The Hunt: Black Cashmere Sweaters on Sale

2017 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.

February can be a great time to buy cashmere on sale. Today I thought I’d see what I could find in the way of simple, classic black cashmere sweaters… Readers, what is your favorite brand for cashmere? Scored any great deals lately?

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Faux Wrap Cashmere SweaterThis black ruffled faux wrap cashmere sweater looks like a great basic for the office or the weekend. Was $129, now marked to $49.97 at Nordstrom Rack (available in black, white, and red, sizes XS-XL). Lauren by Ralph Lauren Faux Wrap Cashmere Sweater

Only Mine Cashmere CardiganThis basic cashmere cardigan always comes in handy, whether it’s intentionally part of your outfit or that “extra layer” that you throw on in the winter or summer when it’s too cold.  This one comes in 8 different colors, including black, amethyst, cobalt, fuchsia, heather grey, red, teal, and “yellow raisin.”  It was $98, but is now marked to $57.90 at Nordstrom. Only Mine Cashmere Cardigan
This cotton/cashmere sweater has an interesting “silk twill” back, which almost gives it a blousy effect from behind.  It was $145, but is now marked to $71.99 at Lacoste (and is available in black, white, purple, red, and pink). Long Sleeve V-Neck Cotton Cashmere Sweater with Silk Twill Back
Jones New York Cashmere V-Neck SweaterI like this simple cashmere sweater from Jones New York, with its slightly looser fit than some of the others.  It was $139, but is now marked to $79 (and take an additional 25% off at checkout, bringing it down to $59.25).  It’s available in black, beige, gray, cherry, “ruby wine,” and an ivoryish “sugar.”  Jones New York Cashmere V-Neck Sweater
White + Warren is one of the brands that I think of as doing cashmere really well, and so this steep of a discount is a great thing: it was $210, but now marked to $99. The simple v-neck is available in black, purple, camel, coal heather, cornflower, and “fawn heather” in a variety of limited sizes. Cashmere V Neck
Magaschoni black cashmere folded neck snap back sweaterBluefly has a number of Magaschoni cashmere pieces at good prices, including this interesting “folded neck” number, with beautiful snaps down the back.  It’s available in black and port — was $368, now marked to $221. Magaschoni black cashmere folded neck snap back sweater

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  1. Love white + warren for cashmere .. Autumn Cashmere is another good line. Often sold at Gilt and Bluefly.

    • Lindsay von :

      Any feedback on sizing for the white + warren brand?

      • More or less true to size in my experience.

      • Baby weight :

        Fits like Theory. I take an XL and I am by no means a large person. I generally wear a 10 or 12 in blouses. I have 2 of their sweaters. Love, love them. Handwashes well.

  2. This might be a stupid question . . . My husband and I have been paying off our mortgage pretty aggressively because we’ll be buying a new house in the next couple of years and are basically considering it as saving for our down payment. Does that even make sense? It just occurred to me that we’ll be buying a house at the same time as we are selling our house, so the timing might be an issue. I.e., we won’t have the equity in hand to offer as a down payment on the new house because the payment on the old house won’t have gone through yet.

    • Paying off your mortgage sounds like a good idea, but it may not be as smart compared to other options. Even if you could get cash in hand from your current house, you can’t guarantee that the money you are putting into your house now is going to come back 100% as equity (especially if you got your current house and mortgage before values dropped. You can’t be sure that by the time you want to buy, it will have recovered and then some). There is always the chance that you can sell at a profit so your savings will have been “invested” well, but it seems risky to me. Sticking cash in your mattress would be more of a sure thing in comparison.

      • I see your point, but we bought our house in the worst part of the housing recession and in a very recession-proof area. Housing prices didn’t really drop at all. Plus, our house was on the market for a total of less than a week, and three other people made offers on it. So, although there are no guarantees, I don’t think we should have a problem selling it for what we paid.

    • Diana Barry :

      Assuming you find a house you like and you are able to sell your house at the same time, you will be able to schedule the closings for consecutive days, so that you can take the funds from the first closing and use them as down payment at the second closing. (We did this when selling our condo and buying our house – first closing was on Thursday, second on Friday.)

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      We are doing the same thing. We spoke to a realtor last year who explained that it’s tough to get approved to carry two mortgages at the same time, so you are generally going to have to sell your house first (or at least have it under contract) before you will be able to get the financing for the new house. Even if your current house is worth less than your outstanding mortgage, the difference would show up in your loan application for the new house as money you owe, so I still think it’s worth paying down your current mortgage.

