The Hunt: Great Cashmere Sweaters

cashmere-sweaters2017 Update: Check out our latest discussion of the most affordable cashmere for work!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Cashmere is a must for any working woman — it’s warm (great for the freezing office!), a bit luxurious, and (shhh) usually Woolite/delicate-cycle friendly.  We haven’t done a roundup of cashmere sweaters in a while (2014, 2012), and so many of the great ones are on sale that I thought today would be a great day to discuss it.

Ladies, have you bought any great cashmere sweaters recently?  Which are your favorite brands for cashmere in general? 

cashmere-sweaters-talbots-audreyYes, yes, I know I’ve posted this recently — but not only is it down to $51, but there are lots of sizes left in basic colors like black and gray.  $51! Works for me. Talbots Audrey Sweater
cashmere-sweaters-c-by-bloomingdalesI haven’t tried C by Bloomingdales cashmere in years, but I am intrigued to see that it’s a strong bestseller at Bloomingdale’s — as in, the entire first two pages have barely any other brands.  I like the look of this longish crewneck with generally great reviews, available in 9 colors, sizes XS-XL.  C by Bloomingdale’s Crewneck Cashmere Sweater
cashmere-sweaters-autumn-cashmereI’ve been a fan of Autumn Cashmere for a long time.  Limited sizes are left on this awesome sweater — elbow patches! seaming!  love it all! — but Nordstrom has a great general selection of Autumn Cashmere on sale right now.  (Bluefly, Farfetch, and Revolve Clothing do as well.) The pictured sweater was $285, but is now marked to $113. Autumn Cashmere Cashmere Sweater
cashmere-sweaters-vince-colorblock I got a Vince cashmere sweater for Christmas — loved the cashmere, hated the sweater itself (it keeps going deeper and deeper on sale, so I wasn’t alone.)  This cashmere crewneck looks like a much better bet — I like the look of it styled with a blouse beneath it, as well as by itself.  It was $325, but is now marked to $150 at Nordstrom RackVINCE Colorblock Cashmere Crewneck Sweater
cashmere-sweaters-equipment-oscarEquipment sweaters are rated well at Nordstrom, and I like the look of this simple turtleneck — love a basic turtleneck with a brooch or opera-length necklace.  This one is on sale — was $318, now $190. Equipment ‘Oscar’ Cashmere Turtleneck
cashmere-sweaters-the_row-roseWhen I think “luxury that’s worth it,” I think of The Row.  This simple, slouchy black cashmere crewneck is the kind of piece that — with proper care — you’ll have in your wardrobe for 10 years at least.  It’s $1,390 at Net-a-Porter, available in black and grayTHE ROW Rose cashmere sweater

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The Hunt: Great Cashmere Sweaters

Comments

  1. Jumpingjack :

    Last month I got some Talbots cashmere, based on recommendations from this site. It’s already pilling quite badly after just a few wearings. Does anyone know if the quality has declined this year?

    • Must be Tuesday :

      I am curious too. Someone just told me about a Talbots outlet near me and was planning to go stock up on some sale items this week.

    • I bought three Audreys this year and have had zero pilling. I’m really hard on my clothes, too. (They tend to accumulate in a massive pile on my guest bed until I go digging through looking for what I want to wear.)

      • I bought a Talbots cashmere sweater last year that started pilling right away. I am sticking with Boden from now on–I’ve got a Boden sweater that is at least 4 years old and still looks nice.

    • lucy stone :

      I have a few Audreys and some other cashmere and haven’t had problems. Do you have a store nearby? When I’ve had quality issues there they’ve always happily exchanged.

  2. After several years of disappointing cashmere, Ive been very pleased with pieces from Eric Bompard. The fit is perfect and the quality is good for the price, which is more than fair when on sale. International shipping is also reasonable.

  3. Anonymous :

    I find crewneck and boatneck sweaters to be very unflattering – anyone have V-neck suggestions?

    • I have had great luck with Nordstrom’s Halogen brand v-neck cashmere

    • Wrong time of year, but Lord & Taylor’s v-necks are great. They clear them out in Jan though, so you have to wait!

    • I bought a bunch of V-necks, both cashmere and merino, from Uniqlo this winter and they are flattering. I haven’t worn the cashmere enough to comment on pilling yet, but they look and feel great. (Note: there are two cashmere V-necks on Uniqlo’s site, I can’t spot the difference in the product description but the one with SKU# 128152-09-005-000 runs large — I’m a busty 12-14 and the XL in the other V-neck style fit well; in this style the XL was huge and I went for the L.) Many of the merino colors are on sale now for $9.90! I might have to go back . . .

  4. Akris is the best cashmere I’ve ever had (thanks, e-bay!).

    Barring that, I have 8-year old pieces from LE that are still going strong (esp. the long sleeve cashmere tee in about 3 colors).

