22 Different Types of Sweaters

Take a closer look at sweaters and how they became not just a functional garment but also a fashionable and versatile clothing by learning about the different types of sweaters.

A close look at three sweaters.

Sweaters date back to the 15th century when fishermen’s wives from Guernsey in the Channel Islands between Britain and France knitted “guernseys” for their husbands. The guernsey was adopted by other coastal communities in the British Isles and the North Sea and was later called a “gansey.” The gansey featured a short collar and easily re-knitted cuffs.

In the mid-19th century, the fitted woolen sweater was worn as a part of the uniform by sailors, navy, and army personnel. At the end of the 19th century, the fashion trend became more relaxed so men wore their sweater as outerwear. The women followed suit thereafter.

A few of our favorite sweater stores

Sweaters (Men & Women) at Banana Republic

Banana Republic is one of my favorite casual wear clothing stores, sweaters included.

Women's Sweaters at BR Men's Sweaters at BR
Sweaters at Anthropologie

Looking for stylish women's sweaters?

Anthropologie has you covered. It's one of our faves.

Stunning Sweaters at Anthropologie Learn More
Sweaters at Amazon

Yeah yeah, you know that Amazon has sweaters. It sells many sweaters. All types of sweaters for men and women. It's worth checking out.

Men's Sweaters Women's Sweaters

Basic Types of Sweater Designs

Boyfriend Sweater

A close look at a yellow boyfriend sweater.

This type of sweater is a cardigan with a V-neck, and it is usually a button-down sweater. The great thing about the boyfriend sweater is that it goes with both casual and dressy occasions, especially because it comes in such a wide selection of fabrics and colors. It is also an oversized sweater that is both comfortable and flattering.

Cardigan Sweater

A charcoal gray cardigan sweater with a buttoned shirt underneath.

This is your basic sweater with long sleeves and buttons down the front. It is collarless, and it can have a round neck or a V-neck design. This type of sweater is your basic go-to sweater when you’re running out the door and you know it’s cool outside. It can be solid-colored or designed with a pattern, and it can be machine or hand knitted.

Crew Neck Sweater

A man wearing a dark gray crew neck sweater.

Crew necks are basic round necks, and they are the most popular type of sweater there is. Good for both men and women, crew necks flatter most body types, and they also offer top-notch comfort, regardless of what type you end up buying. This is a basic, but classic look, and it behooves everyone to have at least one of these in their closet.

Grandpa Sweater

These are very similar to the shawl collar sweater, even though some are made without the collar. They are loose-fitting and have over-sized features, including large buttons, large pockets, and large patches on the elbows. They are usually made of something such as wool to keep you extra warm, and they are extremely comfortable as well.

Half-Zip Sweater

A man wearing a red half-zip sweater.

Source: Macys

As far as design goes, these sweaters can be made of almost any fabric and come in a variety of designs, but they all have one thing in common – they have a zipper that runs from the top of the neck to about mid-chest area. In other words, the zipper isn’t found the entire length of the sweater, so you still have to pull it on over your head. Half-zip sweaters are meant as outerwear and do a great job of keeping you warm on those cool fall or winter days.

Mock Turtleneck Sweater

A man sporting a black sweater with a mock turtleneck.

These are very similar to a turtleneck in the way they look, with the difference being that the neck itself isn’t as constrictive or as large as a regular turtleneck sweater. If you like the look of a turtleneck, but don’t like the way the collar feels on your neck, the mock turtleneck sweater might just suit your fancy. It also comes in a wide variety of fabrics and colors.

Raglan Sleeve Sweater

Carraig Donn Ladies Irish Multi Cabled Raglan Super Soft Merino Wool Sweater (Medium, Sea Foam Green)
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This sleeve uses one continuous piece of fabric and has no joints of separate pieces until you get to the neck. If you’ve ever seen a typical baseball shirt, this is a perfect example of a raglan sleeve.

Roll Neck Sweater

A pink roll neck sweater for women.

Roll-neck sweaters are sometimes confused with turtlenecks, but in roll-neck sweaters, the neck part isn’t as high. Meant to be worn mostly for casual occasions, it is essentially a combination of a crew neck and a turtleneck. It does have a high collar, but it is not normally as high as a turtleneck, and it has an edge that is rolled a little.

Set-in Sleeve Sweater

These sleeves are actually sewn onto the body of the sweater, meaning the sweater has two separate pieces of fabric that were sewn together. Because of the extra stitching and the seams usually used, set-in sleeves look very professional and are, therefore, frequently worn by business professionals and those aiming for a dressier look.

Shawl Collar Sweater

Style & Co. Womens Plus Striped Marled Cardigan Sweater Blue 2X
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Shawl collars are so named because the tops of the sweaters look like shawls. There is extra fabric sewn around the neck area to keep you warm and comfortable. Shawl collars are most common in cardigans, and they are good for both casual and formal wear, or even if you need a replacement for your hoodie. They are also worn by both men and women, so they are not only attractive sweaters, but they can be fashionable as well.

Sweater Vest

A colorful and patterned sweater vest.

Sweater vests are sleeveless and meant to be worn over some type of shirt. They can have round necks or V-necks, and they make a perfect accompaniment to a business suit or even a casual outfit.

