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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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
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
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 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.
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.
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