I pretty much live in cashmere sweaters (and jeans) in the fall/winter seasons, so I’ve tried A LOT of them. Today I’m rounding up the best cashmere sweaters I’ve tried and why I recommend them.
This is also a really good time to snag an investment sweater or two because there will be a lot of sales as the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend approaches.
I often get asked about the difference between various brands and price points, so I’m doing this post a little differently this year and comparing some of the best cashmere in similar styles and colors at different price points.
If you’re looking to update your cashmere this fall, I hope this post helps you decide which is best for you. But first . . .
What is Cashmere, and why is it so expensive?
Cashmere is a type of wool made from cashmere goats and pashmina goats that is characterized by its very fine, silky fibers. It’s expensive because of the complicated production and manufacturing process, where the fibers are separated by hand from the molted coats of goats.
The reason the cost of cashmere varies so much across different brands is largely due to the two different ways the wool is gathered — by combing or by shearing. Combing the goats’ coats with a comb yields less coarse hair, and thus a higher quality cashmere. Shearing results in more of a rough overcoat and shorter fibers, and this yields lower quality cashmere that is not as soft as the combed wool. It’s also more prone to more pilling due to the shorter fibers.
In light of all of that, and taking into consideration the quality of workmanship as well as the location and working conditions of the factory where the garments are manufactured, the cost of a cashmere sweater can run the gamut from as low as $50 to upwards of $500.
Jenni Kayne vs. Quince: Cashmere Fisherman Sweater
I’ve been getting tons of questions recently about Quince cashmere and how it compares with the pricier luxury brands, such as Jenni Kayne.
Jenni Kayne Cashmere Fisherman Sweater // Fidelity Denim // Steve Madden flats
In case you aren’t familiar with these brands, Quince is a company with a mission to provide high quality essentials at radically low prices by using a factory-direct model that cuts out the supply-chain middlemen. Jenni Kayne is a luxury California lifestyle brand known for timeless basics in luxe fabrics with a focus on simplicity and attention to detail. Both brands are transparent about where they source their textiles and strive to support sustainable and ethical business practices.
I have the Jenni Kayne Cashmere Fisherman Sweater in the ivory from last year, and I like it so much that I just ordered the grey when they were having an early Black Friday Sale. The quality, fit, and attention to detail is on point; but it also wields a hefty price tag at $395.
Since Quince also has a Cashmere Fisherman Sweater at the bargain basement price of $89, I decided to order it in both colors to compare to the Jenni Kayne.
Jenni Kayne ($395) // Quince ($89.50)
At first, the similarities in these two sweaters are striking. As far as the knit goes, both are very soft and about the same density, but the Quince feels a tiny bit nubbier when you feel it with your hand. You would only really notice this if you put them side by side.
The Quince also has a thicker, chunkier “collar” whereas the Jenni Kayne’s is a little more minimalistic and refined. These are minor details, but they do make a difference. I much prefer the neckline of the Jenni Kayne.
The color differences are interesting, though. The difference in the grey sweaters is nominal, but the difference in the ivory sweaters is much more noticeable. The Jenni Kayne is a much prettier winter white, whereas the Quince has a yellow cast to it, as you can see here.
Jenni Kayne ($395) // Quince ($89.50)
The biggest difference, however, is in the fit. The Jenni Kayne in the small fits me perfectly, but the Quince in small is a tad shorter and feels a bit skimpy. It still fits well in arms and shoulders and body, though.
Jenni Kayne size S ($395) // Quince size S ($89.50)
Knowing from experience that Quince can run a bit small, I ordered the grey Quince in the medium. The grey Jenni Kayne is a small.
The Quince in the medium is quite a bit longer than the Jenni Kayne in the small — almost too long for me. The sleeves are too long as well, so I think the Quince medium is too big for me overall, but I feel like the small looks skimpy. The Jenni Kayne in the small is just right.
Jenni Kayne size S ($395) // Quince size M ($89.50)
For the difference in price, the Quince seems to be a better value overall, although the concept of value really is a very personal thing.