Turtleneck Sweater

A man wearing a white turtleneck sweater.

Turtleneck sweaters are extremely popular and with good reason. Not only do turtleneck sweaters come in a variety of fabrics and colors, but they can also be appropriate for both casual and more formal occasions. If you wear them under a blazer, you can wear them almost anywhere. As long as you don’t tuck them in and they aren’t too tight for your size, they should look great no matter where you wear them.

V-Neck Sweater

A moss-green V-neck sweater.

These sweaters have a collar shaped like a V, hence the name. There are many advantages to wearing a V-neck sweater. Not only are they very attractive and trendy, but they can elongate your body and make you look taller, which women in particular love. They can be made out of many different fabrics and colors, and they really should be considered a basic when it comes to what’s in your closet because they can be worn in so many different circumstances.

Materials Used for Sweaters


PattyBoutik Women Cotton Blend Crewneck Cable Knit Sweater (Heather Light Gray Small)
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Depending on the materials used, blends can make sweaters either cooler or warmer, and lighter or heavier. There are cotton blends and silk blends, and whatever you’re looking for you can easily find it.

You can find sweaters made of high-end materials such as cashmere, silk, and wool, which produce a classier product; or lower-end products such as linen and cotton if you want something lighter and more durable. In fact, regardless of the combination of fabrics you are looking for when shopping for a sweater, it is easy to find it if you know where to look.

Cashmere Sweater

JENNIE LIU Women's 100% Cashmere Long Sleeve Pullover Crew Neck Sweater Navy Medium
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Cashmere is the epitome of luxury, and it is made from a type of wool that comes from goats. It is extremely lightweight and soft, but it keeps you very warm. Feeling cashmere against your skin is a feeling like no other, and once you wear a sweater made of cashmere, it will be difficult to go back to wearing any other type of sweater. Yes, they are a little more expensive than other sweaters, but they are always well worth the price.

Cotton Sweater

Amazon Essentials Men's Crewneck Cable Cotton Sweater, Black, X-Small
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Cotton sweaters are lightweight, durable, and cool. You can wear them in both the summer and the spring whenever there’s a late-night chill. Although it is mostly considered casual wear, cotton can look dressy if you know how to accessorize.

You can also choose cotton blends if you don’t like to iron. Cotton is one of the most comfortable and versatile fabrics available, and finding cotton sweaters that are high quality and reasonably priced should never be difficult.

Linen Sweater

Eileen Fisher Organic Linen Blue Bird Sweater 1X 2X MSRP $188.00 (2X)
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Because linen is breathable and absorbs moisture even better than cotton, this is one fabric you’ll only want to wear when the weather is warm. Linen can wrinkle, which is one of the reasons many men don’t like it, but it is a light material that comes in various colors and designs, and it will keep you cool as nothing else will. It is also a very attractive material, coming in colors that range from light blue to darker colors such as burgundy and navy blue.

Sheep Wool Sweater

GANT Lambswool V-Neck Mens Jumper Marine M
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Other than cotton, sheep wool is used for most sweaters made nowadays, and there are various types of wool that you can choose from. They each vary when it comes to softness and warmth, but the most common types are Shetland, Merino, and Lambswool, the latter being the result of the first shearing of the sheep.

In regards to softness, Merino ranks first, followed by Lambswool and Shetland. If you have a sweater that is itchy, it was likely made of Shetland wool, because Merino wool is much softer and more comfortable.

Silk Sweater

Cielo Women's Knit Silk Soft Cardigan Sweater, V-Neck (Extra Large, SW205 Black)
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Sweaters made entirely of silk are difficult to find, but you can find sweaters made with silk as an insulator and also to add to its aesthetic appeal. Silk is not only comfortable and soft, but it is also a durable material that does a great job of retaining heat. In most cases, you are going to find silk blends, but they are nonetheless very soft and comfortable sweaters. The sweaters come in various designs and styles, so you can get one in any color or size you need.

Basic Styles of Sweaters

Cable Knit Sweater

Rocorose Women's Cable Knit Long Sleeves Turtleneck Sweater Black XS
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Cable-knit sweaters are known for a unique cable pattern, but it is there for more than just aesthetic appeal. It also adds warmth and a little texture, giving it a relaxed look that you can wear anywhere you need to go. It is meant more for casual occasions, but if you wear it with dress slacks or a skirt and a blazer, it can look quite dressy. Cable-knit sweaters are both comfortable and fashionable, which is one of the many reasons for their popularity.

Knitted Sweater

A woman wearing a gray knitted sweater.

Most sweaters are knitted and have a distinct vertical pattern that shows the stitches, and there are many advantages of this type of sweater. They stretch well without tearing, and they are easy to maintain as well.

The best part about knitted sweaters is that they go with everything and come in so many different colors that it is all but impossible not to find something that pleases you. They can also be knitted out of various yarns, which means you’ll find just what you need whether you want something lightweight or a little heavier.

Ribbed Sweater

A woman wearing a gray ribbed sweater.

Just like the name suggests, these sweaters have a “ribbed” look, similar to corduroy. You can find these sweaters in various thicknesses and colors, and they give you great texture without all of the bulk that a regular sweater has. It is a lightweight sweater, but if you pair it with a blazer you can even wear it when it’s cold outside.