Welcome to The Essentials (opens in new tab), our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.
We all know the ease of slipping into a great sweater. It feels cozy and familiar, offering a sense of comfort akin to that of a decades-spanning friendship. But today, I'm specifically spotlighting cashmere women's sweaters. Produced from the soft undercoat of certain breeds of goats found in mountains around the world, including Mongolia, China, and Australia, cashmere wool is inherently refined and a rare resource—hence the steep price tag on 100 percent cashmere products. But as our former Accessories Editor Katie Attardo (opens in new tab) puts it, "Lightweight, warm, and soft, cashmere is an attainable luxury." She's right; the natural characteristics of the fiber, when partnered with quality production and manufacturing, leave us with beautifully crafted knitwear that is softer, warmer, and more delicate than its scratchy wool counterparts. And, as you'll discover below, some of 2023's best cashmere sweaters come with surprisingly affordable price tags, too.
Find your next go-to, forever knit from our favorite cashmere sweaters ahead. Whether you're in need of a statement silhouette or are leaning towards a more neutral addition, I've got you covered—because there's never a wrong time to invest in quality cashmere.
- Best Affordable Cashmere Sweater: Quince Mongolian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater (opens in new tab)
- Best Sustainable Cashmere Sweater: Reformation Jacopo Cashmere Cut Out Sweater (opens in new tab)
- Best Luxury Cashmere Sweater: Lafayette 148 Cashmere Stand Collar Sweater (opens in new tab)
- Best Plus-Sized Cashmere Sweater: Henning Cashmere Pullover Sweater
- Best V-Neck Cashmere Sweater: Gentle Herd Striped V-Neck Wool-Cashmere Sweater (opens in new tab)
The Best Cashmere Sweaters
Best Embellished Cashmere Sweater
I'm crazy about the Danish It-brand Ganni for many reasons. But right now, it's mainly because of its sleek gray sweater with crystal-shoulder buttons that offer just the right amount of personality. Plus: The embellished sweater (opens in new tab) is the perfect embodiment of 2023's daytime disco trend, a maximalism-influenced trend that encourages you to wear shimmer at all hours of the day. So, if you're on the hunt for a naturally cool yet polished knitwear addition—one that's ideal for both in-office work days and off-duty weekends spent brunching—look no further than this pull-over piece.
Pros: Made from 50 percent recycled cashmere; A neutral gray color; Perfect amount of office-appropriate flair; Under $500.
Cons: Only offered in one shade; Medium is largest size left.
Best Cashmere Sweatshirt
NAADAM is a sustainable brand (opens in new tab) that sources its cashmere from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and works directly with local goat herders to provide its customers with artisan-made knitwear at affordable pricing. The Cashmere Zip Up Hoodie is a great starter piece if you're new to the knitwear label, as it's a lounge piece you're likely to continuously reach for while hunkering down indoors during the upcoming chilly fall and winter days. And for when you need to leave the couch and venture outdoors, dress up the sweatshirt by pairing it with dark-wash denim and heeled ankle boots.
Pros: Sustainably and ethically made; Reviewers gush about quality and comfort; Under $500.
Cons: Runs big, according to reviewers.
Best Affordable Cashmere Sweater
Quince allows sustainable and timeless cashmere pieces to be accessible to all, regardless of budget. Case in point: Its Mongolian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, which happens to be one of the knitwear brand's best-selling, most iconic pieces. Also to note is that this crewneck is perfect for subtle layering, as its slightly baggy silhouette leaves with you plenty of room for experimentation. For instance, I'd start by wearing a white button-up underneath and then teaming the tops with wide-leg dark trousers and ballet flats.
Pros: 12 colorways; Three times as warm as wool; Made from Grade-A Mongolian textiles; Costs only $50; A cult favorite.
Cons: Only goes up to an XL; Some reviewers say the sleeves run loose and the fabric feels a bit itchy.
Best Sustainable Cashmere Sweater
The thin knit of the Jacopo Cashmere Sweater is perfect—it's the perfect warm and (of course) soft long-sleeved sweater to call on for crisp fall evenings. Speaking of its knit fabrications, Reformation uses a combination of 90 percent recycled and 10 percent virgin cashmere, which, in total, has 87 percent less carbon impact than standard cashmere wool. In addition to being a sustainable style, it's a sultry one, too: The front cut-outs accentuate your form and offer more of a flirty feel, which is great if you want a sweater that also belongs in your nighttime, going-out rotation.
Pros: Sustainably made; Trendy cutouts; Pearl detailing; Under $500.
Cons: One black colorway; The largest size is an XL.
The Best Cashmere Turtleneck
The Cashmere Stand Collar Sweater from Lafayette 148 is the definition of a great investment piece. The New York City-based luxury brand has given us a luxurious and high-quality cashmere sweater with an array of colors to choose from, ranging from lilac, inky black, bubblegum pink, and seafoam. Yes, it admittedly falls on the more expensive end of the budget spectrum, but it's a 100 percent cashmere find that will last you for ample seasons to come. Put simply: It's a sweater you can feel confident in knowing that you've chosen an elevated style that's inherently luxe and genuine cashmere.
