The Half-Zip Sweater, A Perfect Transitional Piece

Half-zip Sweater

The half-zip sweater never went away

Certain pieces of menswear have a timeless appeal. A navy suit or a crisp white shirt for instance. And yes, we are pre-emptively classing the half-zip sweater in this category. In a world where fashion is cyclical, with trends revolving back around, Ape always advocates timeless style over transitory fads. Is the half-zip sweater back? It never went away.

Ape Recommended Reading: Ape’s Ten Commandments of Menswear

Featured image (top) courtesy of Canali

Universal Appeal

When is the best time to wear a half-zip sweater? Is it best paired with a coat or blazer? Too cold for just one layer? The simple answer; a half-zip sweater has you covered in all situations. The unpredictable spring or autumn weather lends itself to this adaptable sweater. Add it to almost any ensemble for an extra layer of warmth or style it with a t-shirt or casual shirt for classic off-duty style.


As per Richard Gere playing Julian Kaye in American Gigolo (pictured above, right), a half-zip sweater works superbly as a layer beneath a blazer. You might want to pair it with a t-shirt or for a slightly smarter approach a shirt. Team with chinos or jeans for a timeless smart-casual look. Complete with a pair of simple Loake Derby shoes in black to complete this modern approach to smart-casual.

ARKET Wool Hopsack Blazer in Dark Blue, £175 >

Canali Wool Half-Zip Sweater, £155 >

Sunspel Pima Cotton T-Shirt in White, £75 >

ARKET Slim Rinsed No-Fade Black Jeans, £59 >


For an updated approach to the Ivy League preppy look, marry your half-zip sweater with a boldly coloured shirt. Pair with dark jeans or chinos and a pair of crips white sneakers, and you’ve nailed the modern prep look. While the traditional preppy approach is quite specific in style; think chinos, deck shoes or penny loafers, and a bold shirt with a half-zip, Ape prefer a more modern take. Less brash, more understated style but with a nod to old world prep.

Sandro Round Neck Sweater with Zip in Navy, £209 >

Oliver Spencer Clerkenwell Checked Cotton-Poplin Shirt in Red, £110 >

ARKET Slim Stretch-Cotton Jeans in Dark Blue, £55 >

C.QP Racquet Sneaker in White, £240 >


On a completely different angle, for those gentleman who partake in sporting activity a half-zip sweater can provide versatility here too. The gym, often the perfect socialising climate, home to low-key business meetings and a location for adaptable style. The half-zip sweater can deliver the perfect transition from bench-press to post-workout catch up with friends, whilst maintaining an appropriate level of style.

Reigning Champ Half Zip Pullover in Heather Ash, $140 >

Reigning Champ Raglan T-Shirt in White, $60 >

Reigning Champ Slim Sweatpants in Black, $110 >

adidas Ultra Boost in Black/Grey, £139 >

With one eye on an athletic appearance, this half-zip sweater combination also lends itself adeptly to lounge-wear, comfy weekend attire or travel. We’ve opted for a muted coloured t-shirt, but feel free to rock that bold red t-shirt you couldn’t wear solo under a half-zip sweater for a confidence-boosting contrast. Pair with, dark sweatpants and sneakers to complete the look.

Ross Duncan

Mr. Ross Duncan is a sportsman at heart, and a gentleman with an obsessive eye for attention to detail. Ever immaculately turned out, his words on menswear are always highly respected.