Now that temps have officially hit teeth-chattering cold, there's one fashion item you can find me in on a near-daily basis and that's a cozy sweater. I'm constantly rotating out turtlenecks, chunky knits, crewnecks, and graphic options but the kind of sweater I turn to most thanks to its versatility are cardigans. Whether you wear them open, closed, or layered over t-shirts, you can't deny cardigans work hard in your wardrobe. When it comes to cardigans, though, there are a ton of styles and fabrics to choose from so where do you begin? Well, if you're looking for the coziest, warmest, and softest of sweaters, you can't go wrong with one of the best cashmere cardigans.
Cashmere sweaters are basically the king of all knits and for good reason. The fabric comes from cashmere goats found across the Himalayas where temperatures can be below freezing, so the goats' coats are exceptionally thick and warm. Each goat only produces about 200 grams of wool a year, whereas a sheep can produce about three kilos, so not only is cashmere incredibly warm, but it's also a rare material. In short, cashmere cardigans might be some of the most luxurious knitwear you'll ever wear, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are unattainable. As you'll see from our favorite cashmere cardigans, below, they come with a range of price tags to suit any budget.
As I mentioned before, there's a vast number of cashmere cardigans on the market, so to help you narrow your search, I tapped Naked Cashmere CEO, Patti Cazzato, on exactly what to look for when shopping for your next go-to cardigan, plus her top cashmere care tips. Then, shop our very best picks, all of which are pure cashmere, heavenly soft, and built to last for seasons to come. There's cozy picks for every kind of budget, too, with some cashmere even on sale!
What to Look For
When shopping for a cashmere cardigan that's built to last, the most important thing to consider is its cashmere grade. All cashmere is graded based on its fibers, explains Cazzato. "The fiber length and width are examined and then graded on a letter scale from A to C, which helps to determine how long the pieces will last and the overall quality of the product," she says. "The higher the grade, the more longevity the piece will have." Depending on your budget and needs, different grades of cashmere may suit you best. Below, Cazzato breaks each grade down:
- Grade A cashmere has the thinnest and longest fibers, which results in the highest quality. The diameter is very small, as low as 14 microns, and the length can be as long as 36 millimeters. Pieces made from Grade A cashmere have the longest life span, and they are more of an investment piece.
- Grade B cashmere is made from fibers that are about 19 microns, which is good quality but not quite as high as Grade A. Grade B cashmere is a great middle-ground for those looking to invest in cashmere but are still on a budget.
- Grade C cashmere fibers are the lowest quality with thicker fibers at about 30 microns. This results in a lower quality and can lead to pilling, however, Grade C cashmere is the most affordable.
The Best Cashmere Cardigans
- Best Overall Cashmere Cardigan: Reformation Fantino Recycled Cashmere Blend Cardigan
- Best Affordable Cashmere Cardigan: J.Crew Cashmere Patch-Pocket Cardigan
- Best Splurgeworthy Cashmere Cardigan: Guest in Residence Everywear Bouclé-Cashmere Cardigan
- Best Sustainable Cashmere Cardigan: Everlane The Cashmere Cardigan
- Best Oversized Cashmere Cardigan: Quince Mongolian Cashmere Oversized Boyfriend Cardigan Sweater
- Best Cropped Cashmere Cardigan: AQUA Cashmere Crewneck Cashmere Cardigan
Best Overall Cashmere Cardigan
Reformation's Fantino cardigan is one of their best-selling pieces and for good reason. It has an oversized, relaxed fit so you stay cozy but you don't have to worry about looking frumpy. This sweater has a ton of versatility, so whether you button it all the way up or layer it over a thin turtleneck, it's still going to look downright chic. You can even wear it with a few bottom buttons open to tuck into skirts and jeans. This is a purchase you can feel good about making, too, as it's made from a blend of recycled and traditional cashmere.