When it comes to the ivory sweaters, I definitely prefer the Jenni Kayne, both for the fit and the color. But when it comes to the grey, it’s a tougher decision. I could exchange the Quince medium for the small and overlook the minor differences in fit, but I also don’t care for that thicker collar, so I’m leaning towards keeping the Jenni Kayne. I know I will wear it a ton, and the cost per wear will work itself out.
That said, I have no reservations whatsoever recommending the Quince. It is a solid choice overall, and an excellent value for the price point.
Vince vs. Nordstrom: Cashmere V-Neck Sweater
This time we’re comparing the Vince Weekend V-Neck Cashmere Sweater ($325) to the Nordstrom Essential V-neck Sweater that is regularly $129, but currently on sale for $89.50.
Vince is a brand known for elevated essentials, and it’s one of my favorite brands for luxury label cashmere sweaters, among other things!
The Vince Weekend V-Neck is one of the regulars in their lineup, and it’s been around for years. I grabbed my grey one for something like 60% off during those huge sales in the spring of 2020, and I added the black one to my closet during an end-of-season sale last spring.
The Nordstrom Cashmere Essential V-Neck used to be under the Halogen label, and from anything I can tell, it’s the same sweater. They also do a classic crewneck and a turtleneck, and I’ve had several of each of these in various colors over the years.
Vince Weekend V-Neck ($325; on sale at Zappos) // Nordstrom Essential V-Neck ($129; on sale for $89)
The difference in quality and fit between these two sweaters is pretty obvious, I think even from the pictures below. Both are soft enough, but the Vince is thicker and a denser knit, and the cut is more generous overall. It has a much more luxe look and feel. And keep in mind, mine is in its third year and still going strong. I wear it often, and there isn’t even really any pilling to speak of.
The Nordstrom Essential V-Neck, on the other hand, is so thin it’s practically see-through. I’ve had a few of them over the years for blog features, and I usually end up passing them on at the end of the season because they start to look tired and they pill easily.
Vince size S ($325; on sale at Zappos) // Nordstrom size S ($129; on sale for $89)
That said, both sweaters feel good on and have a classic fit and come in a wide array of colors. It’s just a matter of how much you value the higher quality and the more relaxed fit of the Vince, and whether or not you’re bothered by the see-through aspect of the Nordstrom sweater.
If you want longevity and durability, the cost per wear for the Vince (especially if you can snag one on sale, which is how I’ve purchased both of mine) is well worth the wait. But if you want something right away to enjoy for the season, the Nordstrom version is on sale for $89.90. That’s hard to beat!
Actually, the Quince cashmere v-neck may have it beat. It’s $50, and if it’s anything like the cashmere fisherman sweater, it’s a major contender in this category. I wish I’d ordered one to try for this post, but I did try their cashmere crewneck for last year’s cashmere sweater reviews.
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater ($50) // Agolde jeans (28) // Vince camuto loafers (8)
This is what I had to say about it:
The knit isn’t as plush and soft as some, but it has a classic fit and comes in a good variety of colors. There isn’t a lot of extra room through the body or in the length, so if you want a more relaxed fit, I recommend sizing up.
And in this category, another solid option is the Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater. I’ve had quite a few pieces of Naadam cashmere over the years, and I’m always very pleased. They do a mix of lower end and higher end pieces, and even their lower priced pieces are nicer than most in the same price range, but their higher end cashmere is in a class of its own. So thick and luxe and soft. I wish my favorites were still in stock.
This essential $75 crewneck is a really nice basic and probably the best bang for your buck in the under $100 cashmere lineup.
Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater (S) // Agolde jeans (28) // Vince camuto loafers (8)
This is what I had to say about this one:
This sweater is much more plush and soft than the Quince, and it also has a little more wiggle room in the body and sleeves, but it’s still a classic cut. I also like this shade of oatmeal better than the Quince. It also comes in tons of colors. For $75, it’s an excellent value.
Sorry, I got derailed a bit there! I should have probably put these two sweaters in their own comparison category, but let’s move on . . .
