater with elbow patches is ruggedly handsome. It's woven from 100% acrylic for the look and feel of wool — it's even machine-washable — with vegan faux suede on the elbows. Two patch pockets hold whatever you need, and the collar can be turned up for more warmth. "This is a fantastic sweater — really nice weight, good construction, and fits great," one shopper confirmed. To get a modern take, consider a full-zip cardigan with elbow patches instead. Available colors: 5 Available sizes: Small – XX-Large 06 The double-breasted one
cable knit double-breasted cardigan pairs the tailored button-front style of a blazer with a chunky cable knit for a sweater that looks incredibly nice at a budget-friendly price. It's woven from acrylic and a bit of cotton, with matching buttons and a shawl collar. Since care instructions aren't indicated, you may want to hand wash or hedge bets on a delicate machine cycle. Either way, it looks good with boots and jeans or a pair of chinos.
"Overall I like the sweater," one reviewer noted. "I bought a large which is my normal size, and it’s rather form fitting. If you want it to fit like it does in the pictures, I would order one size up from what you normally buy."
Available colors: 7 Available sizes: Medium – XX-Large