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 spring/summer transitional season.

Finding a nice half-zip sweater needn't break the bank and to prove it, we took a trip to Harvey Nichols. For example, this $80 cozy staple from British label MKI. If you do want something slightly more exorbitant, however, JW Anderson, Les Tien, and (for those who really want to nail that DILF-enjoying-himself-at-a-ski-lodge-fondue-party-in-Saint-Moritz vibe) Polo Ralph Lauren all have dope options.

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

C.P. Company

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

$260

C.P. Company

Buy at Harvey Nichols

C.P. Company's tech-forward approach to materials makes it a go-to for all things sweaters. This half-zip features taped zips and the signature arm lens as finishing touches.

Polo Ralph Lauren

Half-Zip Jumper

Half-Zip Jumper

$185

Polo Ralph Lauren

Buy at Harvey Nichols

This grey cable-knit is the kind of thing someone wears when they have their life together. Reliable, clean, and practical too.

Les Tien

Yacht Sweatshirt

Yacht Sweatshirt

$345

Les Tien

Buy at Harvey Nichols

Les Tien has made a name for itself with some of the best blank staples on the market. The Yacht Sweatshirt features a washed-out grey finish and a slightly cropped body for a more interesting take on the style.

JW Anderson

Striped Jumper

Striped Jumper

$565

JW Anderson

Buy at Harvey Nichols

JW Anderson knocks it out of the park with this nautical-style iteration. Complete with the brand's signature rectangular zip pull.

Sunspel

Half-Zip Jumper

Half-Zip Jumper

$250

Sunspel

Buy at Harvey Nichols

Sunspel's detail-free approach shifts the focus onto its high-end materials. Pure merino wool is the star of this show which will see you comfortably through every season of the year.

Fred Perry

K2557 Sweatshirt

K2557 Sweatshirt

$185

Fred Perry

Buy at Harvey Nichols

A mock-neck build replaces the usually higher collar on this Fred Perry sweatshirt. It's a subtle variation that makes all the difference.

MKI

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

Half-Zip Sweatshirt

$81

MKI

Buy at Harvey Nichols

Easily the coziest version in today's roundup, this MKI sherpa zip is basically a cloud in sweater form.

PS Paul Smith

Half-Zip Wool Jumper

Half-Zip Wool Jumper

$215

Paul Smith

Buy at Harvey Nichols

Bold color has come to define Paul Smith's output and the flash of vivid blue to the zip of this design is the standout effect.

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