It's easy to vividly picture the stereotypical embarrassing dad. He's standing there holding court at a family gathering, sipping on a Bud Lite, haplessly misjudging the room while cracking awkward jokes about politics.

But wait!

As words slur out his mouth, a slightly jarring thought occurs to you that, despite his questionable humor, controversial beliefs, and the fact he is drunkenly humiliating himself in front of the entire room, here is a guy who knows how to dress.

The signifier is not his ice-white Nike Monarchs or Levi's 501s, but his classy half-zip sweater.

When it comes to foundational basics that every guy should keep in their wardrobe, the half-zip sweater is often criminally overlooked. Unfairly associated with rapidly aging dudes like the one I imagined above and Silicone Valley bros who inexplicably wore it with a shirt underneath, the half-zip is a layering dream.

Think of it like the fleece's little, altogether lighter brother — the outerwear piece you reach for when doing the hungover bodega run and it's still balmy out. Conversely, if it's cold and you require some extra insulation, wear it under a jacket. Throw in the fact it looks good with both sneakers and smart shoes, and you have a secret weapon to be reckoned with for the problematic fall/winter transitional season.

If you're still struggling for inspiration, peruse our list of the best half-zip sweaters for men below.

Axel Arigato

Focus Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Focus Half-Zip Sweatshirt

$215

Axel Arigato

Buy at Axel Arigato

Axel Arigato is better-known for its minimal sneakers but recent seasons have proven this relatively young brand's propensity for a seriously strong apparel collection, too. This neutral half-zip sweater is proof that the brand can translate the minimalism that made its sneakers os popular into its fall staples.

UNNA

Walkman Anorak Hoodie

Walkman Anorak Hoodie

$265

UNNA

SALE UP TO 70% OFF

SALE UP TO 70% OFF

Buy at ssense

Made using recycled wool, this half-zip is a bit of an outsider in this roundup due to its hood. It's pretty unusual to find a half-zip hoodie which is why we're so drawn to this textured iteration from UNNA.

Moncler

Zip-Up Sweater

Zip-Up Sweater

$840

Moncler

Buy at Moncler

Moncler knocked this one out of the park. This rib-knit half-zip sweat shows that doing things simply can pay off big time. There's no major detailing, just a high-quality knit and a perfectly chosen color palette.

Palm Angels

PXP Turtleneck Sweatshirt

PXP Turtleneck Sweatshirt

$530

Palm Angels

Buy at Palm Angels

Palm Angels looks to oversized proportions to bring a sense of irreverence to the half-zip. The large highlighter-pink palm tree logo on the chest helps in that field, too.

ami

Ami de Cœur-Logo Sweatshirt

Ami de Cœur-Logo Sweatshirt

$324

ami

Buy at Matchesfashion

Like the UNNA selection which featured a hood, this ami half-zip boasts an unusual addition in the form of a drawstring around the zipped collar. Odd, but the more we think about it, the more it makes sense. We're quite keen on tightening up the collar when the chill sets in.

adidas

Terrex Hike Half-Zip Sweater

Terrex Hike Half-Zip Sweater

$48

adidas

Buy at adidas US

adidas' Terrex offshoot has been offering up the goods for seasons now and it's criminally underrated. While you could go and drop four or five times as much on a gorped-out luxury half-zip, why not opt for the real thing? The adidas Terrex Hike Half-Zip's perforated fabric insulates well, making this the perfect layering buddy.

YMC Sugden Sweatshirt

Sugden Sweatshirt

Sugden Sweatshirt

$130

YMC

UP TO 60% OFF

UP TO 60% OFF

Buy at Browns

British label YMC is always one of the best places to start your search for any staple like a half-zip sweater. A washed finish gives this the retro style that made you want to steal your dad's old one.

Extreme Cashmere Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

$658

Extreme Cashmere

Buy at Matchesfashion

Extreme Cashmere is offering up some of the best cashmere on the market right now. A lot of cashmere pieces of this quality will set you back a few thousand, but Extreme Cashmere has found the golden mean between quality and affordability.

Les Tien

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

$133

Les Tien

UP TO 40% OFF

UP TO 40% OFF

Buy at mytheresa

Les Tien has made a name for itself with some of the best blank staples on the market. This half-zip features a neutral off-white finish and a slightly cropped body for a more interesting take on the style.

Saul Nash

Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt

Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt

$113

Saul Nash

UP TO 60% OFF

UP TO 60% OFF

Buy at Browns

This half-zip sweater by Saul Nash treads the line between technical outdoor wear and conceptual luxury fashion. It's a line that we love to see stepped. Cutout sections to each shoulder bring bold character to the piece.

Want to keep browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety Shop for more products that we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.

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