Customer review: "Highly recommend this as a great fall basic layering piece. Super comfortable and cute." — Nordstrom
Best Affordable Cashmere Cardigan
J.Crew is one of those retailers I can always count on to deliver high-quality pieces at a reasonable price point, hence why I love them so much. This bright pocket cardigan is right up my alley for a number of reasons. Firstly, J.Crew's new and improved cashmere is all about sustainably sourcing the highest quality cashmere. The brand partnered up with Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), a sustainable agricultural nonprofit to source cashmere that is up to the AbTF's standards. This includes ensuring the welfare of cashmere goats, the protection of natural resources, and the ethical working conditions of farmers.
Customer review: "This is my perfect cardigan! I have two and am ordering a third. The style is great for a relatively petite person like me - it’s “relaxed” but not really oversized. And the length is perfect. In other words, it doesn’t “swallow me whole”. But the best part is the cashmere! I own plenty of J Crew cashmere, and it’s all good; but this is extraordinary in terms of softness..." — J.Crew
Best Zippered Cashmere Cardigan
For the softest, coziest, warmest cashmere cardigans, it really doesn't get better than Naked Cashmere. Each and every one of their pieces is made with Grade A cashmere (the highest quality there is) so you know it's going to last you year after year. The brand also prides themselves in sourcing only sustainable, cruelty-free, and fair-trade cashmere, which are major wins in my book. After wearing this zippered cardigan just one time, it quickly became one of my most worn fall pieces. It's deliciously soft, incredibly warm without feeling bulky, and makes my basic denim outfits so much more elevated.
Customer review: "Beautiful cashmere jacket. Love the double zipper and high collar. It's a good weight and classic design that I will wear often. Another win for Naked Cashmere. I highly recommend it." — Naked Cashmere
Best Oversized Cashmere Cardigan
If you're unfamiliar with Quince, allow me to introduce you to the fashion brand. Quince uses a direct-factory model to cut out supply chain costs to keep their pieces affordable, plus they only use premium materials with sustainability at the forefront of their brand ethos. Thanks to Quince's retail model, this cozy oversized cardigan is under $150 when something similar would run upwards of $239, according to Quince's site. Considering this cardigan is made from 100 percent Grade A cashmere, is ethically sourced and produced, and comes in 11 easy-to-wear colors, I'd say this is one heck of a deal.
Customer review: "This sweater is absolutely gorgeous and of great quality. Soft and warm is my most favorite thing in my closet right now!" — Quince
Best Sustainable Cashmere Cardigan
Everlane never fails to deliver quality basics at affordable prices. What's even better is that they are committed to sustainability. With a 96 percent recycled cashmere blend, this cardigan is just as soft and luxurious as the other picks on this list, only it comes with less of an impact on the planet. In fact, this cardigan uses over 90 percent less raw material carbon emissions, according to the brand. With its relaxed fit and luxe feel, this sweater is easy to dress up or down while still feeling all of the coziness.
Customer review: "I love the weight and structure of this cardigan. The cashmere has a soft hand but the flat knit and looser cut allows the cardigan to fall on the body like a jacket. It adds a bit of sophistication to any outfit, yet still pairs perfectly with my jeans." — Everlane
Best Shaker-Stitch Cashmere Cardigan
Don't sleep on Nordstrom's in-house brand for quality knitwear. The retailer's Signature collection is home to luxury wardrobe essentials that are actually affordable, like this cardigan. Made from plush, pure cashmere, this cardigan has a slightly roomier fit and a shaker-stitch knit for that classic old-school vibe. Reviewers also say it's incredibly easy to dress up or down, too. Simply switch out jeans and sneakers for trousers and boots and you've got a cozy, yet elegant look.
