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Cozy Commute: The Sweater Jacket

October 23rd, 2012

This time of year is all about heavy knitwear.

If you’re looking for a sharp but approachable “business casual” look,  swap out your suit jacket for a chunky sweater.

Not only will it keep you warm and comfortable, but it offers an appealing contrast against the rigid lines of a business look.

Here’s three examples for your Fall commute.

    1. Knit Peacoat

    A navy peacoat is an everyday essential in a man’s Fall/Winter wardrobe, as we discussed in our article “Re-Invent Your Wardrobe with 25 Essentials“.

    This time of year, however, it’s too warm for a heavy wool coat.

    Look for a lightweight knit peacoat, which is essentially a cross between a double-breasted cardigan and a classic military coat.

    Treat it as outerwear and take it off in the office, unless you work in one of those buildings that keeps it brisk all year with heavy air conditioning.

    Of course, when it gets colder, you can wear it as a sweater, layered under a heavier jacket.

    Tips for wearing a tie bar:

    – It should be worn around the sternum, just below the chest muscles.

    – It should be the same width, or slightly narrower than the tie. Never wider.

    – Sounds simple, but it’s purpose it to fasten the tie in place to the shirt! No floaters.

    – Lift the top of your tie slightly before attaching it, creating depth with a subtle “bow” above the bar. To accommodate for this, you might want to fasten your tie a touch on the longer side.

    – Don’t wear it with a waistcoat, cardigan or sweater vest – these already hold your tie in place.

    • Black aviator shades by Persol
    • Double breasted knit jacket by Armani Collezioni
    • White oxfordcloth shirt by Thom Browne
    • Burgundy stripe tie Vintage
    • Silver 2″ tie bar by Tiffany & Co
    • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic
    • Nato Striped grosgrain watch strap by Corvus
    • Black alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label
    • Grey herringbone socks by Marcoliani
    • Black tassel loafers “Grayson” by Allen Edmonds

    2. Belted Shawl

    This cardigan jacket is from my graduate collection for the Menswear Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

    For a number of reasons, it’s one of my favorite pieces. I wear it as outerwear, as a housecoat, and layered as a sweater when it gets really cold.

    Belted shawl cardigans have always looked very regal and confident in my opinion, especially in contrast with a more formal context.

    Take a three-piece suit and trade the jacket for a chunky sweater. From traditional corporate to non-traditional “business casual” in a matter of seconds.

    I’m not a huge fan of traditional worsted pinstripes, but I love the texture of flannel chalkstripes. More on this soon.

    The double monk loafer has become super popular in the menswear community, but don’t sleep on the single monkstrap!

    These oxblood wingtip beauties are easy to slip on and stand out even amongst the most up-to-the-minute menswear crowds.

    3. Vintage Cowichan Zip-Up

    Same idea here, this time with a vintage number I found in the back of a Canadian salvation army.

    I bought this sweater for a couple dollars and turned down offers of $300+ for it. It’s all about how you wear it!

    If you’re a dedicated reader, you know we cheated here. This look was pulled from our old post: “1 Piece/3 Ways: Vintage Cowichan Cardigan“.

    Thanks for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford. 

    • http://basicmob.blogspot.com/ Oscar

      Really dig the blue sweater. So simple yet cool.


    • Anonymous

      Hell no, that wine colored smarmy robe “jacket” is terrible.

      Charcoal blazer is fine.

    • TimL

      Great post. I have a similar sweater jacket but it is not a peacoat, just a straight jacket that zips up the front with retro silver snaps in front with a high collar. Got 3 last year on clearance at about 80% off….my wife wanted 1 also and liked the look.

    • Feyer

      Honestly – I’ve tried my best but I can’t find the knit peacoat in the first picture. Where can one find this? If this is the Armani one then its not on their website. Please please put me out of my misery! Many thanks.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I got the Armani knit peacoat earlier this year from Century 21 in Paramus New Jersey. It’s from a prior season.

        As with many of the clothes featured on the site, the exact item might no longer be available. This is why we recommend close substitutes in the “Shop This Look” column.

        Thanks for reading.

    • Noir

      Would we be able to purchase that belted shawl cardigan?

    • http://chinosandcheesecake.blogspot.com Desmond K

      The belted shawl cardigan in look #2 is eerily similar to the one from Michael Bastian’s F/W 12 show. Was that the inspiration?

    • Anon

      Great post. Lot’s of little things I can incorporate into my own style. 1 and 2 are my favorites.

    • josh

      what brand is the pea coat

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        Armani Collezioni, as seen in the Product Credits on the left. Thanks for reading!

    • TO

      Once I saw the tux in the Van Cleef post I clued in that you must have made all those pieces from the FIT collection in your own measurements as well- and knew seeing that killer cardigan was only a matter of time!

      Well articulated in describing the game-plan behind these business casual looks. Smart use of ‘tailored’ knitwear!

    • Nick


    • http://www.grove-lane.com Anthony

      What a great look! Hoping we can get you in one of our handmade skinny leather ties one day ;)

    • Brian

      First look is killer. Love it.

      Third look made this Canadian spit his coffee. Some serious whimsy going on there. Actually quite fond of it.

      The middle look, thats tough. It does invite references to a bath robe.

    • Rafael

      Yahoo! He finally shaved in look #3!! :)

      • Anonymous

        Nope. That’s just and old post.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/hahadudestopthat Ben

      Damn, damn, damn. Your beard is looking glorious. I’m still digging the beard, man, and I’m liking the third look a lot–very cool.

    • Alex

      Great post, Dan. Love all the pieces.

      Also love that beard. I’m growing one out also and it’s getting there. What do you do to clean it up so that you can still grow it long but not out of control?

    • Jimi Brady

      The red belted cardigan is very Hugh Hefner. :P Diggin’ this article – I’m a big fan of cardigans and ties.

    • Lothar

      The belted cardigan…did you commission that piece, or are you really a Level 5 Knitmaster? I’m confused, but I’d love to commission a sweater myself.

    • Gazman

      Wearing that belted shawl cardy would be like walking around in your dressing gown.

    • Rick

      I had no idea that the tie bar was for pinning the tie to a shirt. You learn something new everyday. Good looks TSB

    • Luis Irizarry

      i enjoy the sweater jacket (robe). I have a similar one from Zara which is knitted and has more holes in it for better ventilation. I think it is a great piece to wear with trousers b/c it is very casual but still looks classy & professional.

    • http://www.thecufflink.com TheCuffLink

      Love the peacoat! Question about the tie bar though. How strict are the tie bar rules? Because I’ve seen guys wear it with a vest and it look pretty nice.

      • TimL

        I wear mine depending on how high the vest is. I like to show it as a piece of jewelry and like to pull my tie up to get the puff by the neck of my shirt to show my tie off more.
        Great post.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        There are no “rules” my man. Just some advice from my personal opinion…don’t take it too seriously :)

        Thx for reading.

    • Gazman

      Great looks and great tips! One point: wouldn’t loafers be a tad cold for your NY autumns? Loafers also don’t protect much against the wet.

    • Jordan

      DAYUM do I love that knit pea coat. Wow.

    • Jack

      Speaking of belted cardigans, have you seen the pic of you Mr. Porter has on their website?

    • Badger

      #1 is fantastic. But #2 looks like you left your bathrobe on.

    • Geek

      I started following your blog a while back…it keeps getting better and better. More useful than any magazine, in my opinion

    • MrJbeee

      Great post. Loved the first and second look. I do like the cardigan in the third look! Keep it up!