High on the list of “love ‘em or hate ‘em” men’s wardrobe staples is the men’s quarter-zip. Those who cherish cool-weather function have found a warm, cozy, high-collared home in this oft-underappreciated garment. Those who prioritize form would just as quickly reach for a cable knit sweater and a scarf.
But rather than view this handsome, versatile garment as the polarizing figure that it is, I say we fully embrace it. Together. Today. With a rundown of the very best quarter-zip pullover options you can get your hands on today.
Layered and accessorized properly, the men’s quarter-zip is a timeless, classic statement piece that exudes effortless confidence in the face of roaring fire pits, the hottest of toddies, and self-guided fall foliage tours through the rolling New England countryside.
Mood: set. Picture: painted. Collar: popped. And away we go…
The stand-collar pullover is one of the longest-standing fall and winter staples a man could add to his wardrobe. Cozy, functional, and classic, my top pick for the best quarter-zip pullover goes to Faherty’s Legend Sweater Quarter-Zip. And if you’re looking for more of a budget- and leisure-friendly option, Wrangler Authentics’ Quarter-Zip is the way to go.
Our Top Picks
The next evolution of Faherty’s crew neck Legend Sweater, the Legend Quarter-Zip’s design, fabric, and performance come from a tried-and-true formula. A thoughtful blend of fabrics, including a hint of elastane, gives this sweater an incredible feel designed to ebb and flow in lockstep with your every move.
That’s a big reason why it’s my overall pick for the best quarter-zip pullover, but it’s certainly not the only one. Further sweetening the pullover pot is its availability in both standard and tall cuts. You’ll find yourself reaching for this fall and winter staple time and time again. In fact, you may as well go for the sartorial hat trick and stock up on all three classic, neutral colors.
Material: 49% Cotton, 32% Polyester, 17% Viscose, 2% Elastane | Colors: 3 | Sizes: XS-XXL
100% cashmere. Got a nice ring to it, right? And as you might imagine, it’s also got a nice feel to it. Aurélien’s “smart luxury” pieces focus on timeless style and outstanding craftsmanship, and the Amsterdam-based label’s Jacquard Zipper Sweater is certainly no exception.
The impossibly soft jacquard knit pullover is ready to make an impression anywhere you’d like it to, from 19th-hole drinks with clients to weekend trips through wine country. Do yourself a favor and don’t dress this one down. There’s a time and place for jeans, but this buttery soft specimen will be best complimented by a pair of chinos or tailored dress pants. Pop a button-down under it or a jacket over it and prepare thyself for compliments. You were pretty sure you weren’t going to end up reading the word “thyself” today, yet here we are.
Material: 100% Cashmere | Colors: 8 | Sizes: S-3XL
You already know the quarter-zip pullover is experiencing a resurgence in popularity right now. You also know that a classic is a classic for a reason. It may fall from grace, but it will always rise again. And even though some styles veer toward niche, the best men’s quarter-zip is the one you can pop on any time and for any casual occasion.
The Montes Half-Zip Pullover from Portuguese label Wahts would like to fill those shoes. Your torso’s shoes. Fill your chest? Never mind. All I’m getting at is that this is a super soft pullover thanks to its cotton-cashmere blend, while the ribbed cuffs, collar, and hem add a touch of interest. It’s up for anything and it won’t let you down when paired with jeans or dark chinos.
Material: 95% Cotton, 5% Cashmere | Colors: 4 | Sizes: S-XXL
A handful of the pullovers on this list would be perfectly appropriate for smart-casual occasions. But when it’s really time to step up your game, Luca Faloni’s Pure Cashmere Zip-Up will be waiting in the wings. Wings. Closet. Same thing.
Knitted in Northern Italy, this pullover’s two-ply cashmere is as soft as it is handsome. It’s available in 11 solid, neutral colors which should make pairing it with any jacket, dress pants, or chinos a breeze. And thanks to the tailored fit, it won’t balloon out above your smart-casual pants in a way that draws the wrong kind of attention.
Material: 100% Cashmere | Colors: 11 | Sizes: XS-3XL
Another excellent stock-up option—especially considering its wallet-friendly price tag—is the Wrangler Authentics Quarter-Zip. As with most budget-friendly garments, this one likely won’t last a lifetime. But the 100% polyester pullover still maintains a pillowy soft feel while locking in warmth thanks to an extra layer of fleece on the back.
