The quarter-zip sweater has to be the most versatile piece of clothing in a man’s wardrobe. You can pair it with jeans for that backyard BBQ – or layer it under a blazer for that effortlessly refined look. Depending on the fabric, quarter zips are a go-to-outfit for sporty activities, casual interactions, as well as formal business meetings.
Because of their versatility, it’s hard to go wrong with quarter zips, but it is possible to shop for the wrong quarter zip sweater – and even pair a sweater with the wrong shirt.
Why Own a Quarter Zip Sweater?
It should be a crime for a man to own a quarter zip and not wear it as often as they can. These pullovers can be worn with anything or nothing, and they fit almost all occasions.
Here are the reasons why every man should have at least one (or two) quarter zip pullovers in their closet:
- Quarter zips are sweaters that are not really sweaters. They are warm enough but not too bulky to restrict your mobility.
- Golfers and other athletes wear quarter zips because they are light and have a polished and athletic fit.
- The comfort of wearing a well-fitting and well-designed quarter zip is unmatched, and even better, it can give you a clean and professional look. Although classic, the suit and tie dress code in offices is giving way to the quarter zip.
- These sweaters go well with everything, and we mean everything! Jeans, chino pants, tailored pants, button-down shirts, t-shirts, blazers – the list is endless.
- Finally, quarter zip pullovers are practical, especially during periods of fickle weather. You can dress this piece of clothing up or down by wearing shorts, jeans, or dress pants: and it works every time.
What to Look for in a Quality Quarter Zip
For its versatility, comfort, and style, the quarter zip sweater remains to be a timeless piece. Multiple clothing and athletic wear brands have found ways to make the quarter zip design even better by incorporating the following features:
- Moisture-wicking performance fabrics to keep you dry in high temperatures.
- Stand-up neck (mock neck) collar design that breaks the wind and keeps your neck warm.
- Fabric with maximum give so you can move around freely when wearing your sweater.
- Ribbed hems and cuffs that adhere to the body better than other designs.
- Anti-microbial characteristics to keep you odor-free.
There are countless designs of quarter zips to choose from.
Overall, you want a sweater that is both functional and comfortable: a piece of clothing that can pass for both casual and formal.
With the right quarter zip sweater, you are essentially dressed for every occasion. You can get a close fit or a loose fit depending on how you want to wear the quarter zip.
Once you get a quality quarter zip sweater that fits you well, it is now time to style it perfectly and elevate your look even further.
How to Style a Quarter Zip
Wearing a quarter zip should be among the simplest choices you make, so don’t overthink it.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
For the casual look on your day off:
Wear a solid-colored t-shirt under your quarter zip sweater. You can pair the pullover with jeans to keep you comfortable when running errands.
For a polished (business casual) look:
Wear your quarter zip with a button-down shirt, but leave it open at the collar. You can try leaving the shirt untucked and see if the look works for you.
To achieve the tailored look:
Wear a shirt and tie under your quarter zip. You can also add a blazer over the pullover for a dressier look. For your night out, you can pair your quarter zip with a leather jacket.
The Rules of Layering Quarter Zip Sweaters
Layers can make an otherwise basic outfit look sophisticated, but be careful not to overdo it. Keep in mind that there are different types of quarter zips to buy depending on the look you want to achieve.
Here are four rules of layering (which you are free to break) that will help you polish your style:
Lighter fabrics go on the inside
This goes without saying, but when pairing a shirt, field jacket, or a blazer with a quarter zip, wear the heaviest garment outside.
Darker colors go on the outside
Quarter zips come in many different colors, some more vibrant than others.
Like many other rules of fashion, this one is bendable in some instances, but when in doubt, always wear the darkest color on the outside.
Anything more than three layers in just overkill
You can only wear so many clothes at once. Layering can give your outfit more depth, visual appeal, and variety. Overdoing it, however, results in a stuffed look that also hinders your mobility.
The secret to layering your quarter zip is to make sure the outfit can still work without the sweater; just in case it gets too hot and you have to remove it.
The good news is that quarter zips are made from both light and heavy fabrics. Knowing how to select the right one is the first step towards owning your style.
Can You Wear a Quarter Zip Without a Shirt?