    • We’re in a similar situation and are putting all the extra money into cash right now. We have been casually house shopping for the last year or two and recently have gotten more serious. In an ideal world we’d sell house #1 before buying house #2 but since we’re having a really hard time finding house #2 I want to have the cash right now. This gives us the flexibility to buy before we sell, and also to not have to put our place on the market, have it sell (by some miracle) and then not have a house to move into. So unless you are 100% sure you’d sell your house before buying another, I’d consider keeping your downpayment money in something more liquid than your house.

      I’m starting to really hate the real estate market.

      But on topic, I do love cashmere. However, I’m finding it harder and harder to find good cashmere that isn’t really expensive. There’s a Saks outlet near me and I’ve been really happy with the cashmere I’ve bought there. It’s a Saks label and I’ve been able to find basics for under $100 that hold up well!

    • Your strategy makes sense to me. Once you are closer to making the purchase it might make sense to start saving the money in a liquid account. That way you will have it for closing costs, moving expenses and the like. Having some liquid cash at the time is good, but for now whatever interest you save on the current mortgage is bound to be at a better rate than you could find in a safe savings vehicle. Having 2 closings on the same day or consecutive days is normal.

    • This is not the approach I would take.

      Your effective interest rate on your mortgage is probably very low (remember that if you itemize your deductions on your taxes, this lowers the effective interest rate). Prepaying your mortgage is not saving you much in interest, but is costing you in liquidity. If you diverted your money to a separate savings account, the difference in the payoff amount and your bank account would probably not be very significant. However, in the bank account, that money can be repurposed. If the housing market tanks, you can stay in your home and use the savings for other projects. Also, if the timing of your sale and repurchase don’t line up, you can use that money to help with the bridge (and it may make it easier for you to get a bridge loan — a lender is more likely to finance a bridge loan if you have cash on hand to pay it, than if that cash is tied up in the house you are trying to sell).

      If you do continue to prepay, make sure that your lender is actually paying down your principal and not advancing your payments. If you don’t specify, many lenders will do the latter.

  3. Research, Not Law :

    Related thread-jack: Suggestions for fun cardigans?

    I’m down to two shirts (sleeveless, knit Ts) that fit over my enormous pregnant belly, with 2 weeks until my due date. Same shirt, one black and one brown, and I’m very tired of pairing them with my existing neutral cardigans. Rather than buy more maternity shirts (this is likely my last pregnancy), I’d like to buy more regular-size cardigans.

    — Available in store (no time for shipping)
    — Mostly cotton
    — Absolutely not neutral, but color suitable for redhead
    — $30-40-ish

    • I suggest stores catering to teens: Delia’s, Papaya and Forever 21 come to mind, but every mall has several of those. All will likely have long open cardis in colors, and over-pregnant-belly-sizes will probably be available.
      Forgot about Charlotte Russe.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Forgot to mention that I’d be interested in a patterned cardigan.

    • Target has a ton of different options in the $20 price range, including some really cute patterns.

      • I’d second the Target recommendation. Maybe also check out Old Navy or Gap (I’ve had some great luck with Old Navy cardigans and if they only last a season or two, it’s still ok price-wise).

        And with 1.5 weeks until my due date, I completely sympathize with this problem. I am SO SICK of wearing the same things every day.

      • I would also suggest Target’s Merona brand. I bought black and gray last year, and they’ve both held up surprisingly well. They’ve kept their shape and have not faded at all. They’re around $20, I think, and available in stores in a variety of colors with a few patterned ones also.

    • Anonymous :

      i know you said no shipping – but lands end canvas has their heritage cardigans on deep sale (you could use the savings to pay for expedited shipping!). Limited colors, but depending on your size you might be able to get some gorgeous pops of color!

      • Do you have a Lands End Inlet or Sears nearby? That could alleviate the shipping issue.

    • Do you have a Kohls nearby? They have a number of decent clothing lines (Elle, Apt 9, Jennifer Lopez, AB Studio, etc.) with cardigans, dresses, and other basics, but with some good choice of patterned and colorful items.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Thanks for the ideas, everyone!

      I ran to Target and got a purple floral cardigan that should hold me over. I’ll keep the other suggestions in mind if I need more.

      And yes, JJ, the final countdown wardrobe is no fun!

    • 21stofSeptember :

      Do you have a TJ Maxx or Marshalls nearby? They often have lots of cardigans in various colors/patterns that fit your price range.

