7 Summer Sweaters to Knit Into Your Warm-Weather Wardrobe

Sweaters are for the summer too.
Last Updated
May 24, 2022

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, 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. But summer cardigans and sweaters serve as that missing link to many an outfit, especially in coastal climates and places where the AC is on full blast. 

When styling a sweater for summer, there are endless options. A long cardigan, whether a button-up or belted style, is so chic over shorts or a fluid slip dress. 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. In place of a cotton tank, a sweater vest is achingly unexpected with loose-fitting denim or relaxed trousers. 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 and beyond.

Shop the Best Summer Sweaters

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A Pullover Sweater

When you want to balance out a shorter hemline or are angling for more coverage on top, a pullover summer sweater is classically chic. An open weave like Jonathan Simkhai’s ribbed Madelyn sweater and Symonds’s Pearmain pointelle knit will create a little extra airflow on warmer days. A nautical stripe, like Chloé’s chunky scoop neck and Saint Laurent’s crewneck, is timeless when a slight chill hits.

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A Summer Cardigan

Lightweight summer cardigans are another timeless look to layer over warm-weather staples like tanks, tees, and swimwear. Whether your taste is a button-up cardigan, open-front cardigan, duster cardigan, or, long cardigan sweater, designer styles from the likes of Fendi, Khaite, and The Row are the ultimate in chic. Our favorite way to wear them this season? Loose over a bralette top with long, tailored shorts.

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A Belted Sweater

Whether you opt for a Southern California vibe or prefer a minimalist version, the belted sweater is a chic alternative to the summer cardigan. Luxe labels like Alanui and The Elder Statesman are synonymous with oversized styles in bright colors and bold motifs, which we love with cut-off shorts and a tank. For more a classic look, we love a light or striped style paired with summerweight denim, delicate jewelry, and sandals in the heat.

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A Short Sleeve Sweater

This season, the short sleeve sweater comes with a decidedly feminine feel, rendered in soft pastels, preppy prints, floral embroidery, or done in crochet. When polished is the goal, this is the knit to try whether with jeans, trousers, or a pretty skirt— a chic look to wear when working from home. At the beach, take a cue from Xenia Adonts and style yours with white shorts and layers of pearl and gold necklaces.

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A Polo Sweater

Nostalgic fashion is a huge trend this season, and the polo knit is a key player for elevated summer style. Designers from Prada to Bottega Veneta and Gabriela Hearst have reinterpreted this retro knit for the modern women, delivering versatile silhouettes to be dressed up or dressed down. Among our must-haves for the season are Bottega Veneta’s ribbed silk-blend style, Gabriela Hearst’s cashmere-blend iteration, and Proenza Schouler’s ribbed shirt with ‘70s-inspired zig-zag stitching.

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A Show-Of-Shoulder Sweater

Summer sweaters might feel inherently casual, but off-the-shoulder silhouettes and asymmetrical designs are the dressed-up versions to try after sundown. Whether a little bit slouchy à la Miu Miu’s silk-and-cashmere crop, fitted and slim like Jonathan Simkhai’s off-the-shoulder turtleneck, or draped like Nina Ricci’s ribbed one-shoulder, this summertime sweater reads ultra-elegant. Try yours with everything from denim to leather. Of course, heels and jewelry take it to the next level.

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A Sweater Vest

The humble sweater vest is more often associated with menswear than womenswear, but this season, it’s transformed to feel utterly chic. From minimalist neutrals to playful styles in candy colors and stripes, think of this summer sweater as your cotton tank-top alternative. To wit, it’s a looked beloved by stylish Danes like Pernille Teisbæk, Emili Sindlev, and Trine Kjær, often styled over dresses, blouses, and tees as a transformative layer.

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