You can wear a quarter zip pullover on its own, especially if it’s made of a light fabric. Athletic quarter zips are best for wearing as tops because they fit well and have excellent breathability.
You can simply open and close the zip depending on how ‘formal’ you want to look.
The quarter zip is versatile and often stays in rotation across seasons. When a man has a quarter zip in their closet, chances are they wear it every other day. But there are those heavier or lighter fabrics that only do well in extreme weather.
When it is time to put your pullover away for the season, keep the following in mind:
How to Store Your Quarter Zip
It’s not hard to properly store quarter zip. It doesn’t matter if its made from cotton, cashmere, merino, or any other fabrics – this is how you properly store a quarter zip:
First, clean the sweater following the manufacturer’s instructions.
You want to get all of those stains out before they set. Besides, dirty clothes are likely to attract insects.
The next step is to fold your sweaters and stack them starting with the heaviest pullovers on the bottom and the lightest on top.
Hangers have been known to poke holes in clothes, cause creasing, and even discoloration. Sweaters can also lose their shape from long-term hanging. If you are going to use a hanger, make sure the fabric is suitable to hang for storage.
Store your quarter zip in a cool place, preferably inside a clean empty suitcase, cardboard box, or plastic container.
Ensure you add some cedar balls inside as well to prevent moth damage, but don’t put the cedar balls directly on the sweaters. It is also advisable to check your storage on a regular basis – don’t leave your precious quarter zips unattended for years.
Now that we have covered the basics, here is a list of the 10 best quarter zip pullovers you can buy online today:
Top Ten Quarter Zip Sweaters
1. Myles Apparel Momentum Quarter Zip
The momentum quarter-zip pullover serves you just as well in the office as it does on the golf course. The stretch, lightweight, and comfort of this pullover make it perfect for when you are hanging out with friends, running errands, or just running. This quarter-zip sweater has a sleek finish that makes it appear more stylish than most sweaters.
It also has the unique ability to keep you warm on a cool day and cool on a warm day.
- Comes with a convenient ‘Kangaroo’ hand pocket located on the front of the pullover.
- Mock zip collar – Pairs well with button-down shirts and official pants.
Material: 83% Poly and 17% Spandex.
2. IZOD Men’s Advantage Performance Quarter Zip Fleece Pullover
Aside from comfort and style, the IZOD quarter zip pullover is constructed using the softest fabric. You don’t want a grainy sweater that keeps rubbing against the skin and makes you itch all day. This design is perfect for that day in the office. It also has an athletic fit that makes it suitable for running errands and golfing.
The soft inner layer will keep you warm as the compact outside design keeps you looking stylish. This pullover fits well, making it the perfect insulator to wear on its own or underneath top layers.
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Spandex for the added stretch.
Material: 67% Polyester, 27% Cotton, 6% Spandex
3. Arrow 1851 Men’s Saranac Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip Sueded Fleece Pullover
You want a healthy balance of fashion and functionality, and this sweater gives you just that. The Arrow 1851 quarter zip is cozy and fits closely to the body. The pullover is cool enough to wear with other layers, but also warm enough to be worn on its own.
- This quarter zip pullover is lined with an inside layer to keep you warm.
- Machine washable
Colors Available: You have a myriad of colors to choose from, so you can shop to fit your personal sense of style.
Material: 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester
4. The North Face Quarter-Zip Pullover
North Face is a well-known brand, and they never disappoint when it comes to quality.
This quarter zip pullover is built to withstand harsh conditions. Even after repeated use, your North Face pullover still has that unique ability to appear brand new.
With North Face, you get a high-quality fleece fabric to keep you warm and comfortable.
- It is made with a recycled fabric blend that is good for the environment.
- Has a secure pocket along the left sleeve.
- Stand up collar – Pairs well with button-down shirts and dress pants.
- Machine washable
Material: Recycled fabric blend
5. Amazon Essentials Men’s Quarter-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket
This sleek-looking pullover can take you anywhere you need to go. It can work as a base layer paired with a heavier jacket for added warmth. Or it can be worn over a plain t-shirt for that casual look.