Pros: Offered in plus and petite sizing; A relaxed comfortable fit; Comes in four colorways.
Cons: Over $1,000; Dry clean or hand wash only.
Best Cashmere Polo Sweater
Lisa Yang is known for her mastery of knitwear and this cashmere polo sweater is no exception. In addition to being a conscious fashion choice, it's an essential for those who love subtle preppy style. Oh, and note how it's the perfect shade of teal that offers just the right amount of a color punch. Minimalists, consider this your easy foray into color, as you'll find it to be a slightly exploratory step up from your usual muted hues and washed-out neutrals.
Pros: 100 percent cashmere; Designed in a roomy and oversized fit; Easy pull-over silhouette.
Cons: Largest size is L; Hand wash only; No button enclosures.
Best Plus-Sized Cashmere Sweaters
Henning is a fashion brand with a clear-cut mission: Founder and CEO Lauren Chan (opens in new tab) offers luxury staples—blazers, trousers, knitwear, slip dresses, etc.—exclusively for plus-sized shoppers. As Chan details (opens in new tab), "We want you to wear our clothes and feel as smart, sharp, and powerful as you truly are." And its Cashmere Pullover Sweater epitomizes the core of the brand perfectly. Cut in a classic silhouette and fabricated from a tech-forward, 3D-knit blend of cotton and cashmere, it's a piece you can constantly reach in good faith, knowing it'll never go out of style.
Pros: Offered in a size range of 1X to 4X; Side slits for breathability; Made to order.
Cons: Only comes in black; 85 percent cotton and 15 percent cashmere.
Best Mock Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater
Part of an exclusive collection with Nordstrom celebrating Vince's 20th anniversary, this crewneck is crafted from 100 percent genuine cashmere—which makes its under-$500 price tag all the more impressive. And for those who are fond of under-the-radar details, notice the monochromatic monogram, raglan sleeves, and mock turtleneck, all of which reflect Vince's strategically minimalist point of view. And in the bright green hue, this sweater is what I'd call a rainy-day hero piece, as the bright cactus color will brighten up even the dreariest of gloomy days.
Pros: Offered in black, green, and tan; 100 percent cashmere; Comfortable raglan sleeves.
Cons: Dry clean or hand wash only.
Best Graphic Cashmere Sweater
Add an eclectic pop of neon to your wardrobe with this Tory Burch sweater shrug. This striped cashmere knit is undeniably playful with both its tie-dyed look and asymmetrical knot design. This is a piece that one-of-a-kind dressers with individuality complexes (It's me: I'm that type of dresser who needs to be different) will gravitate towards, as the print is created through a digital printing technique that yields a different, wholly unique result each time. I'd wear this cashmere sweater shrug atop a full-skirt midi dress and with leather mules.
Pro: Unique dip-dyed look; Under $500; 100 percent cashmere.
Cons: Selling out quickly; Pink colorway
Best V-Neck Cashmere Sweater
The subtle stripes, wide v-neck, and relaxed silhouette on Gentle Herd's camel-colored cashmere sweater have me dreaming of pairing it with white tailored pants and a brown chunky loafer (opens in new tab) for an effortlessly cute fall outfit (opens in new tab). It's a great neutral-but-still-interesting piece that I, as an unabashed maximalist, will absolutely be adding to my growing knitwear collection as I stock up ahead of the impending cold-weather months. And at only $115, it leaves plenty of room in my budget to continue shopping for more.
Pros: Under $200; A roomy, relaxed fit; Effortlessly polished.
Cons: 70 percent wool and 30 percent cashmere; Only offered in S, M, and L; One camel colorway.
Best Cashmere Cardigan
For those unfamiliar with the luxury brand, The Elder Statesman celebrates pristine knitwear craftsmanship, typically through an unapologetically bold perspective. Look to its Cashmere Cardigan in highly-saturated rainbow stripes, for instance. Made of decadent, 100 percent cashmere, it's a conversation-starting sweater that audacious dressers will be fond of. I'd advise pairing it atop a black midi dress and slipping on a pair of lug-sole chunky boots for an outfit that reads, "I'm an enigma: I love neutrals as well as statement wares."
Pros: A one-and-done statement; Pure cashmere; Quality materials; Lustrous buttons.
Cons: Over $1,500; Dry clean only.
Best Cashmere Sweater Vest
You can never—I repeat: Never!—go wrong with a jewel tone. Intrinsically opulent, the rich hues create a feeling of sartorial sophistication with minimal styling effort required on your part. Jardin des Orangers Cashmere Sweater Vest in verdant emerald green is a prime example of a hard-working jewel tone in action. Here's a tip from me to you that'll make the saturated shade pop even further: Team this sleeveless knit with crisp white separates—either a button-down or sleek trousers—for a sharp contrast.
Pros: 100 percent cashmere; Perfect for fall layering; Offered in XL+; True to size; Under $500.
Cons: Dry clean only.
Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. 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 up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").
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