We flock to breezy dresses, chic shorts, and stylish swimwear in the heat, but summer sweaters are the season’s unsung heroes. When planning a season full of heat-proof looks — which, this year, involves elevated stay-at-home attire — knitwear, most likely, isn’t at the crux of said summer outfits. Instead, you likely gravitate toward tank tops, blouses, and white T-shirts to pair with linen bottoms, skirts, and summerweight denim. Likewise, for two-piece sets and this season’s bralette trend — two looks that beg to be worn in balmy weather. But summer cardigans and sweaters serve as that missing link to many an outfit, especially in coastal climates and places where air-conditioning is on full blast.
When styling a sweater for summer, there are endless, thoughtfully layered options. A long cardigan, whether a button-up or belted style, is so chic over shorts or a fluid slip dress—a look we love in the garden with a sunhat, an al fresco meal, or with comfy sandals while lounging at home. At the beach, a short-sleeve sweater or lightweight pullover is stylish over shorts or swimwear, be it an open weave, nautical stripe, or crocheted style. If it gets too warm, a sweater tossed over your shoulders exudes chic nonchalance — something we’re always striving for in the sunny season. In place of a cotton tank, a sweater vest is achingly chic and unexpected with loose-fitting denim or relaxed trousers—add in a straw bag to make the look quintessential. A show-of-shoulder sweater is the perfect reveal of skin for summer nights, especially when paired with tailored Bermuda or leather shorts and heels. Then, there’s the polo knit—a nostalgic trend thrust back into the spotlight, thanks to designers like Prada, Bottega Veneta, and Gabriela Hearst. This summer sweater reads both polished and relaxed when tucked into high-rise silhouettes and styled with summer jewels and a pair of sunglasses.
Now that we’ve proven the summer cardigan and sweater’s appeal, ahead, discover the seven styles we consider essential. From long cardigans to pullovers, short sleeve styles to wraps, ribbed to open weaves — all in cashmere, crochet, lightweight wool, and more — these knits will undoubtedly enhance your warm-weather wardrobe for breezy days by the sea, a nautical excursion, alfresco meal, in high-blast air-conditioning, and beyond.