Sweaters are a staple component of a man’s winter wardrobe. When the mercury drops, you’ll need to trade in your sleeveless and short-sleeved t-shirts for warmer garments. With its long sleeves and thick construction, sweaters are the perfect choice of winter weather apparel. However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of sweater fabrics, as each one has its own unique characteristics.
The most common fabric in which sweaters are made, cotton is inexpensive, lightweight and cool. It’s also easy to maintain, sustaining minimal shrinkage when washed and dried. For these reasons and others, cotton sweaters are a popular choice among fashion-conscious men.
While popular, cotton sweaters lack the warmth of some thicker fabrics, including wool. Made of sheep’s wool, these sweaters are thicker, warmer and even softer than their cotton counterparts. This makes it particularly useful during the winter months. The only real downside is that wool sweaters cost more than cotton, though most men will agree that it’s well worth the investment.
Keep in mind, however, that there are different types of wool. Shetland wool, for instance, is a more coarse type of wool that often causes itching. In comparison, Merino wool is a softer, more supple variation. If you’re interested in buying a wool sweater, check to see what type of wool it’s made of.
Some sweaters are made of a fabric that’s lighter and thinner than cotton: linen. Derived from the fibers of the flax plant, linen is exceptionally thin and lightweight. Because of this, linen sweaters — as well as other linen garments — should generally only be worn in warm weather. Wearing a linen sweater isn’t going to keep you warm in the winter. On the contrary, it’s lightweight and breathable properties will probably make you feel cooler.
Of course, another fabric in which men’s sweaters are made is cashmere. Cashmere is actually a type of wool obtained by special goats. When compared to traditional sheep’s wool, cashmere is softer and finer, making a prized textile for use in sweaters.
Genuine cashmere sweaters are expensive, however, often costing several hundred dollars a piece. Additionally, they require extra care regarding cleaning and maintenance. If you want your cashmere sweater to last, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the care label. If it says “dry clean only,” avoid washing it in the washing machine and instead take it to your local dry cleaners.