Vince vs. Nordstrom Signature: V-Neck Cashmere Sweater
Next up, I’m comparing the same Vince Weekend V-Neck Cashmere Sweater ($325) in the black to the Nordstrom Signature Cashmere V-Neck ($199).
Nordstrom Signature is Nordstrom’s in-house luxury brand that’s generally comparable in quality to Vince, but the full retail price is usually quite a bit lower because you aren’t paying for the brand name.
I often say Nordstrom Signature gives you the best bang for your buck in the luxury cashmere category. The knits are typically very thick and luxe, but the styles are usually longer and more relaxed than what I prefer. This sweater is case in point.
Vince ($325; on sale at Zappos) // Nordstrom Signature ($199)
Both of these sweaters are high quality knits, and if anything, the Nordstrom Signature is a little softer and thicker than the Vince, but I don’t care for the drop shoulder and the oversized styling. It also has a narrower v-neck, and given a choice, I prefer the shape of the Vince Weekend neckline.
Vince ($325; on sale at Zappos) // Nordstrom Signature ($199)
Since I already have the Vince, I won’t be keeping the Nordstrom Signature, but it’s a gorgeous sweater, and I highly recommend it if you like the styling. It also comes in a bold pink, and they have a crewneck version in camel and lilac. These sweaters do go on sale occasionally, too, so keep an eye out for that!
Equipment vs. Banana Republic Factory: V-Neck Sweater
Finally, I want to compare the Equipment Madalene Cashmere V-Neck Sweater with the Banana Republic Factory Essential Sweater. This pairing isn’t a cashmere comparison because the Banana Republic Factory Essential Sweater is 70% acrylic, 30% nylon, but the styling of these two sweaters is so similar, I had to show them to you!
Equipment is a French brand with a focus on classic minimalism, chic nonchalance, sophistication, etc. I discovered them when I splurged on their grey cashmere turtleneck when I found it on sale three or four years ago. I still own it and wear often.
Then late last winter, I found their Madalene cashmere v-neck. I love it for the subtle details that make it a little more special than your classic v-neck, and the raglan sleeves are a huge plus! I also love the 24″ length — a little shorter than the Vince Weekend V-Neck, so easier to wear untucked when I want to.
I purchased the camel last year, and I just picked up this grey one on sale at Bloomingdale’s a few weeks ago.
Equipment Madalene Cashmere V-Neck Sweater ($295; gift card offer at Bloomies)
The Equipment v-neck isn’t quite as soft as the Vince and Nordstrom Signature v-necks, and I notice it pills more easily, but I can easily keep up with it with my fabric shaver. The same is not true for the turtleneck, which is still amazingly soft with very little pilling three years in. I have to assume they’ve changed manufacturers somewhere along the way.
As you can see in the pictures below, the Banana Republic Factory Essential Sweater is remarkably similar in design to the Equipment Madalene, right down to the raglan sleeves and thicker banded waistband. But it’s much more of a warm camel color, and I love the cooler tones in the Equipment sweater.
Equipment Madalene size S ($295; gift card offer at Bloomies) // Banana Republic Factory size S ($65; on sale for $32.50)
My takeaway here is basically this: If you want the look of the Equipment sweater and don’t care about cashmere, the BR Factory is a great choice as long as you don’t mind the warmer color tone. It also comes in black, navy, and ivory.
Equipment vs. Quince: Cashmere Turtleneck
I don’t have the same nifty side-by-side flat lay picture for this combo because I found these pictures in an old post, but it’s another really good example of a luxury brand vs. a more cost-conscious brand.
I’d say the The Quince cashmere turtleneck 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.
Equipment Oscar (current version: Equipment Delafine Cashmere Turtleneck; also on sale at Zappos & at Bloomies) // Quince Cashmere Turtleneck size S ($79)
Mine is the Equipment Oscar Turtleneck, which has been discontinued and replaced with the Delafine. This Equipment turtleneck is one of my all-time favorite sweaters. 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.