Customer review: "Buy this! You will be so happy. It s the perfect cashmere cardigan. I am so picky. I ordered the beautiful camel color. It looks so nice with a white tee and jeans. You can dress this up or down. This is a staple piece you will enjoy for years to come." — Nordstrom
Best Polo Cashmere Cardigan
When you think of cardigans, I'm sure your mind goes to oversized silhouettes that wrap you up in coziness. Let it be known, though, that slim-fitting cardigans like this one can be just as cozy while giving you shape. This Vince cardigan hits right at the hips and features a close-to-skin fit so you won't feel swallowed up, plus the polo-inspired neckline adds style points It's also made of boiled cashmere, which in case you didn't know results in a tighter knit giving it a softer, more luxurious feel. In short, this is the sweater to throw on when you want to feel comfy and chic.
Customer review: "This sweater is so soft and luxurious feeling! Looks very casual chic on, and can easily pair with jeans, dress pants, midi skirt dressed up or down. Cut is not too low to comfortably wear it alone. Color is rich dark emerald-teal. Love it!" — Nordstrom
Best Wrap Cashmere Cardigan
When it comes to traveling, I'm all about layers. More often than not, I'm freezing cold once my plane is in the sky, so I never go on a flight without this wrap. Not only is it incredibly soft, but it's the easiest sweater to pack and throw on. It has a large open-front design, which makes it easy to throw over your shoulders when you're in a pinch. With how lightweight this cardigan is, it's surprisingly toasty warm and takes up little to no space in my carry-on (a huge bonus for a heavy packer, like me). Sometimes, I'll even use it as a blanket or pillow during quick naps. Trust me, this is the sweater to take with you on all of your travels.
Customer review: This is my favorite wrap!! I own it in four different colors and gifted one to a good friend at work who kept “stealing” mine. Super lightweight yet amazing warmth. Love how soft the cashmere is. Absolutely worth it. Only negative is that it isn’t available in more colors. Yet." — Lilly Pulitzer
Best Lightweight Cashmere Cardigan
If you still associate Banana Republic with the mall days of the early 2000s, I encourage you to check out their new offerings. The retailer has had a bit of a rebrand with every one of their pieces looking and feeling like luxury but without the price tag. This cardigan, for example, is made of pure cashmere that's also up to the AbTF's standards. That means you can feel good about this cashmere cardigan knowing that it was ethically and sustainably produced. In terms of fit and feel, this cardigan is slightly oversized for comfort and it's made of a lightweight knit, making this a piece you can turn to for every season.
Best Cropped Cashmere Cardigan
For a not-so-basic cashmere cardigan, you don't need to look further than Bloomingdale's very own AQUA Cashmere. The retailer-exclusive brand serves up cashmere sweaters in a rainbow of colors and a variety of styles, all crafted from the softest Mongolian cashmere. While AQUA has a ton of fun cardigans to choose from, this one particularly stood out to me. Not only is it a fun shade of Barbie pink, but I'm obsessed with the matching fabric buttons. It's a small detail, but it's a thoughtful one I find incredibly chic. If pink isn't your vibe, there's a handful of neutral shades to choose from like camel, grey, and black, plus the color of the season, red.
Customer review: "Softest cardi and just what I’ve been looking for to wear with my denim midi skirt and boots! Versatile piece with beautiful covered buttons and not too short cropped length. Slightly boxy fit but I took my usual size. Love this sweater and will be ordering the gorgeous light blue color!" — Bloomingdale's
Best Cashmere Cardigan for Warmth
Leave it to L.L. Bean to create the perfect cardigan for traipsing through the cold. The outdoor clothing brand nailed the cashmere cardigan with all of its thoughtful details: ribbed sleeves that can be worn cuffed or down, a high collar for extra warmth, and front pockets for style and utility. Made from the finest cashmere yarns from Mongolia, rest assured that this sweater feels luxuriously soft and warm. Another great feature of this sweater is that it comes in plus and petite sizes, and can also be hand-washed, a huge bonus when it comes to cashmere.
