Best cardigan vest

Outerwear

The cardigan was invented in 1854 by a British military general named James Thomas Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan.

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Which cardigan vest is best?

Cardigan vests are a stylish and comfortable fashion choice for the winter and fall months. Perfect for semi-formal outings like holiday parties and casual daywear alike, they’re a versatile option that can tie an outfit together. There’s an abundance of great cardigan vests to choose from, but the best choice is Izod’s Mens’ Advantage Performance Solid Sweater Vest. This cozy zip-up cardigan vest is a must-have for folks looking to keep toasty and look great when the cold weather hits.

What to know before you buy a cardigan vest

What is a cardigan vest?

A cardigan vest is a sleeveless sweater with an open front. They usually feature a zipper or set of buttons for closure, but some opt for an open design that includes neither. Cardigan vests are generally winter and fall garments, although some companies offer lighter versions for warm weather.

What are cardigan vests made out of?

Manufacturers use a variety of fabrics and materials to craft cardigan vests. Some of the most common fabrics are:

  • Wool: Wool is an animal-based fiber used by sweater and cardigan manufacturers for centuries. More often than not, wool comes from sheep, but it can also come from alpacas, rabbits and goats. Wool is well-known for its durability, longevity and warmth. However, some people find it itchy and it’s notorious for shrinking in the dryer.
  • Cotton: Cotton is a lighter fiber that is more commonly found in summer and fall cardigans. Cotton cardigans are breathable and lightweight, but this usually makes them less warm than wool and synthetic alternatives.
  • Synthetics: Manufacturers use synthetic fibers such as polyester, acrylic and rayon for their softness. Blending synthetic fibers with animal-based fibers like wool can make a cardigan vest feel more comfortable and less likely to shrink in the wash. These fibers are usually less durable than cotton or wool.

What pairs well with a cardigan vest?

The sleeveless design of cardigan vests makes it easy to pair them with matching undershirts for a layered look. Many people wear patterned button-down dress shirts under cardigan vests to look sharp for semi-formal parties or outings. Lighter cardigan vests also match well with T-shirts and tank tops.

What to look for in a quality cardigan vest

Warmth

Cardigan vests are usually part of a winter and fall wardrobe, which means warmth is an essential factor to consider. You can tell how warm a cardigan vest will be by the thickness of the fabric and the type of material used. The warmest cardigans are usually made from natural fibers such as wool, although synthetic fibers such as fleece can also keep you feeling cozy. If you’re looking for a cardigan vest for warm weather, it’s best to choose something made from cotton or rayon with a lightweight build.

Buttons, zippers or neither?

All cardigan vests are open-fronted, but manufacturers use a few different things to close them up:

  • Buttons: Buttoned cardigan vests have a classy aesthetic and charm. Cardigan buttons are usually round and made of plastic or wood. However, it can take a little time and effort to button and unbutton them, and they’re usually a bit less warm than zippered cardigans.
  • Zippers: Zippered cardigan vests are convenient and warm. Unlike most buttoned cardigans, they usually close up to the collar. They’re usually thought to be less formal than buttoned cardigan vests.
  • Open: These cardigan vests have no zippers or buttons and are meant to be worn open. This design is ideal for flowy summer and spring cardigans that aren’t meant for warmth. 

Pockets

Many cardigan vests have small side or front pockets. Cardigan pockets can be a convenient place to store your phone or other small personal belongings while you’re mingling at a party. Zippered cardigan vests tend to have one or more zippered pockets in which you can safely store your wallet or cash. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cardigan vest

Cardigan vests range from $20 to well over $100.

Cardigan vest FAQ

What’s the difference between a sweater and a cardigan?

A. The only difference between sweaters and cardigans is that cardigans are open fronted and sweaters are not. 

When did cardigans become popular?

A. Though the cardigan was invented in the 1800s, it didn’t become a staple of popular fashion until the 1920s. Coco Chanel, the founder of Chanel, is credited with bringing the cardigan to the mainstream because of her desire to find a sweater she could put on without messing up her hair. Since then, cardigans have only grown in popularity.

What are the best cardigan vests to buy?

Top cardigan vest

Izod Mens’ Advantage Performance Solid Sweater Fleece Vest

Izod Mens’ Advantage Performance Solid Sweater Fleece Vest

What you need to know: Izod’s zippered fleece is a stylish and comfortable vest with warm fabric and a slimming fit.

What you’ll love: The form-fitting fleece fabric provides a lot of natural stretch. The convenient front zipper pocket is convenient for storing your phone or wallet.

What you should consider: Some owners report that the sizing runs large.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cardigan vest for money

Urban CoCo Womens’ Draped Open Front Cardigan Vest

Urban CoCo Womens’ Draped Open Front Cardigan Vest

What you need to know: This affordable lightweight cardigan vest has a gorgeous flowy cut and silky fabric.

What you’ll love: The laid-back cut of this vest works well over jeans, leggings or skirts. It’s available in 14 different color options.

What you should consider: The underarm cut is too low for some owners’ liking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

SaolCollection Ireland Cardigan Vest

SaolCollection Ireland Cardigan Vest

What you need to know: SaolCollection’s traditional Ireland cardigan vest is a classy and cozy choice ideal for holiday parties.

What you’ll love: The classic brown football buttons add to the authentic Irish aesthetic. The soft merino wool is exceptionally warm and effectively wicks away moisture.

What you should consider: The Aran knit fabric struck some owners as dated.

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy

 

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Nick Rezzonico writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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