- Side seam pockets
- Machine wash
- Best for outdoor activity
Material: 100% Polyester
6. Custom Patagonia Micro D Fleece Quarter Zip
There are many different kinds of fleece quarter pullovers, but the microfleece is the thinnest and most flexible of all.
This pullover is special because it keeps you warm without the extra bulkiness of a traditional sweater. It has a compact design and can easily fit into your backpack.
- Standard fit, comfortable, and easy to wear.
- Mock zip collar – Pairs well with button-down shirts and official pants.
- Clean cuffs and hems.
Colors Available: Grey, Black, Blue
Material: 100% Polyester (85% recycled) microfleece.
Traditionally, sweaters are meant to keep you warm. But you don’t have to sacrifice your style or comfort in the process. We found the warmest quarter zip you can wear during winter and still look stylish:
7. Woolx Merino Blizzard Quarter Zip
What is your ideal temperature? Everybody has different preferences, and the Merino Blizzard quarter zip, although on the warmer side, can serve different purposes.
It fits well, it’s soft, and it does not restrict your mobility – when you wear the Merino Blizzard, it almost feels like a warm glove wrapped around you.
The stand-up collar breaks the wind and keeps your neck warm. The ultra-dense quarter zip can be worn on its own or paired with other layers for extra warmth.
- The fabric is an ultra-dense blend of wool that repels moisture.
- Although not suitable for active use, this quarter zip is breathable and has an odor destroying ability.
- A stand-up collar that gives it a polished look.
- Machine wash.
- Dries fast.
Material: 100% Australian Merino Wool
8. Smartwool Intraknit Merino 250 Thermal ¼ Zip
Think about it, what kind of sweater do you wear when you have to haul a loaded sled through the snow in winter? Or when shoveling snow from your driveway?
When performing a high-effort activity in low temperatures, you need a sweater that vents well and dries quickly – that’s the Smartwool Intraknit Merino quarter zip for you.
It is made of a revolutionary knitting technique that puts a thinner layer on the swampy areas of your body and a thicker layer over your chest. So while your vital organs stay warm, the meshy fabric under your pits and on the middle of your back allows you to sweat and maintain a cool temperature.
The design of this quarter zip fits around your shoulders the way a sock wears around a heel. This three-dimensional knit design gives you more freedom to move around while staying warm.
Material: 100% Merino wool.
9. Gildan Men’s Fleece Quarter-Zip Cadet Collar Sweatshirt
This pullover has a classic appearance. It is perfect for that casual day out with friends, paired with a nice t-shirt and jeans. This fleece quarter zip will keep you warm in chilly weather.
The Gildan Men’s fleece quarter zip is also among the most affordable sweaters out there. If you are shopping on a budget, you should definitely consider this piece.
- A fashionable cadet collar gives the quarter zip a stylish look.
- Stretchable rib cuffs that give the sweater a polished finish.
- Affordable and durable.
Material: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester
All quarter zips are versatile. There are some, however, that push the bar even higher. Who knew such a simple piece of clothing had so much potential for growth?
Versatile quarter zips are great for both the indoors and the outdoors, particularly during periods of flaky weather.
10. Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip
The outdoor research vigor quarter zip is the touchstone for workout gear. This particular pullover won the most versatile vote because of the unique technology it uses to regulate temperature.
This simple quarter zip has an active temperature changing treatment that makes it wearable across seasons.
The secret: a polymer coating on the inside of the pullover.
The coating pulls the moisture from your skin when you heat up, and traps heat when you cool down. Although it doesn’t feel wet against the skin, this coating exists as a hydrophobic liquid in cool weather. In hot temperatures, it changes to a hydrophilic solid, keeping the fabric dry.
This jacket has a slim fit that gives you a polished look. It also works great as a middle layer, keeping you warm as you hike, climb, and ski.
- A security zip chest pocket
- Excellent breathability
- A long cut keeps your neck and hands warm.
- Quick-wicking fabric
Material: 94% Grid-back fleece, 6% Spandex
The quarter-zip sweater is comfortable, versatile, and stylish. And how do you wear a quarter zip? You just do – over your polo shirt, under your blazer, paired with your favorite pair of pants or shorts – and this guide has everything you need to get started. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors, patterns, and designs.