Like a pair of genuine gold hoops or a retirement plan, the best sweaters are worth investing in. And yes, you could simply frequent a fast fashion retailer and pick up any synthetic number you see on the rack for under $100. But after one season of wear, that sweater will pill, start to snag, and, in the worst of cases, unravel altogether. And you deserve more than a sad rat's nest of plastic yarn! You deserve top-quality knitwear; you deserve the cream of the sartorial crop, which means investing in the best designer sweaters that'll last you for ample years to come.
Ahead, our shopping-obsessed team of editors share their picks for the best women's designer sweaters on the market and explain why they're all worth the splurge. Have your credit cards ready, and perhaps consider rearranging your monthly budget to allot for these luxurious knits—but remember: you and your closet are worth the investment!
The Best Designer Sweaters
"If you’ve been lucky enough to step into a Sézane storefront, you’ll know their sweater wall is one of the most satisfying sights you’ve ever seen," describes Style Director Sara Holzman. "But it’s not just eye candy. The French B Corp-certified brand creates high-quality sweaters in a vast array of materials and silhouettes that consistently achieve the perfect cut thanks to the expertise of some of France’s most experienced ateliers." In particular, Marie Claire's resident fashion expert shouts out the labels' striped Lucas Jumper as her personal favorite.
"Ralph Lauren women's sweaters are notoriously top tier," explains Emma Childs, Marie Claire's Style Editor. "Perhaps you even own one of the American label's cable-knit crewnecks or teddy bear-motif turtlenecks that are a perennial staple amongst prepsters. As for me, well, my style isn't necessarily polished and prim; I'd identify more as a rebellious prep school dropout than a croquet-playing country clubber. But this ivory sweater by Polo Ralph Lauren is high on my to-buy list because I love its timeless off-the-shoulder silhouette and eye-catching ribbing."
"One thing about me is that I'm going to wear a chunky knit every day during the fall and winter seasons," says Marie Claire's E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla. "I'm currently on a hunt for a caramel version that I can wear with either light or dark-wash jeans, and this one from Anine Bing is on my to-buy list. It's the kind of piece that I can just throw on and look effortlessly cool, so it checks both of my (very necessary) boxes."
Allow Gabrielle Ulubay, an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire, to wax poetic about one of her favorite items in her possession: "I could write a term paper about all the things I love about this sweater. Made iconic by Princess Diana in 1980, this piece is warm and comfortable without being itchy. Plus, it's an ode to self-professed 'black sheep' everywhere, celebrating individuality with fun, undeniably adorable graphics. Its iconic status also makes it instantly recognizable and an immediate compliment-magnet."
"At close to $1,000, I'd have to live exclusively in this Khaite sweater to make it a worthwhile purchase, but you know what—for this sweater, I'm willing to try," says Jenny Hollander, the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. "I love that you can wear it in different ways (loose, over jeans; tucked into pants or a skirt), that it's pure, super-soft cashmere; and the deep V makes it wearable with anything, anywhere. I'll be dreaming about this one for a while longer."
"Full disclosure, I saw Emma Chamberlain wearing a Ganni sweater vest in a recent vlog and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since," admits Julia Marzovilla, Marie Claire's E-Commerce Editor, who certainly knows a thing or two about trending items on the market. "This one is logo-heavy, sure, but the semi-neutral colors make it feel a bit more wearable over another basic like a white tee or turtleneck. Plus, sweater vests are great during the spring once the weather warms up because you can wear them on their own without overheating."
"Emma Childs, Marie Claire's Style Editor, has another pick to share: "I'll admit I'm a newbie to the luscious and yummy world of cashmere. I first dipped my toes into the luxurious world of wool a month ago by splurging on a cashmere scarf, and I've been wearing it on constant repeat. But now, it's officially time I step into the world of ready-to-wear, starting by adding this Tommy Hilfiger women's sweater to my collection. In a creamy pumpkin hue, this 100-percent cashmere sweater is enough of a statement to satisfy my maximalism-loving heart. Oh, and this exact shade of orange is one of winter 2023's leading color trends, too."
"A little fact about me: I love sweaters," shares Brooke Knappenberger, Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow. "Come wintertime, that's about the only thing you can catch me wearing. I especially love sweaters in bright colors or a fun print with a high neck and a slightly oversized fit. This one by Christopher John Rogers definitely ticks all of those boxes. I'm obsessed with its color block design and red and pink color combo. If I had a higher budget, I probably would've worn this multiple times already."
"I lay in bed and dream of this quirky-cool sweater from Stella McCartney's collaboration with Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara," confides Emma Childs, Style Editor at Marie Claire. "Try as I might to lull myself into slumber by counting sheep—the only sheep my brain focuses on is the devilish lamb (Sheeps Can Bever Sleep!) found on this cotton pullover. That said, its price tag is undeniably steep, so this purchase might remain a fantasy for a little while.
"For me, the perfect sweater is something of a 'statement staple'—an item you’ll want to (and can) re-wear a million times, but not at the expense of fun or flair," describes Lucia Tonelli, the Social Media Editor at Marie Claire. "This gorgeous Adam Lippes number checks all those boxes, from the exaggerated sleeves and turtleneck to the yummy pink color and cable-knit detail."
"If I'm going to wear a sweater," says Samantha Holender, Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, "I always seek out some statement-making element. The collar on this Saint Laurent caramel-colored number caught my eye. The ribbing on this classic polo style is extremely flattering and will add a little extra something-something to any outfit. I'll just be dreaming about styling this cozy piece with a great pair of denim until further notice.”
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Emma Childs is the Fashion Features Editor at Marie Claire, who writes trend reports, long-form reported features, and style guides. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage and perusing HBO Max (in her heart, it'll always be *HBO* MX).
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