Fall/Winter Fashion

The Best Cashmere Sweaters: Review & Comparison Winter 2021

I pretty much live in cashmere sweaters (and jeans) three months of the year, so I’ve tried A LOT of them, and today I’ve rounded up the best cashmere sweaters I’ve tried and why I recommend them.

This week is also a really good time to snag an investment sweater or two because the post-Christmas sales are pretty stellar.

I divided this post into three sections — under $100, mid-range cashmere, and luxury cashmere.

Yes, the prices of cashmere range quite a bit. Lower priced cashmere often skimps on materials and production costs, and they may pill sooner than the luxury brands, but you can usually get a couple seasons out of them.

When you move up into luxury cashmere, the knits tend to be softer and more densely woven, and the designers are more generous with materials. Sleeve and body length are usually longer, and they tend to have more fabric overall for a better slouch factor. You will see more attention to detail, as well.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s start with cashmere under $100.

The Best Cashmere Under $100

Most department stores have their own labels, and those cashmere sweaters can be very affordable, especially when on sale. My favorite in this category is Nordstrom’s Halogen brand.

Halogen Cashmere at Nordstrom

Halogen cashmere crew (from last year)

Halogen cashmere is very soft and comfortable. They’re generous with the sleeve length, and the styles are classic but usually have a little extra detail that sets them apart. (I particularly like the details on the v-neck.)

Halogen cashmere v-neck

They are usually priced right under $100, but they’re currently 50% off. Decent quality cashmere for under $50 is virtually unheard of and must be purchased immediately!

Which is why I just snapped up the turtleneck in both camel and black. I would have gotten the grey, but I already have a grey cashmere turtleneck that I love. (See the luxury cashmere section below.)

I was also surprised that they arrived this weekend, so I was able to get a picture for you. YAY!

This year’s camel is darker than some, and I like that the undertones aren’t too yellow. It’s still a warmer color, I think, but I like it and I’m keeping it.

This will definitely be a closet staple I get a lot of wear out of! It looks good both untucked and front-tucked, depending on the look you’re going for.

turtleneck // jeans // shoes (size up!)

Halogen cashmere is thinner than some, and the lighter colors are slightly see-through, but it’s not a deal breaker. If that bothers you, stick with the darker colors.

These sweaters run true to size with a fairly classic but somewhat generous fit. I have a small in all three.

Aqua Cashmere at Bloomingdale’s

cashmere turtleneck in Wheat (size M)

Aqua is one of the Bloomingdale’s private labels, and it retails for over $100, but you can often find it on sale for under $100, so I included it in this section.

Right now, it’s at one of the lowest prices I’ve seen — 66% off, bringing their classic crew, v-neck, turtleneck styles down to $59.99.

I like the subtle details like the extra long ribbed cuffs and exposed seam up back and sides, but they run small. I take a medium in this brand.

I’ve always been pleased with the quality of Aqua cashmere. It isn’t quite as soft as Halogen cashmere, but it seems to be a slightly more densely woven knit, which may indicate higher quality.

Unfortunately, I found this sweater very itchy. I don’t remember having that problem with Aqua cashmere in the past, but I had to return this even though I really like the color and the styling.

Quince Cashmere

cashmere turtleneck (S)

Quince is a new brand to me. They’re similar to Everlane in that their goal is to provide quality products without the luxury price tag. As an example, their 100% Grade A Mongolian cashmere v-neck and cashmere crew are both priced right at $50!

I was curious to try it out, so I ordered their Mongolian cashmere turtleneck, which is priced at $64.90.

I’d say this sweater is comparable to the department store brands in level of quality. It’s definitely not as nice as the luxury brands, but it’s comfortable and well made with a classic fit.

If I’m being picky, they’re a little stingy with materials, but you can easily size up for a bit more length in the arms and body. For the price point, this is an excellent value for cashmere.

C prefers a very classic fit, and she received their cashmere v-neck for Christmas in her usual XS, and she is thrilled with it.

I also ordered a pair of their cashmere joggers, for kicks and giggles. I mean, if you’re going to hang around the house joggers, why not make them luxe joggers?!

Quince cashmere sweatpants (S) | J.Crew cashmere v-neck fitted sweater (S)

These are priced at $89.90, and I would say that is reasonable. The knit itself is soft and cozy, but the waistband was uncomfortably tight, and I would prefer the legs to be baggier as well — the way they’re shown on the website.

All that to say, I sent mine back, but I would definitely consider re-ordering in the medium… along with that cashmere full zip hoodie. I love them as a set.

In a nutshell, I’m a fan, but I would recommend sizing up in the Quince pieces I’ve tried so far.

I also want to point out that Quince offers free shipping, and they have a free 365-day return policy.

