Sartoria Lab


Cardigans - summer layers for changeable weather

Is this changeable weather confusing you no end as to what to wear? Yep, me too. The answer though, is layering and I find a lot of the guys I take on shopping trips, like the ease of a cardigan so they can whip it on and off as the sun goes in, out and shakes it all about.

Though I frequently buy navy and grey with clients, I thought I'd step away from the defaults for a minute and take a look at some at the lighter brown end of the spectrum. They lend themselves particularly well to cotton and linen textures which is what I've chosen here, and it also means they'll be warm as an extra layer but still breathable and won't look too wintery either.

Gap linen cotton mens cardigan for layering in summer

I was just discussing with a colleague the other day how I rarely go to Gap anymore, and Uniqlo has replaced it as my go to store for basics. But whilst searching online for some cardigans to show you, this one popped up which was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. It's very light so you can chuck it in your backpack just in case. and though it looks great for a photo worn with all white, not that many of my clients would go for that look. Instead it would be great with olive chinos and a white t-shirt and then you could layer a navy jacket (maybe a chore jacket) on top and perhaps even a linen scarf too and then add and subtract as needed.

V-neck cardigan sweater in linen and cotton - Gap - £29.99

Inis Meain knitted linen cardigan pub jacket for men

Beautifully knitted this pure linen jacket has a crisp texture to it. If you like your clothes to be rugged with natural fabrics and earthy colours, then it's quite likely you'll fall in love with this. Perfect to layer on top of a chambray shirt and worn in jeans and accessorised with a distressed leather belt and Red Wing boots.  If you wanted to treat it as a blazer, you could even add in an a check linen waistcoat underneath for an interesting textural look.

Natural knitted "pub jacket" in linen - Inis Meáin - £260

Massimo Dutti cardigan jacket for layering for men in changeable weather

This blazer style cardigan is great for the ever confusing smart casual look. This is the area I get asked most about by clients as it's such a large area and easy to get wrong. At the less formal end of smart/casual, style it like they have done in the picture with a t-shirt and trainers, or if you want to up the scale of formality a little then swap the t-shirt for a white button down shirt and the trainers for brown brogues (see "what to shoes to wear with smart casual outfits" post). If you took both looks with you on a business trip they'd be easily interchangeable if you don't know how formal or casual it's going to be. You could even pop a linen tie in your bag in case you need to formalise your outfit more and a lightweight mac if you need another layer.

Textured blazer style cardigan in cotton mix - Massimo Dutti - £39.95

Iris Von Arnim beige linen cardigan - personal shopping for men

If you feel too smart in smooth cotton fabrics, then the looser weave of this one might just be for you. (I find a drapier style like this works well on big guys.) It could be worn in a smart but relaxed way over an ice blue linen shirt and perhaps with some tobacco coloured trousers and an unstructured check blazer. For a more casual look, pile on the layers with a crew neck t-shirt under a camp collared shirt with the cardi on top. Add some indigo jeans and desert boots at the bottom for a layered look suitable for the Great British summer.....that's usually anything but!

"Freddy" linen cardigan - Iris Von Arnim at Matches - £220

Massimo Dutti zip through cardigan - how to layer in summer for men

A client bought this cardigan in navy (since choosing this colour, there's now only navy and rust left) recently. He lives in a tropical country but it can get colder in the evenings, so he wanted something easy to throw on instead of a blazer or a jacket. This has a really nice textured weave to it and was the perfect weight. Many guys also prefer a zip through version, to take it away from any thoughts of a button cardigan being a "grandad" style.

Textured weave cotton zip through cardigan - Massimo Dutti - £44.95

"Meeting and working with Sarah was one of the best things I have done in the past year! She really solved all my wardrobe issues, I have renewed it all with her and now I feel very comfortable in all I am wearing. Thanks Sarah!!"

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