    FWIW, I had some kirkland (costo) cashmere turtlenecks that were fantastic and horribly abused (washer and dryer over several years) and they neither shrank nor pilled. $50 each or so.

  5. la vie en bleu :

    Has anyone tried the Garnet Hill cashmere sweaters?? They look so pretty in the catalog I am coveting hard, but I don’t know if they are really that great in person.

    • Maddie Ross :

      They are super soft cashmere and wear pretty well, but the fits are all boxy/unflattering, in my opinion.

      • Agree–the sizing is enormous and the cuts are odd. There is always extra fabric in the underarm area.

    • I’ve ordered several over the years as gifts for my SIL. Every time I order for me, they are weird sizes/don’t fit. I am quite tall, and ~14, so that could be why. I drool over all of it in the catalog, always.

    • la vie en bleu :

      Ah, well that might be why they are always going on sale, then. Bummer! Thanks for the reviews, folks, that is exactly what I needed to know, you just saved me a lot of time and effort!

  6. Uniqlo currently appear to have most of their cashmere on half price in the US, bringing the V-neck sweaters down to under $40.

    I have one of their cotton/cashmere blend sweaters and it’s held up incredibly well (it’s now about four and a half years old)

    • Thanks for the heads up! I love Uniqlo cashmere.

    • Second uniqlo cashmere – it’s great

    • How do their sweaters fit? They look a little slouchy on the webs!te but it’s hard to tell.

      • Late for this but I find my uniqlo cashmere sweaters are way too boxy. I have 3 and I never wear them (it’s probably time to clear them out but I feel guilty)

    • I have two Uniqlo sweaters and they’re awful. They’re not cashmere, but I find it’s a “you get what you pay for” store.

  7. I bought two twinsets (one grey, one black) this weekend at the Barneys outlet. They are made of mercerized cashmere and something else that I can’t recall right now. Sleeveless shell and round-necked cardigan. Shell: $69. Cardigan: $99.

    My silk and nylon versions of the same set, which they sadly have stopped offering, lasted for years, so I have high hopes for these. Unfortunately offered only in grey and black.

  8. I’ve bought four cashmere sweaters this season. In order of best to worst: a cardigan from C by Bloomingdale’s, a turtleneck from Talbots, a turtleneck from Ann Taylor, and a vneck from J Crew. By “best” I mean softest and fluffiest/loftiest– you know; that cozy, cushy quality, even on relatively thinner gauge knits. As for the Jcrew sweater–I bought it online along with some cotton and merino wool sweaters, and I honestly didn’t realize it was cashmere one when I pulled it out of the box at first–it hardly felt different than the merino sweater (despite costing about $150 more than the merino).

  9. My favorite cashmere sweaters are all C by Bloomingdale’s cardigans (all bought on sale after the winter holidays) — they wear well and even my oldest ones haven’t pilled (from 4-5 years ago). BUT I don’t care for this season’s different cut on the cashmere cardigan — it is much more boxy and extremely cropped. Since I have long arms and I’m very long-waisted, I can’t wear this year’s style. I was already in an XL to get the sleeve length right last year. . . .

    Edited to add that the turtleneck looks nice and long, like the crewneck pictured above. Maybe I’ll switch and get a few turtlenecks this winter!

  10. The Uber-Hall-of-Fame, top-of-the-heap cashmere isn’t even on here. BRORA. They are a British company and Nonny and I are obsessed with them. Yes, their sweaters are >$300, but they last years and years and years.

  11. SF in House :

    I have had good luck with the Neiman Marcus brand at Last Call.

  12. I’ve compared A LOT of them. Here’s my conclusion:

    BroraBroraBroraBroraBroraBroraBroraBrora…..

  13. I found the Bloomies house brand this year to be better than the past couple. My only complaint is they are a bit longer and larger overall. Cashmere isn’t supposed to be a tight fit, but these see to run a bit big…but not a full size. Much nicer than L&T this year at the same price point. But make sure you wait for a coupon.

  14. I’m on year 3 with a couple of Magashoni sweaters and they still look great, despite one being ivory with an open weave. I’m on year 10 with a Ralph Lauren that I received as a gift.

  15. Equipment. They are better known for their silk button ups but the cashmere comes in a whole array of colors, as well

  16. This advice has limited use, but when I lived in Los Angeles, I would go to sample sales held at downtown showrooms on the last Friday of the month. The cashmere sweaters I have purchased have been between $30-50. The thicker weaves have held up well, and the thinner ones have pilled. The advantage to doing this while visiting is that most of the other shoppers are locals, and thus not in the market for wool.

  17. Any suggestions on how to deal with pilling? I’ve tried sweater combs, but that just seems to pull out more fuzzies that turn into pills.

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