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The 1980s were a decade of fashion experimentation, bold colours, and eclectic styles, as well as powerful silhouettes. The most iconic pieces of clothing from this decade are biker jeans, polo shirts and oversized blazers.

However, men’s sweaters were some of the most important clothes, which were a must in every wardrobe. Many of the sweaters designed by today’s fashion icons are inspired by those worn in the 1980s.

If you are looking for the right 1980s inspiration to find your new, perfect sweater, here you will find everything you need to know about how to style this piece of clothing.


How to Wear Men’s Sweaters

There are several distinctive sweaters styles available, depending on your look and personal aesthetic. The majority of sweaters available on the market are inspired by the 1980s fashion, where these pieces were a must. However, it is important to understand how to wear sweaters without making your outfit look dull, boring or too serious.

There are endless ways to style your sweater up with other pieces, such as:

  • Suits
  • Bomber jackets
  • Leather jackets
  • Casual blazers
  • Denim jackets
  • Suits
  • Your favourite tee and some jeans

The sky’s the limit, so you are encouraged to mix and match your favourite pieces until you create your ultimate 1980s-inspired outfit.

How to Choose the Best Sweater?

Sweater Fabric

Although cheaper sweaters are made from synthetics, it is advisable to purchase garments made from cotton or, even better, merino wool. The natural texture of these materials will keep you warm, and make the overall look more stylish. If you are looking for a more luxurious, long-lasting alternative, then you should definitely go for a cashmere sweater.

Sweater Fitment

As a general rule, slim, tailored sweaters are the best choice when it comes to shape your silhouettes. Nevertheless, the 1980s saw the rise in popularity of oversized pieces, especially within the hip hop and punk subcultures.

If you decide to go for a big, oversized piece, you should match it with skinny jeans and minimal accessories. This will help focus all the attention on your main piece, the sweater, making your silhouette and your outfit look more balanced.

Sweater Texture

Ribbed, waffle knit, cabled: there are only some of the different sweater textures you can experiment with. Each of these pieces offers different advantages and will add a different personality to your outfit.

Heavier weaves are the best choice if you want to wear your sweater in the cold weather. Contrarily, plain weaves are perfect for warmer seasons, such as autumn.

80s Men’s Sweater Lookbook

Be the King of Casual Fashion

Casual fashion was a must in the 80s. T-shirts and loose sweaters were popular, especially when worn with bomber jackets or windbreakers. Besides, with the right accessories, it is easy to turn your casual sweater look into something more formal.

Photo by All Saints (Larik Crew Jumper)

Photo by All Saints (Larik Crew Jumper)

Sweaters or Outerwear?

Many of the fashion icons of the 1980s lived in warm places, such as Hawaii or Miami. In those cases, sweaters acted like cool outerwear. You don’t need to be living on a desert island to copy this look, and you will be able to rock your favourite sweater on any occasion.

Photo by Urban Outfitters (iets frans Navy Velour Mock Neck Sweatshirt)

Photo by Urban Outfitters (iets frans Navy Velour Mock Neck Sweatshirt)

Crew Neck Sweaters

Brew neck sweaters, commonly known as pullovers or jumpers, originated in the high street style subcultures. They are made of cotton and are a particularly versatile piece, which can be worn with jeans and sneakers or more formal outfits. Based on your preferences, you can find either slim or chunkier sweaters.

Photo by Mailais (Long-Sleeved Crew Neck Jumper)

Photo by Mailais (Long-Sleeved Crew Neck Jumper)

Also Read:

Find Your Perfect Sweater This Fall (Men’s Edition)

9 Cosy Outfits for Christmas (Men’s Edition)


Although they are not proper sweaters, cardigans represent another iconic piece from the 1980s. in particular, shawl collar cardigans will make your look immediately more masculine and elegant, but they will still make you feel cosy and warm.

Photo by London Cashmere Co. (Arlo Men's Cardigan)

Photo by London Cashmere Co. (Arlo Men’s Cardigan)

Read: 8 Best Men’s Cardigans Looks for Winter: Outfit Inspirations

Hip Hop Fashion

Inspired by rappers, the 80s men’s hip-hop fashion was a huge trend and made oversized silhouettes iconic. There’s no best way to wear your baggy sweater than some fashion sportswear details, such as sneakers or baseball caps.

Photo by Urban Outfitters (iets frans Men's Overdyed Purple Crew Neck Sweatshirt)

Photo by Urban Outfitters (iets frans Men’s Overdyed Purple Crew Neck Sweatshirt)

Read: Find Your Perfect Rap & Hip Hop Style (Men’s Edition)

Preppy Is the Word

Preppy outfits were the perfect balance between casual fashion and formal looks. Preppy gents usually wore their sweater around their shoulder, to highlight their status symbol. Don’t forget your polo shirt and some cool sunglasses!

Photo by Asos (Another Influence Long Sleeve Rugby Top in Blue Stripe)

Photo by Asos (Another Influence Long Sleeve Rugby Top in Blue Stripe)

Read: Preppy Fashion: (Men’s Edition)

Varsity Sweaters

Varsity sweaters were worn by individuals to express their passion for their favourite sports team. Today, with their striped sleeves and timeless style, varsity sweaters are a must for those who are looking for a versatile piece of clothing.

Photo by Tommy Hilfiger (Contrast Cable Knit Jumper)

Photo by Tommy Hilfiger (Contrast Cable Knit Jumper)

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Christmas time means ugly gifts. For decades, grandmas have gifted their kids with ugly, often homemade sweaters, at the point that now they are iconic. If it’s Christmas and you’re not wearing one of those sweaters, you are not a real fashionista.

Photo by Asos (Asos Design Knitted Christmas Jumper in Red Reindeer Design)

Photo by Asos (Asos Design Knitted Christmas Jumper in Red Reindeer Design)

Rock Your Style

In the 1980s, rock fashion was all about excess. Although leather details were a must, even the most flamboyant rockers could renounce the versatility and cosiness of a good sweater. Wear your rock sweater with some black cotton pants.

80s Punk Sweaters

Punk sweaters are the best way to create an edgy yet complete look. These pieces of clothing can be paired with some leather pants, combat boots, and your attitude of true punk boy who is not scared of experimenting with bold looks.

Photo by Kill star (Sea Punk Knit Sweater)

Photo by Kill star (Sea Punk Knit Sweater)

Other Articles That May Interest You:

How to Wear: The Duffle Coat – Men’s Edition

How to Wear: The Leather Jacket – Men’s Edition

How to Style Men’s Doc Martens

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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