I have gotten a lot of requests of late for my favorite cashmere sweater designers (and a lot of women complaining about ones that they own that don’t hold up and pill, etc.) I’m trying to offer some price points, but I will be honest, a good cashmere sweater is an investment. I think we’ve gotten used to buying too much too often. That said there are some expensive cashmere sweaters out there that do not hold up well. Also I think durability can depend upon the sweater itself and the weave and mill where it was produced. If I have left a company out, it might be because I don’t like their offerings. For instance, J. Crew makes decent inexpensive cashmere, but what they have now doesn’t excite me. Also, Prada cashmere is always a good idea, but I can’t find any online worth posting. Also, please feel free to comment and share your faves/never agains. My favorites? (images below list)
- Khaite. I have one Khaite sweater, the Marlon (like the walnut colored turtleneck below). Khaite sweaters are expensive (why I have one), but the weave on the expensive ones is super thick and no pilling. Worth the investment. And because they continue to produce the same silhouettes, I don’t feel they are trendy. Modern? Yes. Trendy? No. Hand-me-down quality.
- Celine. I bought the Khaite sweater last year, and a Celine gray v-neck this year. Expensive? Yep. But the quality is also superb. A medium weight. The style is timeless. Hand-me-down sweater.
- Allude. These are a step down in the price point. I have a gray crewneck that has held up really well that I bought on Matches. See their selection here. I choose one, that is pricier, from Net-a-Porter below. I will admit I am not in love with the shapes this year. Not sure if they are hand-me-down, but definitely long-term.
- Uniqlo. I do not like fast fashion, however, when something from a big retailer is classic and it lasts, I’m all for it. I have a Uniqlo cashmere crewneck in navy and black. I’ve had them for years. Nominal pilling. They’re now on sale.
- Vince. I do think Vince cashmere is the best bang for your buck. The quality is great (my daughter asked for a men’s Vince sweater for Christmas that was on sale), and they hold up. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of styles right now, but this is my medium-range go-to.
- Nili Lotan. I haven’t bought a Nili sweater in a couple of years, but the ones I do have have held up considerably well. They are not inexpensive, but the designs are super classic. A reader complained her’s pilled, so this is where I wonder if it was the specific sweater, or the mills changed.
Finally–take care of the cashmere you have! Wash them by hand with The Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo, then block them out (which means be sure they are in the shape they are supposed to be, no wrinkles) and lay them on a towel to dry. Then I like the cheap drugstore sweater combs (like these) to de-fuzz. (I find the more expensive the comb, the worse it performs.)
top image courtesy Khaite
Maryam Montague says
Wondering what you think of Joseph? I have bought Naked Cashmere and the quality of the cashmere is very nice but the shapes look a bit odd.
Sandra Linabury says
My price points are well beneath yours, but I have had experience with some elevated cashmere, such as Nili Lotan’s and TSE’s, neither of which have pilled. But for others of my moderate means, I recommend Garnet Hill’s cashmere. My many GH cashmere sweaters (favorite among them the roomy V-neck pullover) are sumptuously thick and soft and have weathered several years with absolutely no signs of wear whatever.
Another recommendation is the adorable Swedish-made Pilo fabric shaver, which I ordered from Food 52. It does a beautiful job of gently removing pills from most of the knits I’ve tried it on.
I think Equipment makes a nice sweater. To your point about Vince cashmere, I just bought their version of Khaite’s Jo in a camel color and love the feel and weight. However, I must say that with both Khaite and a majority of Vince I don’t understand why the sleeves are so long…and I’m 5’9. Agree with you on Nili Lotan. I look forward to her Fall collection every year so I can check out her sweaters. Definitely had my eye on that Co sweater as well.
The Laundress makes a nice sweater comb. Bought one from J. Crew years ago and use it all the time.
The Khaite are my favorites. They’re so luxurious.
Extreme Cashmere is also excellent quality cashmere. Thick and no piling.
I just ordered the sweater comb and will try it on my sweaters. Beautiful selection and I do hope that a few, like the Khaite, go on sale soon. I will be buying differently in the future. I don’t need as many sweaters as I have and would prefer fewer and of better quality.
Fabulous list; thank you Jennifer! I agree regarding Vince, I’m surprised at the great luck I have had so far. And of course my Celine sweaters still stand the test of time. What hasn’t? Jenni Kayne. Bought one on a whim and it looked ragged after one wear.
I love the Laundress products. Somewhere I read hand washing cashmere in warm water revives the cashmere. I did this recently and the sweaters came out beautifully. As far as expensive sweaters I’ve found the expensive of the sweater really doesn’t make a difference. The expensive sweaters pill just the same as less expensive ones. Recently, I ordered some sweaters from Quince. I’ll have to see how they do. Mostly I look at company ethics. My longest lasting sweater is from Madewell, actually it looks very similar to the feature picture.
I have two new Jenni Kayne cashmere sweaters. I love the softness and weight. Hoping they hold up well.
My experience has been different from yours! My Vince cashmere sweaters have pilled terribly and I have sworn them off. For good quality at a reasonable price point I’d recommend Loulou Studio – mine have held up well. And I love Chinti + Parker, though they are sold in very few places in the US now. My Nili cashmere has pilled but otherwise held up pretty well.
I have sworn off vince cashmere – their older sweaters have held up well but my newer sweaters have pilled almost immediately. A note on style did a post on this a few weeks ago and the comments turned into a rant about the drop in the caliber of vince cashmere. Agree on Garnet Hill for less expensive but nice quality. Mid-priced favorites include Ann Mashburn and Crimson Cashmere – Linda Wright’s boutique.