And I love how generous they are 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. It layers beautifully under jackets and vests, but it also stands alone nicely when you just want a simple, classic cashmere turtleneck.
I’m wearing it here, in one of my favorite photos of all time!
And that’s where I’m going to end this post! I have tried other brands over the years, but these are the major players in my wardrobe right now that are still available, and I think it gives you a nice assortment of styles and price points to choose from.
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photos: Alison Cornell
41 thoughts on “The Best Cashmere Sweaters: Review & Comparison Fall 2022”
I purchased 2 Vneck Quince cashmere sweaters last fall. The first one (navy) was plush and soft, so I ordered another one (fuchsia). The difference was very noticeable. The plush softness was gone. It felt rather harsh and itchy. The lag time between the orders was only a week. So if you get a good one, it’s a lovely bargain. Otherwise…not.
Interesting! I hadn’t heard anything about them being inconsistent before.
Cashmere is my jam. My mother taught me to appreciate cashmere when I was in high school and about 75% of my sweaters have been cashmere ever since. I definitely find that some cheaper brands will pill over time. I agree, that Vince cashmere is gorgeous. I have a few Vince sweaters and LOVE them
Thank you for this post! Is the Zappos price the best you have seen for the Vince weekend sweater? Also, what is the best sale price you have seen on the JK fisherman sweater? Gorgeous sweaters, would love to have patience and purchase at the best price. 🙂
30% is about as low as the Vince Weekend V-Neck ever goes in the basic neutral colors. Jenni Kayne seems to do 20% off a few times a year. Haven’t seen it any lower that I recall.
What is the best price point you have seen for both the Vince weekend and JK fisherman sweaters? Thanks!
Sorry, computer issues (it is Monday, right!?). This is a duplicate question to above.
I love this post and how it was done. Living in a warmer climate, I don’t gravitate to sweaters but I do like good quality items for chilly evenings. This really made my shopping easier. Thanks for the info!
This is so helpful! Seeing the different options next to each other allows for a great comparison of color and fit. I agree that Vince is worth the extra spend for quality of the wool and the styling, and they often go on sale at some point during the season. The one inconsistency I’ve had is in sizing. Do you usually wear a Small or XS with Vince?
Always a small in Vince sweaters.
Great post and very helpful in the decision making process. I’m curious where Naadam fits in your cashmere thoughts and opinions.
I find them inconsistent but generally very good. Sone are thinner than others and the price point varies based on that. 2 of my 3 favorites have been discontinued but I love this boatneck. https://shopstyle.it/l/bNVQ0
Even though I don’t wear cashmere, this was a very good post! I definitely learned a few things and I could see the differences in some of them. Thank you for doing the research and sharing great comparisons.
Great post. I really enjoyed the first part where you explained what Cashmere was and how its produced. Interesting. I can’t wear anything with wool, as I immediately itch. 🙁 I love the look of all these sweaters. You really put a lot of time into this post and its shows.
This is a great post. There are so many cashmere options and it’s hard to know what to buy. I usually think if it’s more expensive it must be better, but I know that’s not the case. I’ve purchased 2 Naadam sweaters in the past and I love them. I think they’re similar to Quince in price for a basic sweater, but Naadam can get pretty pricey too.
Yeah Naadam seems to do some higher end and sone lower end. Their higher end stuff is divine.
True. I hadn’t thought about it.
It’s interesting how widely available cashmere has become and at so many price points. I don’t remember this being a thing back in my youth in the 1980s-90s. Conversely, wool seems to have become an endangered species! I remember it being pretty easy to find 100% wool sweaters for affordable prices in the early and mid 2000s, but they seem to have disappeared. I wonder why this is?
I wonder if it’s because so many people complain of the itchiness of wool.
thank you for this post! i can see the subtle differences and the price points are very different. you did a great job Jolynne.
Thanks JLS! This cashmere evaluation is fantastic- one of my all time favorites. I love cashmere in the cold months and am looking at some of your suggestions now.
