The 32 Best Summer Sweaters That Are Basically Wardrobe Staples

If you don't have one of these in your closet already, now's your chance.

guest wears a pale pink wool cardigan, a pale pink shiny leather crocodile pattern handbag, high waist denim cargo denim large pants, a pink rhinestones checkered cut-out V-neck cropped tank-top, outside Ludovic de Saint Sernin, during Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022, on October 03, 2021 in Paris, France
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

While, yes, the onset of warmer weather calls for easy summer dresses, a few pairs of trendy walking sandals, and the very best linen pants, lightweight summer sweaters should not be left off of your summer shopping list. Ideal for keeping in your beach bag or simply having on hand during your next weekend getaway, the best summer sweater is one that goes with just about everything in your wardrobe. 

A sweater might sound like the very last thing that you want to don in the summer heat, but they're surprisingly versatile. Some of the pieces on this list are light enough to keep in your laptop bag at the office to fight the constant air conditioning, while others are just cute enough to wear with your favorite jeans for a last-night minute date night outfit change after work. Plus, nights tend to get a little chilly, even in the dog days of the season. If you're someone who, like me, hates the feeling of a late night breeze that sends a shiver down your spine, these picks are for you. 

Ahead, I've broken down my favorite options into a few easy-to-shop categories, including classic pullovers and cardigans alongside trendier sweater vests and sportier polo-style sweaters, too. I've worn nearly every single option this list (or own another similar style from the same brand if my preferred pick is sold out) so consider this to be the cream of the proverbial sweater crop. 

Pullover Sweaters

Pullover sweaters are the fundamental sweater if you're just now building out your sweater collection. I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many, especially if they come in a bright color or colorway.  

Cardigan Sweaters

Next up on my list of perfect knitwear options? Cardigans. Whether you prefer yours to be chunkier or on the thinner, airier side, I've probably found your new favorite.

Open-Knit Sweaters

There is nothing beachier than an open-knit sweater. Perfect for donning over a bikini as the perfect cover-up or layering the best slip dress in your wardrobe or tank top, they show a little bit of skin while adding warmth. 

Polo Sweaters

Polo sweaters are the preppy piece here to revamp your wardrobe this summer. You can buy them striped (like a pastel one from La Ligne, below) or in a classic hue, like English Factory's cream-colored one. Either way, style them with khakis for the ultimate coastal grandma trend moment. 

Sweater Vests

Grandpa-inspired sweaters are no more! This summer, style sweater vests on top of a bralette for a subtly sexy way to show some skin. Or, wear them at the office over a T-shirt to make them feel warm-weather friendly.