Customer review: "I love cashmere and I’m always cold. This sweater has become a favorite quickly. The sweater can be dressed up or down. The neck gives extra warmth and the buttons allow you to close it and stay a little bit warmer when needed. I’ve worn it to go shopping and I’ve worn it out to nice holiday meals. The fit is perfect..." — L.L. Bean
Best Crewneck Cashmere Cardigan
Here at MC, we love Boden for their high-quality classic pieces. This cardigan is just one of the many obsession-worthy sweaters Boden offers. For starters, it has that classic crewneck silhouette with a straight fit so it looks great on just about every body shape. The cashmere knit is not too thin and not too thick, making it the perfect layering piece. Boden's cashmere is also sourced from Mongolia and meets the Good Cashmere Standard so you know it's top-notch. You can even throw this sweater into the washing machine, so I wouldn't blame you for stocking up on a few shades.
Customer review: "This is a beautiful sweater made of lovely soft cashmere. It is true to size. I am a size 10 and the medium fits perfectly. I have worn it a few times and there has been no pilling. It's the perfect staple for your wardrobe." — Boden
Best Beaded Cashmere Cardigan
With the holidays on the horizon, parties and get-togethers are soon going to take over our calendars. And with it being near freezing in most of the country, a cozy sweater sounds like the best option, but not just any sweater will do. For those events when you need something special but still want to stay warm, this is the cardigan to turn to. It's soft and warm thanks to luxurious cashmere, but the beading is what makes this sweater a real standout. Every time the light hits one of the many beads on this sweater, you'll dazzle like crazy. If you're not into the flashiness of sequins, this cardigan is a great option for holiday parties. Add a satin slip skirt and some heels and you're good to go.
Best Duster Cashmere Cardigan
If you're lucky enough to still have your size available in this cardigan, I suggest you take advantage of its current sale price and add it to your cart ASAP. Naadam is an editor-loved brand for cashmere for several reasons. For one, they source only the highest quality of cashmere yarns from Mongolia to create their heavenly soft knits. They also have sustainability at the top of their mind by recycling materials, sourcing directly from Mongolia for a more transparent supply chain, and prioritizing quality over quantity. This cardigan is the epitome of cozy with its extra-long length, baby-soft feel, and ribbed sleeves.
Customer review: "I love a long, swingy cardigan and this one is toasty and beautifully cut. I’ve worn it as a layer probably 3 or 4 days/week for warmth and it really pulls an outfit together too." — Naadam
If you haven't heard of the cashmere brand Guest in Residence yet, it's only a matter of time. The luxury brand was recently launched by none other than Gigi Hadid after finding inspiration from her parents' hand-me-downs. At Guest in Residence, you'll find fresh cashmere styles in a range of colors, all of which have an heirloom-like quality you can cherish forever. This sweater particularly caught my eye when I came across its thick bouclé knit. The dense, multicolored knit immediately makes this cardigan stand out as a luxury piece, not to mention it's made from the most sumptuous of cashmere yarns. I know this cardigan is pricy, but it's truly an investment piece you can wear for years and years.
How to Care for Cashmere
Once you've made the investment in a cashmere cardigan, you can't just throw it in your closet (and definitely not the washing machine!) all willy-nilly. To ensure your cardigans last for years to come, follow Cazzato's best cashmere care tips:
- Washing: Unfortunately, it's best to have your cashmere items dry-cleaned, but you still can wash them at home. Just wash them by hand carefully, with lukewarm water and a gentle, dye-free detergent.
- Drying: After washing, gently dry your pieces by pressing out excess water and laying them flat to air dry on a towel. Never use a dryer, but you can feel free to utilize a steamer to get out any remaining wrinkles.
- Storing: To ensure your sweaters keep their shape, fold your pieces instead of hanging them up as hangers can leave indents on the soft knitwear.
- If you really want to keep your cashmere pieces looking new, invest in a cashmere comb. Groups of short or broken fibers can get tangled from abrasion, rubbing, or just everyday use, which causes pilling. This can be improved by using a cashmere comb.
Meet the Expert
Patti is the CEO of Naked Cashmere with over 30 years working in the fashion industry.
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Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.