If you're a dedicated follower of fashion, you're aware that bulky sweaters with cable-knit designs are currently what those who detail trends call "important." Enough fashion talk, let's discuss style, which is, after all, the heading of this section.

In a time when fabric makers are regularly besting the standards for soft, lightweight fibers that have all the insulatory properties of thicker yarn, it seems a shame to ignore them for sweaters. Many of the best makers haven't. The result is a spectrum of great knits that can be worn alone or layered with jackets to create dapper ensembles.

Fine cashmeres and merino wools make it all possible. Loro Piana (www.loropiana.com) sets a high bar with its baby cashmeres (shown at bottom), a standard of fineness reached only once in the life of a Himalayan goat that is already legendary for fine hair. Avon Celli (www.avoncelli.com) makes its "millionaire" weave so soft and light it can be worn as an undershirt. Indeed, many makers are showing polo shirt—style sweaters that can be worn with or without a shirt. Don't ignore merely ordinary cashmeres and merinos, both of which can afford close-to-the-skin comfort. While colors are typically solid (save for some argyles), forms are diverse. Gran Sasso (www.gransasso.it) makes a lightweight cardigan that can easily replace a vest with a suit or jacket, as well as a bivouac (second from top). Sweater vests also work well in that capacity. In addition, neck treatments provide many options, such as button collars and crew-, V- and turtle-necks, that are versatile from business to casual.

If you're working out, you're also in luck. Sweaters with body consciousness not only hug the figure, but help to define it with color details. Belstaff (www.belstaff.com), known for motorcycle wear, and Avon Celli (top and third from top) make particularly form-fitting styles with cap as well as raglan shoulders.

"Men also want to wear the things that make them look good," says Avon Celli's Franca Foligatti. "It makes you feel good about yourself." And what is more important than that?