Versatility and utility are two crucial components of any wardrobe filled with men’s clothing essentials, as we love to talk about at WERD. After all, it’s not as much fun to get dressed (and yes, it can definitely be fun!) if you’re sifting through a closet packed with items that are just a bit too similar to each other. That certainly goes for your rotation of men’s sweaters, especially when the best half and quarter-zip pullovers are yours for the taking.
Quarter and half-zip pullovers check a couple critical boxes in your fall and winter sweater game. The zip design is both a way to incorporate more cold-weather protection into your wardrobe, as they feature a taller design at the neck. The silhouette also functions as a unique layering piece, plain and simple.
Unlike, say, a crewneck sweater, a stylish quarter zip or half-zip sweater makes it easier to show off the buttondown shirt or henley you might be wearing underneath.
The best half and quarter-zip sweaters are also a visually interesting, casual layering piece – feel free to wear one beneath anything and everything from a field jacket to a leather flight jacket for a touch of extra coverage and style.
Best of all is the fact that half and quarter-zip sweaters are both a performance-minded move as well as a stylish one. Many are made out of soft cotton or cotton blends, but some incorporate moisture-wicking fabrics or soft fleece – we say avoid the sporty logos of athletic brands and instead look to trusted retailers to find a stylish pullover. These are our favorites at the moment.
Leave it to heritage menswear purveyors Flint and Tinder, via Huckberry, to deliver on an heirloom-quality zip sweater with all the right bells and whistles. The lambswool-nylon blend is sturdy yet stretchy, while the waxed cotton elbow patches are tough as can be.
Buck Mason’s quest to take over your wardrobe continues, with this suitably casual, well-made quarter zip. The brushed-back French terry cotton should prove super-soft, while the ribbed wrist cuffs and hem give it a feel similar to a more classed-up, cooler crewneck sweatshirt. Bonus points for cool touches like a brushed nickel zipper and crisp color options.
Recall what we said about quarter and half-zip sweaters as a sort of performance and style hybrid? Well, this Everlane version, with moisture-wicking, anti-microbial merino fabric and a minimal look and feel, is a perfect example of how cool the style can get.
Sometimes, you just want a cozy sweater you can throw on and not think about too much, like a reliable fleece made in sustainable fashion. Patagonia delivers on all fronts, and they’ve even incorporated some eye-catching retro pattern options into the mix with this stylish quarter-zip, just like the old days.
It doesn’t get much more luxe than cashmere, which is ideal as a mid-layer or as a standalone sweater on breezy (but not insanely chilly) days. It also doesn’t get much more accessible than this version from Huckberry.
You know that trusty sweater you keep close at hand for lounging by the fireplace? Make sure it’s as good as this L.L. Bean number, which blends cotton with luxe cashmere for a premium, laidback winter style staple. All that’s missing is a roaring fire and a fresh pot of coffee.
If you’re searching for a serious upgrade to your sweater rotation, it’s best to look closely at what J.Crew has in the works. Cashmere is the way to go with this ultra-comfortable, super-soft, stylish half-zip sweater for men, especially in classic colors like Navy.
Barbour has long specialized in making hard-wearing, road-ready waxed jackets, so it makes perfect sense that they’d complement that approach with the perfect layering piece: A half-zip sweater. Use the front-zip design as you please to get maximum coverage on the road.
Perhaps best known as both a heritage British retailer and the maker of James Bond’s favorite polo, Sunspel offers a decidedly premium take on the quarter-zip sweater. Merino wool should prove exceptionally comfortable whether layered over a cotton tee or Sunspel’s Riviera Polo.
Brushed cotton makes this quarter-zip pullover soft to the touch and ever-so-slightly breathable when worn atop a cotton Ralph Lauren tee or a lightweight flannel shirt. Better still is the even-vented hem for a comfortable fit and ease of movement.
Some of the best, softest fabric on the market is a hallmark of New York’s Faherty, whether used in garment-dyed chinos, flannel shirts or this handsome quarter-zip sweater. The blend of cotton, nylon and other fibers makes this sweater warm, stretchy and durable, able to bounce back with ease after repeated wear.
Remember what we said about the right blend of performance and style? Relwen’s rugged take on the quarter-zip nails that balance correctly, with stretch fabric and a tough, double-layer stand-up collar for plenty of added protection from the elements.