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Flattering sweaters for men

© Digital Vision / Photodisc / Thinkstock © Digital Vision / Photodisc / Thinkstock

By Ann Lindsay
From Style + Tech For Men

I love big, baggy sweaters, but my girlfriend says they make me look like Cliff Huxtable. Can you suggest some styles that would be more flattering but still comfortable?

Answer: No sweat!

A sweater doesn't have to be baggy to be comfortable. Your problem is one of proportion, not comfort.

A sweater by definition is going to be comfortable because it's soft and knitted, unless it's a cheap-o scratchy one -- something to be avoided at all costs!

Sweaters play an important role in a man's wardrobe. They provide a nice, casual alternative to jackets and sport coats, they're less fussy than a scarf and they bring a soft and approachable aspect to your appearance.

And, come colder weather, they're a great way to layer for warmth and style.

Cardigans have a "Mad Men" retro vibe, and provided you're not built like a contestant on "The Biggest Loser," you'll always look stylish in one like these from Banana Republic and Boss Black. For a little flare, leave the top and bottom buttons undone, or cap the look off with a hat.

If you prefer to fly under the radar, pick up a basic pullover from Eddie Bauer, which always offers a good selection of moderately priced options.

Although looks are important, you'll want to feel good in your sweater too. You can never go wrong with cashmere. (P.S.: It's a chick magnet.)

I love this V-neck from J. Hilburn, which gets bonus points because it's a great value this season and comes in dozens of luscious colors. Anybody can pull it off: The neckline draws attention to your face, and the cut helps even larger guys look trim.

Merino wools are not quite as deliciously soft as cashmere, but they're an excellent addition to your sweater wardrobe. Being less delicate than cashmere, this fabric provides a solid performance factor.

J.Crew offers countless reliable styles, as does the more cost-conscious H&M. Wear it alone or layer it with a casual shirt, like a button-down collared shirt from Express.

If you are built on the generous side, you'll want to steer clear of bulky, cabled, fisherman-style sweaters.

Choose darker colors and go for a monochromatic look (i.e., sweater and pants in similar hues). And think vertical lines (and necklines) rather than horizontal, which widen you like a flat-screen TV.


Ann Lindsay is a men's image consultant certified by the Association of Image Consultants International. She is also the founder of Style of Success, a Connecticut-based image consultancy.

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