The Best Mid-Range Cashmere

I decided to create this mid-range category for a few brands that are right at or above that $100 price point

Everlane Cashmere

While we’re talking about retailers that are committed to producing quality products at radically low prices, I can’t write this post without mentioning Everlane.

I don’t currently have an Everlane cashmere sweater, but I have in the past… Holy eyebrows, Batman!!!

Everlane The Cashmere Crew (S)

Their cashmere v-neck and cashmere crew are priced right at $100, and these sweaters are a nice quality for that price point. They’re not as thick and soft as some, but a good value for $100.

They both have a classic fit close to the body, so I recommend sizing up if you want any slouch.

Everlane The Cashmere V-neck (M)

Everlane has free U.S. shipping on orders over $75, but they do charge for returns unless you have a Happy Returns location. These are very convenient, at least during non-pandemic times.

They are usually centrally located in a shopping mall, and you don’t have to package anything or label it. Just bring the items with your receipt, as you would to a retail store, and they take care of everything for you — no charge!

J.Crew Cashmere

J.Crew cashmere v-neck fitted sweater (S)

J.Crew has a good reputation for quality cashmere, but I had never tried it before so I ordered a couple of their sweaters to include in this post.

The cashmere fitted v-neck retails for $128, and I would say it is similar to the Aqua and Everlane brands in fit and feel — maybe slightly softer. It runs small, though. Definitely size up if you want any extra wiggle room.

Their cashmere crew comes in TONS of color choices. It retails for $98 but is currently on sale for $89. It’s the same fabric and dimensions as the fitted v-neck and should fit similarly, so size up if you want extra length or a slouchier fit.

I really like the fit of the v-neck boyfriend sweater, below, but I found the camel color to be too yellow-based for my skin tone. It doesn’t look as warm in these pictures as it does in person.

J.Crew cashmere v-neck boyfriend sweater (S)

I like the looser fit, and it has a really good drape. I also like the extra long ribbed cuffs and the shape of the v-neck. It’s not as low as it looks online.

I may order it in another color if it goes on sale again, and I would stay with my true size small in this boyfriend style.

Reformation Cashmere

at Nordstrom

sweater (M) // jeans (28)

Reformation is a newer brand that is making waves in the sustainable, ethical fashion space with their recycled cashmere. The sweater I’m wearing above is 70% recycled cashmere, 30% cashmere; and some of their cashmere sweaters have a hint of wool content, as well.

Their sweaters are tremendously soft, but they’re on the thinner side and not as densely woven as some of the pricier luxury brands.

They also tend to design cropped, boxy styles that are more trendy and less of a timeless wardrobe classic. Still, I’m kind of a sucker for their sweaters. I can’t walk through Nordstrom’s t.b.d. department without being drawn over to them.

sweater (M) // jacket (8) // jeans (28)

I like the rolled hem on this cashmere crew, as well as the thick ribbed neck. I sized up to a medium for length, but it really is quite voluminous on me. For that reason, I usually wear it as a base layer.

I’m kind of jonesing for this boyfriend turtleneck in that oatmeal. It’s made of the same recycled-cashmere blend, and it’s an inch longer than the crewneck that I have, so I would probably order the small.

Best Luxury Cashmere

With luxury cashmere, not only are you paying for superior materials and attention to detail, you’re also (hopefully) paying for more ethical production methods and labor conditions, although brands like Quince and Everlane are giving those luxury brands a run for their money in that respect.

I noticed that J.Crew also mentions a commitment to supporting responsible cashmere production in their product descriptions, so that’s good to see!

Of course, luxury cashmere has a price tag to match. Most of these sweaters are in the $200-400 price range, but you can find good sales if you’re patient.

Equipment Delafine Turtleneck

at Equipment.com | at Shopbop | at Bloomingdale’s | on sale at Zappo’s

This Equipment turtleneck is one of my all-time favorite sweaters and one I expect to have in my closet for years. I’m actually wearing an older style, the Equipment Oscar, but it’s no longer available. I snagged it on a clearance sale last spring.

The fabric isn’t overly thick, but you can feel and see the densely woven knit, and the softness is to die for. There is absolutely zero itch factor. (I’m not overly sensitive, but I did send the Aqua brand turtleneck back because it was itchy.)

It layers beautifully under jackets and vests, but it also stands alone nicely when you just want a simple, classic cashmere turtleneck.

They’re very generous with materials — it has some extra length in the arms, but nothing too crazy. It’s also longer and more relaxed through body than most.

In fact, the Oscar style that I’m wearing is very long and needs a front tuck, but I believe the Delafine is shorter.

I absolutely LOVE this sweater, and I would definitely buy more of this brand. I’m currently jonesing for their Madalene v-neck in one of those scrumptious shades of pink or purple.