  4. Anonymous :

    Threadjack – what do people think of this bag: (brooks brothers, pebbled calf leather) for an interview bag ? Specifically, has anyone seen it in person or own it already? I’ve never bought a BB bag before and one of the reviews on the bag, out of 3, is really negative… I’ve seen people on here saying that for a basic OCI interview bag Brooks Brothers is great, plus it’s on sale right now, but the leather doesn’t look too great by the photos (although I guess you can really never tell) and the bad review is making me nervous. Any input would really be appreciated. Alternatively, I also have my eye on this one: (llbean town and field), but at 21 inches wide I feel it might be a bit too big, especially since I’m on the petite side. What do the corporettes think? :)

    • anonymous :

      Wow, I never thought i’d be able to answer a fashion question on this site. I have the LLBean bag and many BB bags, so I can recommend the BB one. The Town and Field is nice as a commuter bag but it’s really big (and I’m tall) and may be too big to bring to an interview. I like the BB one because it is understated.

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      I had the lambskin shopper, which looks basically the same, and had a bad experience with it. It’s not lined and little leather bits flake off over everything. I returned mine. UNless the leather on the calf one is better (and it doesn’t sound like it is), I would pass.

    • I asked about that BB bag on this site before, and people responded that it fell apart quickly. I didn’t buy it, so I have no firsthand knowledge.

    • I think the Town and Field bag look great in real life, but it is big; the women in my office who have it usually only bring it out when they have files or a laptop to carry rather than using it every day.

  5. I like Lord and Taylor cashmere. They’re on sale now for about $50 and I think there’s a coupon code too:

  6. Anonymous :

    What happened to the numbers next to the posts? They were there last week.

    • I can’t figure out how to link to specific comments without having the number to click on. This has been an intermittent issue in recent weeks.

    • Charlotte :

      And I thought I was the only one wondering that! I love/need the numbers!!

      • i can’t have the numbers and paginate the comment pages — which is a tradeoff i’m willing to make from a pageview perspective, but then while troubleshooting the IE problems from last week i realized that it was taking forever to load the pages without the comment pages split up — and google dings you for that, so until I find a workaround, no comment #s. sorry, guys.

        • Anne Shirley :

          I may be the only one having this issue, but since all the changes I just can’t read the comments on my phone at all. Trying to freezes everything up.

  7. this is hysterical, b/c I’m wearing a v-neck black sweater today… Except it is mostly cotton, and I am freezing, and was just thinking “I wish I had more nice looking wool sweaters.” Get out of my brain, Kat! ;o)

  8. I go to Uniqlo for my cashmere sweaters (V-neck and crewneck, both.)

    They have a number of color choices, too, if you don’t want just black. I’ve worn my Uniqlo sweaters pretty hard and they’ve stood up to all the wear and tear I’ve put them through.

    • Geneticist :

      How is Uniqlo about pilling?

      • IME, no better or worse than way more expensive brands.

        My data set:
        I own 4 of these sweaters (all in different colors). I bought 2 of them while in Japan in september 2008 and both started pilling a little towards the end of february 2011 after a lot of wear. I followed care instructions, didn’t spill on them or anything, although they were on heavy rotation throughout winter and spring.

        I bought 2 more from the Spring St (NYC) store in 2010 and these two are currently holding up still, with no pilling yet, but we’ll see what happens in mid-Spring, because I’ll be wearing these sweaters until it gets warm.

      • IME, MUCH better than the rest of the mass-market brands with Chinese manufacturing, including J Crew. The fit of the sweaters seem a little dowdy to me but I have many scarves and they just go on and on without special care. However, I buy in Japan and do notice that many Japanese brands manufacture to different (higher) specs for their home market.

      • I’m really not into cashmere, but I have several Uniqlo merino sweaters. Some are going on three years now, and they’ve held up beautifully.

    • 21stofSeptember :

      I have a Uniqlo cashmere sweater that I’ve had since 2007 (bought in NYC) and it still looks great! The color (turquoise) is still vibrant and it hasn’t pilled. I highly recommend it.

  9. My search for a black cashmere cardigan ended last month when I picked up the Only Mine cashmere cardigan at Nordstrom:

    It’s $57.90 and I’m wearing it today. My sister-in-law ordered one after seeing mine.

    • NICE – is the sizing TTS?

      • SoCal Gator :

        I purchased both the V neck and the cardigan in Only Mine. The pullover ran true to size and I bought a small. For frame of reference, I wear a 4 or small in brands such as Halogen and Ann Taylor. I bought the cardigan in a medium because it ran smaller and shorter. They are nice quality and a great price.

  10. Brora! Brora! And sale is on now!

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