It’s easy to vividly picture the stereotypical embarrassing dad. He’s standing there holding court at a family gathering, sipping on a Bud Lite, haplessly misjudging the room while cracking awkward jokes about politics. But wait! As words slur out his mouth, a slightly jarring thought occurs to you that, despite his questionable humor, controversial beliefs, and the fact he is drunkenly humiliating himself in front of the entire room, here is a guy who knows how to dress.

The signifier is not his ice-white Nike Monarchs or Levi’s 501s, but his classy half-zip sweater.

When it comes to foundational basics that every guy should keep in their wardrobe, the half-zip sweater is often criminally overlooked. Unfairly associated with rapidly aging dudes like the one I imagined above and Silicone Valley bros who inexplicably wore it with a shirt underneath, the half-zip is a layering dream. Think of it like the fleece’s little, altogether lighter brother — the outerwear piece you reach for when doing the hungover bodega run and it’s still balmy out. Conversely, if it’s cold and you require some extra insulation, wear it under a jacket. Throw in the fact it looks good with both sneakers and smart shoes, and you have a secret weapon to be reckoned with for the problematic spring/summer transitional season.

Finding a nice half-zip sweater needn’t break the bank. For example, walk around the Highsnobiety office at any given time of the day and you’ll see, like, 47 different people wearing this $30 staple from workwear king Dave’s New York. If you do want something slightly more exorbitant, however, Acne, Margiela, and (for those who really want to nail that DILF-enjoying-himself-at-a-ski-lodge-fondue-party-in-Saint-Moritz vibe) Bruno Cucinelli all have dope options. My favorite, however, is Ezra Koenig’s navy blue Dries Van Noten bad boy that he’s been wearing a ton, often with no T-shirt underneath, on Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride tour. What a vibe!

If you’re still struggling for inspiration, peruse our shopping options below. Either that, or you can steal your dad’s.


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