Fall is coming and you need a men's half zip sweater. It’s a wardrobe must and there’s a reason the garment is such a popular staple. When the nights draw in and the days get shorter it’s easy to forget that you’re not as stocked up in the layers department as you thought your were. Fear not because a men's half zip is a versatile option that works for both smart and leisure. Here’s our pick of the best options out there including why you need one and how to style it.
Why a men's half zip sweater is a wardrobe essential
The humble half zip (also referred to as a quarter zip or zip neck sweater) is a certified wardrobe essential. The reason behind it being such a staple is its versatility. The half zip works in multiple environments. It works at home as part of your leisurewear rotation, incorporating snug mid-weight to thick fabrics, usually cotton fleece or wool, to provide a welcome slightly smarter alternative to sweatshirts and hoodies. There’s something about that zip that means business.
The half zip also works in formal settings like the office. In midweight and lightweight cotton, it’ll sit happily above a shirt, collar visible and as seen across many an Italian athleisurewear collection, it’ll look suave underneath soft tailoring. It’s a truly bulletproof piece. For day to day looks, chunkier knit iterations add a welcome layering option and essential warmth during those Fall months.
How to style a men's half zip sweater
Wearing a half zip couldn’t be simpler and this again comes down to its appeal. Looser and relaxed fit half zips are great for wearing above t-shirts and shirting for casual outfits. It’s worth seeking out texture here and allowing layers to stand out. Keep to earthy colours and for busier styles featuring embroidery and print, try to keep the top layer muted to let these features stand out.
In the office the half zip is a friend to all shirting, be that button downs or more formal styles. It’s worth going for a slightly more fitted silhouette here but don’t go too tight, never go too tight. Grey, navy and black are always bulletproof and of course, opt for a darker or lighter shirt, embracing a natural contrast. No bright colours please.
Best men's half zip sweaters for 2023
Leave it to Asket to construct a hard-working half zip from extra-fine merino wool. With a 4-ply knitted body and double-layer rib at the collar and hem, the piece strikes the perfect balance between casual comfort and quiet luxury. Complete the head-turning look with crisp white trousers and velvet loafers.
Artknit Studios makes a strong case for Italian craftsmanship with a half-zip jumper, made from 100% merino wool to ensure warmth with or without layers. Ribbed stitched from hem to cuff, no stone was left unturned in the small details department. Wear it with a high neck when you mean business, and keep it unzipped for smart casual cool after your nine to five.
If not merino wool, cashmere is your next best option when it comes to luxuriously soft fabrics. Take it from Luca Faloni, who took to the prestigious Cariaggi Fine Yarns Collection of Northern Italy to knit a pure cashmere zip up with a classic cable pattern. Simple enough for everyday, yet distinctive enough to garner a double take now and then.
Though equally sophisticated as a standalone piece, the Lightweight Easy Zip Sweater by L'Estrange calls for a lavishly layered look. The London-based label is, after all, an advocate of modular wardrobes. And that's exactly what this half zip offers: a degree of versatility that demands to be donned over and over again.
The Vast half-zip in khaki from thoughtful outdoors brand Foret, is a welcome swap for your hoodies or sweatshirts, giving a welcome alternative with vintage looks. Made from GOTS-certified cotton in a regular fit, the garment features ribbed hems and raglan sleeves. Nice details on a piece made for layering as part of outfits for outdoor pursuits. Wear it atop the brand’s Heath stonewash denim and a sturdy pair of winter boots.
There’s fashion-forward options when it comes the the humble half zip too. CLOSED have one such option. This men's half zip sweater comes in black with embroidery and print on the chest. A high collar with drawstring also differentiates this one from others on the list, with a classic zip down the chest and kangaroo pocket. Brushed for softness inside, this half-zip is made from 100% organic cotton and comes in a regular fit.
The Lloyd midweight Cashfeel half-zip from WAHTS is a classic versatile piece that can be dressed up or down, lending it to officewear situations as easily as relaxing on the couch. Plenty of classic colour options also make it worth stocking up on. The garment is spun from 100% extra-fine merino wool, a naturally soft and comfortable fabric with breathability and a cashmere-like feel. Ribbed cuffs and hem keep things sharp, as does a slightly raised collar, which will sit nicely above a lighter-coloured shirt. A must for your office-wear rotation.
Feel like you’re part of the A Team with Axel Arigato’s Team half zip sweater. A big Terry ‘A’ chest patch gives welcome trademark varsity vibes for a cool casual piece. Knitted from a soft lambswool blend, the sweater has a loose, boxy profile with an almost funnel-like half zip collar and dropped shoulders. Another great option if you’re looking for a textured piece for layering.
Here’s an option if you’re looking for a chunkier half-zip with texture. Collegiate outfitter Gant’s textured half-zip sweater comes in a relaxed fit with raglan sleeves and lends itself to layering. Crafted from a mid-weight, snug lambswool blend it’ll provide a welcome slouchy fit above wide trousers, underneath the canopy of a big winter coat. Picture it being worn traipsing through Autumn leaves on the way to either an afternoon lecture or, ideally, the pub.
Comfort is king when it comes to the Lululemon Steady State half zip. Ask the brand why they made it and they’ll softly whisper the word comfort into your ear. Available in an array of easy to wear colours, it’s one for your leisurewear rotation. Purposefully roomy, it’s made from a soft cotton blend fleece making it warm and snug when temperatures drop, whilst still remaining breathable. Rock it with your favourite joggers and a puffer for extra warmth.