Thanks for the great explanation of the difference in quality of cashmere! I love my Jenni Kayne cashmere fisherman sweaters (ivory and grey). I’m also a big fan of the Nordstrom Signature cashmere sweaters for their thickness and great quality and actually prefer the slightly oversized look. I’ve found that my Jenni Kayne and Nordstrom Signature stand the test of time. Great post!
What a fantastic post!!! I’m looking at cashmere for my Christmas present to myself…
What an informative and helpful post! Thank you! I live in Georgia so the lighter weight/thinner cashmere is actually a plus in my book. But I want it to be very soft and not pill too much. I recently purchased cashmere from Reformation based on the recommendation from a friend. It was heavenly soft right out of the box and is a thin to medium weight. I just washed it and plan to wear it for the first time this weekend as we are expecting a cold front! But I am going to keep an eye on the Jenni Kayne fisherman sweater to see if I can grab it on sale. I love that style!
Yes, I have a Reformation sweater I like a lot from last year – or maybe 2 years ago. It’s verrrrry soft and thinner than some, but not in a bad way. It’s still a densely woven knit.
I love cashmere sweaters but don’t enjoy the time it takes to wash them. Do you have any tips for care of cashmere? Thanks
I dry clean mine a couple times a year.
This is a great post! Thanks for sharing! I always go to you for my cashmere sweater recommendations. I recently purchased the Nordstrom signature during the anniversary sale and although I’ve only worn it twice, I’ve definitely noticed the better quality. No pilling or stretching! I have quite a few halogen and aqua cashmere sweaters and don’t reach for them at all anymore. I also have one Naadam from last winter that I really like. I might have to splurge and get the Vince while it’s on sale! Thanks again!
Yes, Naadam and Nordstrom Signature are my favorites for dense, soft knits. Vince does it sometimes, but not all of theirs are as thick as what I like.
Hi! I loved the format of this post. I love that you help me be an informed shopper in helping me decide how I’m going to spend my hard earned dollars! I agree, it’s always wise to factor in cost per wear on any item. I also think you look amazing in black. Your cool coloring really lets you shine in black and grey. I’m a warm undertone, so I’ve really been enjoying all the options for browns, chocolate, camels and ivory this season. It’s nice to see those warm tone options in investment pieces this season. I haven’t shopped hardly at all the last few seasons because there just wasn’t much to pick from for my colors, but I’m making it for it now! I’m glad fashion changes a bit every few years so we all have a chance to find things we love. Thanks for a great post!
Do you know anything about Garnet Hill cashmere and which of the brands it would be comparable to?
I haven’t tried it, sorry!
How do you store your sweaters? During the season & after the season?
I fold and stack on shelves in my closet and then store in these mesh bins in the basement during the off-season. https://shopstyle.it/l/bN0vR
A bit behind on emails but thank you for this very honest review, great information
Thanks for all the great info. I now own several cashmere sweaters thanks to your influence. 😃 I have noticed that many pill with regular wear. I ordered the Vince green cable sweater from rack and was surprised how much it shed and pilled by the end of the day. Have you worn the green sweater for an extended time, or just photo shoots? Is this something I should expect from expensive brands? Thanks if you get the chance to reply. I know you have lots of questions.
Do you mean this one? https://shopstyle.it/l/bN637
If so, I kept it but haven’t worn it yet. It hasn’t been quite cold enough here yet. All knits pill eventually but higher end brands are usually better. This one is mostly wool, so I’m surprised it’s doing that so soon. Typically I don’t have issues with Vince.
Yes. That’s the one. I’m in Alaska, so I’ve already has lots of sweater weather this season. I’ll be curious when you wear it if you think the same thing. Thanks for the reply. 😃
Informative post but could you just give us a brief summary also? You know like, Thickest, Softest, Light weight, Best buy, Highest quality in a list form? It would be incredibly helpful as I’m still a bit confused as to what to purchase.
You’ve done an excellent job of comparing the brands, although I would have liked info on how the sweaters felt on your skin. Any itchiness?
Great information. I love cashmere sweaters!
How do you take care of them? Do you brush them every time you wear them? If so, which brush do you use?