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V Neck Vs Crew Neck Sweater: Differences And How To Choose

While the difference may seem obvious, there are many factors that should be taken into account when deciding which one to wear. The question is, what is the difference between a v-neck and a crew neck sweater?

A v-neck sweater has a v-shaped neckline whereas a crew neck has a round neckline. V-necks are typically more formal than crew necks. However, if done correctly, both items can be worn formally. Neither sweater styles have a collar.

There will definitely be occasions where one of them is more appropriate than the other, so knowing the differences between them is crucial.

So, let’s dig deeper.

V-Neck Vs Crew Neck Sweater: 2 Key Differences

Here are the two main differences you need to know about.

1. Neckline

The first and most obvious difference between a v-neck and a crew neck is the neckline. It’s worth noting that neither a crew neck sweater nor a v-neck sweater has a collar.

On v-neck sweaters, the neckline is true to the name; a “V” shape. This “V” shape in the sweater comes in different sizes and variations, but at a fundamental level remains the same. 

Here’s an example of a V-neck sweater on Amazon. Notice the clear V-shaped neckline. 

Variations include a deeper “V” cut into the sweater or a wider neckline. 

The fact that the neckline of a v-neck is deeper than that of a crewneck means that more of the under-layer is visible. This allows you to get more creative and add a bit of extra personality to your outfit.

Crew neck sweaters, on the other hand, have a round neckline. This rounded neckline means that the visibility of the underlayer is much more inhibited.

Here’s an example of a crew neck sweater on Amazon. Notice the round curvature of the neckline. 

The lack of underlayer visibility means that there’s less to consider for your outfit. As well as this, the simplicity of crew necks means that they are very versatile garments and can be dressed up or down accordingly.

A common way of dressing up a crew neck sweater for a smart casual occasion is by wearing a button-down shirt underneath. The slight visibility of the collar at the neckline creates an understated touch of formality to an outfit.

Wearing this alongside dark jeans and brogues gracefully would complete a smart casual look.

2. History

The main difference between a v-neck sweater and a crew neck sweater is the neckline.

Among men’s style experts, there are those that lean towards v-necks, and those that lean towards crew necks, creating an interesting split in the industry between peoples’ preferences.

Regardless of this, it’s important to know the history of each of the sweaters: their origins and their initial uses.

Crew necks came first, being named crew necks in 1939. The name “crew neck” comes from the fact that rowers wore a similar style sweater. 

crew neck sweater
A crew neck sweater

Image From Deposit Photos

The crew neck t-shirt appeared prior to the sweater, in 1932, and was used primarily by American football players. The main use of it was to prevent chafing by the pads of the players, as well as to absorb sweat.

The question regarding the origin of v-necks is one that is debated to this day. It is generally accepted that the early adopters of the v-neck first appeared in the 1920s, however, they were typically referred to as “Men’s pullovers”.

They were commonly seen in bright colors, with patterns, or even textures.

V-Neck Vs Crew Neck Sweater: How To Choose

Consider the following factors before choosing between the two. 

Layering

V-neck sweaters are better than crew neck sweaters when you want your underlayer to be more visible. 

When choosing between a v-neck and a crew neck, it’s important to also consider what other layers you may be wearing, and whether or not they will match with the sweater you go for.

V-neck sweaters are fantastic garments for layering. The deep “V” shape at the front of the sweater allows visibility of the underlayer. This means that, depending on the circumstances, a little extra flair and personality can be added to your outfit.

Additionally, it’s possible to wear a jacket, or even a blazer, over a v-neck sweater – adding a touch of sophistication to the outfit. 

When layering with a v-neck, the most important guidance is to keep it subtle.

Too many colors and patterns can make any outfit look clumsy. This is particularly true when layering, due to the extra depth to the outfit, created by the different garments. 

It is easy to go overboard, so as a general rule, stick to a maximum of one color; with the rest being neutral tones.

Formality 

As a general recommendation, v-neck sweaters are typically more formal than crew neck sweaters. This is due to the fact that they can be worn alongside a tie and dress shirt. 

Having said this, however, both sweater styles are incredibly versatile and appropriate for most occasions.

If going for a v-neck sweater for a formal situation, it’s important to remember that darker colors work best. Charcoal is the ideal color for a formal, v-neck sweater outfit, as it couples nicely with a white dress shirt.

When wearing a dress shirt with a v-neck, you should always tuck the shirt in. This is because an untucked shirt alongside formal attire would create an inappropriate contrast between formal and casual.

V-neck sweaters can also work well in a casual scenario when paired with a plain t-shirt. 

The key to wearing a v-neck is to keep the visible underlayer subtle and understated. Too many bright colors and patterns can look awkward.

Crew neck sweaters are widely considered more casual than v-necks and – to some extent – this is true. However, when discussing casual clothing, crew necks are the epitome of versatility.

Coming in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, crew necks are the perfect way to keep it simple when in need of a casual outfit. No matter your style, you will be able to find a crew neck that suits you.

Despite their ability in casualwear, crew neck sweaters can also be dressed up nicely for a smart-casual occasion. Wearing a button-down underneath your crew neck is a great way to add a hint of formality to your outfit.

If choosing to wear a button-down together with a crew neck, ensure the button-down is tucked in. 

Weather

The weather is always an important factor to consider when deciding on an outfit. This is demonstrated in the massive difference in trends and style between summer and winter.

Wearing a layer too many could result in becoming too hot, whereas a layer too little could result in being cold. Therefore, it’s essential to get the balance just right.

When considering whether to wear a crew neck sweater or a v-neck sweater, always take into account whether or not you will need to take a layer off due to the weather. Similarly, think about the potential of having to add another layer.

The formality of the situation should also be taken into account – as previously explained – but, as a general rule, crew necks are easier to remove.

This is because, when wearing a crew neck sweater, the t-shirt underneath is hidden: there is no need to worry about matching it with the sweater.

V-necks, on the other hand, are almost always paired directly with the underlayer, therefore meaning that taking it off could look awkward.

Conclusion

To summarise all of that, v-neck and crew neck sweaters have differences in both design and origins. They are both, however, still very versatile garments and are appropriate for most situations if worn correctly.