There is usually a big gap between when spring arrives on a calendar and the time when you think to yourself, “Hey, this feels like spring.” Part of it has to do with a sense of urgency that comes after enduring the winter. You’re basically living out the lyrics to the Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” where you can’t wait for the “smiles returning to the faces” after a “long cold lonely winter.”
But as the poet T.S. Eliot said, “April is the cruelest month.” Sure, there’s bright spots like baseball’s Opening Day. Weather-wise, however, is a different story. April is like a jagged graph. One day, it will be brutally cold and you’ll be cursing through the scarf that you thought was safe to put into storage, and the next day it will be 70 degrees and life will have meaning again, until, of course, the next day when the freezing temperatures return.
Navigating all of this sartorially is a challenge that requires versatile pieces. And there are few garments more versatile in early spring than a cotton sweater. Lighter than your winter wool sweaters and more polished than a sweatshirt, a cotton sweater is the ultimate weapon against “WTF is it going to do today?” weather. It looks just as sharp at the office as it does on the weekend and is easy to shed if it gets too hot (just don’t throw it over your shoulders like some country club D-bag named Forrest).
To help you survive this shoulder season, we found eight terrific cotton sweaters in a variety of styles that will work for every occasion.
HOWLIN BY MORRISON
You don’t need a boat to pull off this nautical stripe crewneck sweater. The navy and white stripes never go out of style and you’ll find yourself wearing this well into summer for those cooler nights.
Spring is a time to add some more color into your outfits, and the coral red on this sweater does so in just the right amount. The pattern is inspired by fisherman’s sweaters, but the cotton fabrication prevents it from being too hot.
Before the coaches jacket and the satin Starter, old school major leaguers like Babe Ruth would wear cardigans in the dugout. That style seems to have inspired French brand Maison Kitsune, whose version has striped cuffs and contrasting buttons.
A mix of cotton and linen makes this the ideal lightweight sweater. It has a great texture to it and is designed to look like a sweatshirt, but a classed-up version.
The birdseye print on this sweater is reminiscent of L.L. Bean fisherman’s sweaters, but Raf Simons’s iteration is made in Italy and has a touch more refinement. It has a chunky feel, but won’t weigh you down.
COMME DES GARCONS PLAY
A V-neck sweater can be worn a lot of different ways, which is why it should hold a secure place in your wardrobe. Put it on top of a collared shirt for a more formal look or throw it over a T-shirt for a casual vibe. And the cheeky Comme des Garcons Play heart logo keeps this sweater from every getting too stuffy.
Whether you use it to hold things or not, the pocket on a pocket T-shirt adds a nice detail. So why not do the same on a sweater? It certainly looks appropriate on this Todd Snyder sweater with its subtle black and indigo stripes.
What’s great about this Opening Ceremony sweater is how it reveals itself. From the front, it seems more conservative with simple stripes on the shoulder. But the back has a much bolder pattern. It’s like the mullet of sweaters, business in front, party in the back.