Now that business casual dress codes are all the rage, finding the best knitwear for your look with your dress shirt is a great way of staying warm while still looking professional.
Even if you’re one of the many of us now working from home, it’ll still serve you well to dress for the part (we’ve written about this here). Again, knitwear is a great option, as it strikes a balance between dressing up and dressing down.
Here, we’ll take you through a few great men’s knitwear options, and point out a few top dress shirt & knitwear combinations.
A word on knitwear thickness
It might be tempting to put on something thick and wooly in the winter months, but usually this can end up overwhelming the rest of your outfit and overheating you.
It’s almost always best to wear a thin knitted top instead, as the texture and density pairs up nicely with a 100% cotton dress shirt.
If you’re in search of some extra warmth, find that in a well chosen jacket.
3 Men’s Business Casual Knitwear Options
1. Crew neck sweater
The classic, round neck sweater (or pullover as some call it). It’s a tried and trusted feature in office wear for good reason. The trick is to get the neck right. Too wide and you’ll display too much shirt and tie, too narrow and you’ll look and feel uncomfortable.
Ideally, the collar of your shirt will stay tucked snugly into the neckline of the sweater, while the knot of your tie will be on show.
Better yet, wear a crew neck sweater with no tie at all (if you’re allowed), and undo the top button. You’ll be more comfortable whilst still looking respectable and professional.
2. V-neck sweater
If ties are non-negotiable, a v-neck sweater is probably your best bet. Once again, getting the width and depth of the collar is important. Ideally, around three inches of your tie will be on display, while your shirt collar should stay inside the sweater’s collar. This isn’t a must, but it’ll look much neater and smarter.
To be on the safe side, wear a shirt with a straight point collar, as it will line up nicely with the neck of the sweater.
Some love cardigans, some hate them, and that’s fine. But when well chosen and fitted nicely, a button-up cardigan can really bring your outfit together.
It’s the least formal knitwear option we’ll discuss today, so do make sure that it’s accepted at your office. If in doubt, wear a cardigan with a tie to create a more respectable look.
For office wear, you’ll want your cardigan to fit quite snugly rather than hang loosely around you. It should extend to your waistline, or just below, and ideally it’ll button up to about halfway up your chest. Much like the V-neck, it’ll reveal three or four inches of tie, and showcase your shirt nicely.
3 Great Knitwear & Dress Shirt Combos
1. White Dress Shirt & Dark Blue Knitwear
Conservative and liberal in equal measure. Pairing neutral colours looks smart and neat. If you’re a tie wearer, make it black or charcoal grey to help bridge the other colours. For the bottom half, grey or black trousers will look great.
If you’re looking to add more colour and adventure, light khaki or powder blue chinos will also look fantastic.
2. White Dress Shirt, Black Knitwear & Khaki Chinos
If you’re going to wear black and white, it’s often best to lighten the clash with a mid range colour elsewhere. Hence, we’d recommend a light to medium shade of khaki chinos here. Anything from cream to light brown will look great here. This look is best worn without a tie, but if needs must, a dark grey one will look great. If a black tie is what you fancy however, you can offset the black by wearing a medium to dark grey jacket.
3. Light Blue Striped Formal Shirt, Navy Knitwear & Black Trousers
Remember that whole to-do about wearing black and navy? Somehow it’s stuck around, but pay it no heed. True, black and navy can sometimes clash horribly and look a little too funereal, but that’s where a light blue striped shirt comes in. The shirt will add enough light and colour to the outfit and bring all the elements together nicely.
If black trousers are still a little too much for you personally, swap them out for a pair of mid to dark grey chinos or dress trousers.
By now we hope you’ll feel a little more informed, inspired and confident about wearing knitwear over your dress shirt. See our related articles below, and when it’s time to invest in a quality dress shirt, explore our fantastic collection here.
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