This is the one you reach for on a crisp fall day spent picking apples and touring cidery tasting rooms. Your go-to for pouring a finger of bourbon, poking the fire, and catching up on your show. Or raking. You could also just like… rake leaves in it. However you choose to layer this humble pullover, you’ll want to keep it casual and avoid trying to dress it up. Just prepare for leisure and don’t overthink it.
Material: 100% Polyester | Colors: 9 | Sizes: S-3XL
A classic style from a classic company. Classic. Ralph Lauren’s quarter-zip doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. It just wants to show up to Sunday brunch at the country club and blend right in. It wants to accompany you for balcony beers in Nantucket. Nothing fancy. But nothing slouchy, either.
And you know what, that’s okay. It’s nothing more and nothing less than a 100% cotton pullover that knows what it is and is confident in that. No, it doesn’t want to reinvent any wheels. Yes, it’s cozy, it’s warm, and its materials and construction are as solid as you’d expect from the iconic American brand.
Material: 100% Cotton | Colors: 10 | Sizes: M-XXL
Tracksmith is a niche Massachusetts-based brand that obsesses over all things quality: form, function, and running. But you don’t have to be a runner to appreciate the handsome design and technical mastery of the Downeaster. You just have to want a pullover that can handle anything your active lifestyle can throw at it.
Like most outstanding performance pieces, this one is made with merino wool. The fabric is unrivaled when it comes to regulating your body’s temperature, reducing odor, wicking away sweat, and providing top-to-bottom breathability. Pop it on in the morning before you do your jogging, biking, or leisuring thing. And there’s no need to change after—it’s a smart pullover that looks just as nice on or off the trail.
Material: 60% Merino Wool, 40% Polypropylene | Colors: 6 | Sizes: XS-XXL
Chances are, you’ve already got a fleece jacket tucked away somewhere in your closet. Do you wear it? Do you like it? Would you like to replace that old fleece with something special? Something forest green that was made in Portugal from 100% recycled polyester? Specific, but I’ve got you.
Or rather, Fore?t does, with this oh-so-cozy fleece quarter-zip. The tasteful Fore?t logo is embroidered on the chest but otherwise, this is just a nice everyday addition to your lazy-Sunday rotation. Like most self-respecting pullovers (read: the one’s on this list), this one is meant to be worn whether you’re warming up the couch or running around town for the afternoon.
Material: 100% Cotton | Colors: 1 | Sizes: XS-XXL
What To Look For In The Best Quarter Zip Pullovers
Size & Fit
Like its more niche brethren the sweater vest and the cardigan, the quarter-zip pullover will best serve you as a layering piece. As such, you’ll want the fit to be generous enough to allow for a button-down or henley underneath. But be careful of going too far in that direction or it’ll end up looking boxy.
From fleece to polyester to cashmere, your best quarter-zip pullover options offer no shortage of materials to choose from. As ever, let where you’ll be wearing it be your guide for which fabrics to choose. Fleece, for example, is great for no-pressure lounging. Cashmere, on the other hand, is an impossibly cozy option that can and should be dressed up.
Not all quarter-zip pullover collars are created equal. Some are oversized and meant to be folded. Others are subtle and almost resemble an exaggerated version of a banded collar. The most stylish and appropriate choice depends on the season, occasion, and your personal style.
When shopping around for the best quarter-zip pullover, consider where you’ll be wearing it the most. Is that place casual? Is it professional? Mix of both? My top pick overall—the Legend Sweater Quarter-Zip from Faherty—wears all of those hats, and in the most comfortable way imaginable.
One way to elevate your sweater is by layering it with a bold button-down or smart blazer and pair of chinos. On the other end of the spectrum, going casual and carefree with a white t-shirt and pair of dark selvage jeans is also a great look.
The best men’s quarter-zip pullover for you is the one that you look and feel great in. It can have a tailored look, but unless it’s a performance pullover, avoid a tight fit. To achieve the best look, hone in on the illusive sweet spot between too tight and too loose.
As a cool-weather staple, you should always layer some type of shirt under your quarter-zip. Button-downs are great options, as are henleys and t-shirts in solid colors.