What is sweater weather? You may have heard the term via the song by The Neighbourhood, but that song is less about what to wear at what time of year and more about extended metaphor.

Anyway, here’s the song, just in case you’ve missed it:

I have noticed that many people struggle with what exactly sweater weather is. As an example, just because it’s October doesn’t mean it’s time to break out your cable-knit. In fact, if you live in Texas, you may not need a sweater at all until December. That’s just the way it goes.

If you’ve been looking for a guide on when to wear a sweater, as well as what type of sweater to wear in different situations, here are the answers to your questions.

This post attacks sweater weather from a temperature standpoint rather than a time of year standpoint. That’s because sweater weather hits Montana far earlier than it hits Florida. That is, sweater weather may start in September in some parts of the country, but it doesn’t strike until November in others.



You can really wear a sweater anytime, as long as it’s the right sweater. The hardest time to wear a sweater is summer, which is why you need a short-sleeve cardigan made of cashmere — like the one pictured here.

This is a cardigan you wear purely for style. When you want a more classic and elegant look, add this short-sleeve cardigan with a skirt and fitted top — and there you have it!

Of course, this is really a sweater for summer months only. You’ll see below that there are more appropriate sweater to wear as the weather dips into the 70s and certainly below.


Temperature (or Wind Chill) in the 70s

The most important sweater to have in your closet is the button-up cardigan. You can wear this on spring or fall days when the temperature (or wind chill) sits in the 70s. It’s just enough warmth for when you’re in the shade or when it gets dark, but it’s light enough that you won’t break a sweat in the sun.

But here’s the best part: This is the perfect sweater to keep at the office. Office temperatures are typically in the 70s, but they can often feel a lot colder. Find a nice button-up cardigan in a neutral color, and keep it around the office to deploy as necessary.

Wondering what to wear UNDER a cardigan? We have you covered there, too. See our comprehensive post on what to wear under different types of cardigans — so that you’ll look sharp no matter where you are.


Temperature (or Wind Chill) in the 60s

Ah, now it’s getting just a little bit cooler. You can still stick with cashmere (rather than something heavier), though it’s time to go with a crewneck. You may find that you need to layer a cashmere crewneck with a light jacket if it’s dark out of if there’s a strong wind.

The cashmere crewneck can be dressed down for casual days and it can be dressed up for more formal evenings. Which is to say that it’s versatile, and you’ll be glad to have one in your closet.


Temperature (or Wind Chill) in the 50s

As it continues to get cooler, it’s time to graduate from a cashmere to something a little heavier. You can find cotton options, but it’s nice to have a wool sweater like the one pictured as the temperature drops into the 50s.

Again, just like with a cashmere crewneck, the wool crewneck is versatile. It can be dressed up or down. And, if it’s even colder than the 50s, add a coat over a wool crewneck — if the perfect layer to have during the coldest parts of the year.


Temperature (or Wind Chill) in the 40s

As the temperature drops into the 40s, you’re going to want something marled or cable knit, which are two of the heavier types of sweaters. Also, it’s a good idea to find a turtleneck or cowl neck, like the one pictured here. The cable knit or marled sweater will help keep your core warm, and the turtle or cowl neck will help keep your neck warm.

Again, as it gets to be this cold, you may want to layer your sweater. You’ll find that a fitted cowl neck sweater (like the one pictured) fits nicely under a coat or jacket.


Temperature (or Wind Chill) in the 30s (or Below)

Now it’s time to get heavy and chunky. When the temperature gets around freezing or below, you’re going to want the biggest, thickest sweater you can find — something like the long-sleeve cable knit pictured here.

You’re also going to have to layer with other items, including a parka or something bigger — if such a thing exists. As for me, I make a rule not to venture out if it’s this cold. I’ll still wear a sweater … I’m just going to wear it by the fire instead of outdoors.


Final Thoughts on Sweater Weather

I can’t emphasize layers enough. When you dress in layers, it gives you all sorts of options. And, a sweater is perhaps the most important layer to have in your collection. Just make sure you have the right type of sweater for the right occasion.

Do you have any other sweater recommendations? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or you can always use our contact form to send a direct message.