Vince Weekend V-Neck Cashmere Sweater

at Vince.com | at Nordstrom | at Bloomingdale’s

If the Equipment Oscar is the perfect cashmere turtleneck, this Vince weekend v-neck is the perfect cashmere v-neck. It has a similar generous cut through the arms and body, but it isn’t quite as long.

This one can be worn untucked or front-tucked, depending on the look I’m going for and the proportions of the rest of the outfit.

It’s soft and dense and just the most gorgeous knit. Vince outdid themselves with this one, and it comes in a bunch of gorgeous neutrals.

sweater (S) // jeans (TTS; similar for less) // boots (TTS)

Yes, the $295 price tag is spendy, but I did manage to grab mine on an amazing sale last September, and it’s been on sale once again since then, so it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

You can definitely layer it, but I find myself wearing it alone more often than not. In fact, I wore it to church yesterday with black jeans and black leather knee boots.

Nordstrom Signature Cashmere

sweater (olive, size S) // jeans (28)

I wanted to include this even though it’s low inventory because Nordstrom Signature is a store brand that’s comparable to the luxury brands listed here, and you can often get a really good deal on it.

They usually have quite a few offerings in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale each summer, and that’s where I snagged this cashmere v-neck.

The knit is extremely soft and good quality, and it has lightly dropped shoulders and a ribbed crossover v-neck detail. It’s a little on the longer side with a split hem.

If you want a luxury cashmere sweater that’s closer to that $100 mark, keep an eye on this brand in the Nordstrom Sale section. You never know when you might score a really great deal!

Naadam Cashmere

And then there’s Naadam. *cue angels singing*

sweater (oatmeal; size S)

Naadam makes the thickest, most impossibly soft cashmere I’ve tried to date, and they are also committed to sustainability and all that jazz.

They carry a range of price points, and they rate each of their cashmere pieces on a softness scale, but even the ones ranking lower on the scale are absolutely beautiful.

This recycled cashmere crew is one of my new favorites. I love everything about this sweater — the cut, the fit, the details. Nothing is super unique about it, but it has such pretty ribbed cuffs and hem, and I like how they designed the shoulder.

It’s very much true to size, and I would highly recommend it… but probably wait for a sale. I managed to get it for 40% off on Black Friday.

sweater (S) // jeans (28) // boots (size up half)

My only complaint with Naadam is that they don’t have a lot of color choices for each piece, and they don’t currently have a lot of classic designs.

I grabbed this classic cashmere v-neck last year on sale, but they don’t have anything like it at the moment.

sweater // jeans

I also have and love this cashmere scoop sweater, and it’s still available. It’s not quite as thick as the ones above, but it’s impossibly soft, and I love the cut of the neckline and the extra length in the sleeves.

The neckline is a bit low, that’s the only drawback. It’s true to size with a more body-con fit.

sweater // jeans

And this cashmere boatneck is the same level of softness. It’s thinner than the rest, but I love the drape and the way it’s cut. It also has more color choices than most of the Naadam sweaters.

sweater (S) // jeans (28)

One thing to be aware of, Naadam doesn’t have quite as generous a return policy as some of the other retailers, but they do offer to waive return shipping if you take another purchase right away with your store credit. I’ve been known to use that offer on occasion, especially when I want to order a different size or color of the piece I’m returning.

Jenni Kayne

sweater (S)

The last brand I want to mention is Jenni Kayne, as I’ve had some requests for it. This is a newer retailer that focuses on classic, quality pieces for your wardrobe and the home.

I don’t know if I didn’t realize I was ordering a non-cashmere sweater, or if I just forgot when I went to do the try-ons for this post, but at any rate, the Everyday Sweater I’m wearing here is not cashmere. It’s 40% wool, 25% viscose, 25% polyamide, 10% cashmere.

It’s also not as soft as I was expecting, and I didn’t care for the boxy, almost swingy shape. It looks okay in these pictures because of the way I’m standing, but when I turn to the side and move around, it doesn’t drape very well and I feel like it makes me look bigger than I am.

It’s a shame because I really like the details in the knit.

I would definitely try again with this brand, but you should be aware that they have a rather strict return policy. The only allow 21 days from the delivery date for a refund, and 30 days for store credit.

They also require you to save all packaging and to use the enclosed return label, so do not throw that thing away until you’re sure you won’t need it!

Whew! I I hope this post was helpful. I probably missed some major players, but I think this gives you a good overview of the cashmere options at various price points.

I tried to give lots of details about sizing, etc., but if I forgot something, feel free to ask in the comments. My reply button and emails are working now!!

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33 thoughts on “The Best Cashmere Sweaters: Review & Comparison Winter 2021

  1. QVC has Naadam cashmere and they are having a great sale on the crewneck and the vneck right now, under $60 with limited sizes colors. I would assume the quality is the same ?

