Fall Style Staple: V-Neck Sweaters


Now that cooler weather has finally moved into the northern hemisphere, it’s time to break out the warm weather clothes. One of the most versatile pieces of clothing that should be in your fall wardrobe is a fine gauge v-neck sweater, a.k.a. jumper. Just like having a pair of classic dark washed jeans that can take you from office casual to drinks at the Ritz, a classic v-neck sweater will cover a lot of bases without overdoing it.

Now, I’m not talking about a chunky ski sweater or that shapeless holdover used for yard work. This sweater should be considered the equivalent of dress clothing. You want something that is lightweight, lightly fitted, and soft. Cashmere is the best choice of course, but depending on quality and brand name, it can be very expensive. A personal note: don’t bother with double and triple thick cashmere unless you are spending lots of time outdoors in the cold at fancy events where you can brag about how much your sweater costs. Most of us are wearing these indoors at work or home and the extra thickness will only make you extra warm. As an alternative to cashmere, merino wool is an excellent fabric. Look for tightly knit fabric that is soft to the touch and a comfortable fit.

Stick with solids at first – grey, brown, navy blue, and black. Once you have the basics in place, add an argyle for that college professor look. Indeed, this season there is a fair amount of variety when it comes to knits and texture and you can add some flair to your wardrobe with cables, heathers, and rough-weaves. Crew necks, sweater vests, and cardigans are all in this season as well, so make sure to check out all of your options.

The v-neck sweater is a timeless piece that, when chosen carefully, can be happily used for years. Several seasons back a deeper “v” was favored, while these days a higher neck line is preferred. Generally speaking, I like the “v” to fall about two inches (roughly 5 cm) from the neck line as it provides room for a shirt collar to spread out while at the same time still containing it.

Wear it over a tee shirt with those dressy jeans and you’re pulling off George Clooney-like cool. For a classic preppy look, throw it over an oxford and head off to a lunch meeting. If you are having dinner at a nice place but a jacket is still too formal, reach for your v-neck as the perfect compromise. Regardless, you’re good to go with this classically flexible layer.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at OffTheCuffDC.com. A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. Avon Celli and Malo sweaters are finest. They’re pricey, but often can be found on sale for the price of Ralph Lauren sweaters.

  2. Really agree on this one. I can’t get enough V-necks! They are so versatile.

    Although, I must confess, because of my build I buy very cheap v-necks in all the colours of the rainbow from Zara Women (that’s right, Women). They’re just the same in terms of cut and although they are not of that high a quality, they are acceptable to wear under a blazer for a dash of colour.