Sweaters to not look like cliff huxtable

Sweaters To Not Look Like Cliff Huxtable

There are a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t want to be compared to Bill Cosby at this juncture, but we’re here to talk about his sweaters. For today’s purposes, we’re going to only speak about his character Cliff Huxtable as this is supposed to be a fun and informative look at sweaters (we’re certainly not attempting to make light of the situation, merely taking a humorous look at some of his bad sweaters over the years).

We all know the sweaters in reference here: baggy, wildly coloured, and patterned in some fashion that’s unrecognizable to the naked eye. Why anyone ever thought these were a good idea is an excellent question that will remain unanswered. The better questions here though, are what does a good looking sweater actually look like and what are the best ways to wear it?

Well, there are certainly a lot of options out there- v-necks, crew necks, cardigans, cable-knits (sometimes), shawl-collar, the list goes on and on. Sweaters are a great way to layer up in fall and winter and can be a nice way to hide a shirt you didn’t quite have time to iron that morning. They’re also a great way to add in a pop of colour to a mundane look. So let’s go over a few sweater staples, the best way to wear ‘em, and how to avoid looking like Cliff Huxtable.

How to Wear a V-Neck Sweater

I have always thought as v-necks as almost a more formal sweater variety. I feel this way, in part, because v-necks tend to look best when worn over a dress shirt. They seem to be a natural pairing as wearing a v-neck with a dress shirt allows you to bring a little more colour and pattern to your look with either piece.

If you have a loud shirt, pair it with a subdued sweater, maybe something in a navy or grey. The opposite applies as well: if you have a brightly coloured sweater pair it with a simpler shirt, perhaps a white. Don’t hesitate to throw a tie on underneath as well. I prefer my v-necks a little deeper as this allows you to see a little more tie and doesn’t look like you’re suffocating.

vneck tie

A favourite brand of mine, and one I have spoken about before for dressier, fine sweaters is John Smedley. The quality and fit are on point, not to mention the wide range of styles and colours they offer. If you’re going to spend your money on a sweater I highly recommend giving these a go. You won’t regret it, and if taken care of properly they will last for years.

How to Wear Crew Neck Sweaters

The crew neck sweater is a staple as well. Crew necks can vary from the very casual (something like a sweatshirt), to almost as dressy as a v-neck. For me, how you wear your crew neck depends on the fabric it consists of.

If you have something in a fine gauge of wool or cashmere, it probably lends itself best to a dressier get up; a dress shirt with no tie would be a good place to start. If your crew neck happens to consist of heavy weight cotton, throw it on with some jeans over a t-shirt. I typically won’t advise wearing a tie with a crew neck shirt because, usually, the crew neck hides the tie beneath it thus rendering it useless. If you can find a crew neck that goes down a little deeper, something more akin to a scoop-neck, it will look better with a tie than a regular crew neck.

crew neck

One of my favourite labels, Wings + Horns, has put out some fine versions for the season

wingshorns Crewneck

Check ‘em out as they have some dressier and some more casual options.

Cardigans Sweaters

Cardigans, like the other two types of sweaters, are incredibly versatile. They look great worn with a suit, with a dress shirt and tie, and just as handsome with jeans and a t-shirt. Fit is vital when it comes to cardigans. You need to find something that hugs your body, but isn’t too tight.

If your sweater is too tight it will put stress on the buttons of the sweater and look off. Be sure not to get into a cardigan that’s too long as well. Find something that hits just below the beltline. Like a suit jacket, never do up the bottom button either. I can’t tell you why this is a thing, but it is, and we here have respect for the institution.

Lastly, try and find something that doesn’t button up too high. Like a crew neck, it can look like it’s choking you out should it button up to the top. Try and find a cardigan whose buttons end at about the sternum.
button up cardigan

If you’re looking for something to bridge the gaps between casual and dressy try the Pre-Loved Cardigan from Dana Lee. It’s on the heavier side, and has a rough and tumble look to it that will make it work with jeans or under a sport jacket. Dana Lee specializes in slight alterations on classic items.


  • I touched on fit briefly in regards to cardigans, but it’s the most important thing to consider when purchasing a new sweater. A finer gauge of sweater, one to be worn in a dressier fashion should be fairly snug fitting. Not suffocation, but trim around the arms and torso. Be sure, like the cardigan, it’s not too long. Find something that ends just below the beltline;
  • If you’re looking at a sweater that’s only going to be worn casually, sweatshirt style, don’t be afraid to try something a little looser and more comfortable. Buying something a little looser allows you to play with the proportions of your look too;
  • Try and have a bunch of different styles in your closet to keep things interesting. Changing up between a v-neck and a cardigan will give you a completely different look and give you more options for dressing up and down. You can often find sweaters on sale at the end of seasons, so keep your eyes open and you should be able to expand your wardrobe for pennies on the dollar;
  • If there’s one style to avoid, aside from the Huxtable stable, it’s the quarter-zip sweater. They’re too conservative and really boring. I don’t think they’re all that flattering either. This style of sweater ventures in to dad style, and not in the funny ironic way; in the tacky, poor taste way;
  • Keep your sweaters fairly neutral in regards to colour and pattern. Remember, we’re trying to avoid looking like Cliff Huxtable, not embracing his atrocious Coogi sweaters. The brightly coloured sweater works occasionally but only when it’s balanced out by something more neutral. If you choose to go this route, be conscious of the balance of your look and try not to overdo it.

Well that’s all the advice I can muster on good sweater wearing. Like I said, the way the sweater fits you is the most important part. Try on a few different things and see what you prefer and feels the best. I’m partial to a cardigan as the buttons allow me to open things up and cool down should I get a little toasty. Sweaters are a great layering piece, and who doesn’t like a nice warm hug on a cool day? I sure do.

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