    1. Hey Judi! Nice find. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they are not the same because the brand is “Soft by NAADAM” — when designers do that, it’s a line just for the retailer, and they usually aren’t the same quality. The lower price point is an indicator too. Still, I would totally give them a try. They’re probably a good value for the price.

      For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to the v-neck: https://shopstyle.it/l/bqdAM
      And the crewneck: https://shopstyle.it/l/bqdDA

  2. I love this post. I appreciate all the details about each piece and each company. I didn’t realize there are so many choices. 

  3. Naked Cashmere is the softest I’ve ever felt. They’re a bit mire fashion forward, but also have a stable of more traditional styles.  

  4. I am going to try the Halogen v-neck (I’ll order small and medium since I usually wear a medium, but a lot of reviewers said it ran large.) I haven’t had a cashmere sweater in years, and since we will be in North Carolina next year, I think a v-neck would be good for those cooler days. Trying the oatmeal since it will go with everything.
    You look great in all these sweaters (well, you look great in everything you style.)

  5. Thanks for the lesson on cashmere and quality…. who knew?  Beautiful sweaters and jogger. if only cashmere wasn’t wool.  Darn wool allergy!  Thank you though for the detailed synopsis.  We have similar body types so seeing how sweaters are cut and fit on you gives me a good idea of what to look for in cotton sweaters and what is flattering.  Enjoy the slower, quieter week with your family. 

  6. O know it costs to order and compare but why are LandsEnd, LLBean, and GarnetHill not included here? They are long standing companies that have always offered Cashmere…

  7. Once again I am in the deer stand and just got to read this post.  I am going to risk showing my ignorance, but is cashmere as warm as acrylic or wool?  Because I am hot natured, I have never considered having a cashmere sweater in my closet.  I do like how you styled them!

    1. It’s an honest question, and I have to admit, I’m not sure how the warmth compares to wool. I think similar, and maybe it also depends on thickness. Sweaters with wool content are often thicker. Wool and cashmere should definitely breathe better than acrylic because they’re natural fibers. I think they’re warmer too.

  8. I’m a cashmere newbie! I’m assuming hand wash or dry clean? Also, do you fold and put in drawer or on shelf , or do you hang your sweaters? Thanks!

    1. Yes, I know some women who swear by handwashing their cashmere, but I tried the delicate cycle once (laid it flat to dry) and didn’t like how it turned out so I dry clean mine.

  9. This was a really informative post but, I was very disappointed that Talbots wasn’t included in this review.  I realize you can’t do every brand but Talbots is a brand I often see mentioned by you and other fashion bloggers.  

  10. I know it’s impossible to cover all brands, but I highly recommend Talbots for mostly traditional styles and bright, lush colors and Garnet Hill for edgier styles and the best neutral colors anywhere!  Both are soft and warm and durable. 

  11. I ordered the Naadam crew neck when it was on sale recently ($130 is still a very steep price point in my book) but I LOVE it, I was blown away by how soft and nice it is and I love the color and fit. So I just ordered the BP turtleneck and will not expect the same quality but hopeful I’ll love it too.
    Great post Jolynne!!

  12. I love the Naadam crew neck sweater on you! Would you mind sharing the length of your sweater please? I wish more websites would include this information, but your posts about sizing are always so helpful.

    1. It’s somewhere in the 22-23″ range. I’m never sure where to measure from, the neck or the shoulder. And I agree, I don’t know why more websites don’t provide that info.

  13. Personally, I have had great luck with Talbots’ cashmere. I usually wait until the end of the season and purchase a few new ones. The quality is good, and the price is fair. While I don’t care for all of their clothes, you can’t beat them for basics. Also, they are a great philanthropic organization who does a lot with Dress for Success.
    I eagerly await their sales!

  14. Great post! I love Halogen cashmere and purchased the wheat v-neck a few weeks ago, I also ordered the ivory and black stripe, but need to return for larger size, extra small was to fitted. Two years ago you featured or suggested. Theory cashmere sweater (maybe you recall)-camel color, I purchased it and it’s so luxe and soft. I also bought the ivory one but it’s a bit see thru:((

  15. Hi Jo-Lynne! I’m interested that you dry-clean your cashmere as I do too. However that’s enough to put me off wearing it too frequently. Do you wear anything under your cashmere to extend the time needed between cleaning? Thanks so much – catching up on loads of your posts and loving them as always 🙂

    1. Hey Claire, no, I don’t like the feeling of layers, and the softness of the cashmere against my skin is one reason I love it so much. I only dry clean a piece if it gets makeup or food stain on it. And of course, if it smells… which I’ve never noticed. I always dry clean everything at the end of a season and put it away in plastic tubs.

      1. Oh wow. I totally get the dislike of layers. I love the feel of the cashmere too but I can’t bear getting a bit of deodorant or anything on my clothes – and yes that means I’ll wash a bra after one wear – I’m one of THOSE people 🤪

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