The best places to buy women's sweaters
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- Even the most ardent wardrobe minimalists will still have a sweater or two in their closet.
- We can't tell you what the objective "best sweater" is, but we can tell you about the best places to shop for them.
- Our favorite places to buy women's sweaters include Everlane, L.L. Bean, and Cuyana, and our guide outlines our top picks from each brand.
It may be a little cliché to call a sweater a wardrobe staple, but in this case, it's true. Even if you're the most ardent wardrobe minimalist who lives in a perpetually warm climate, you likely have at least one sweater in your closet. These cozy toppers are great layering pieces, adding a bit of warmth and comfort to pretty much any outfit.
Sweaters come in a wide variety of fabrics, from wool to cashmere to cotton, and each provides its own benefit and downside. Cashmere, for example, is super soft and tends to last, but it can be expensive to buy and to care for. Cotton, on the other hand, is much sturdier, but might not be as warm as wool. It's probably a good idea to have multiple sweaters in a variety of fabrics and fits, so you can always have one to match whatever dress code, activity level, or climate you may find yourself faced with.
A note on fit
This guide is focused on sweaters that were designed for cisgender women. What the industry calls "women's sweaters" has everything to do with the fit, shape, and style of how these pieces are designed. Sweaters that are designed for women tend to be smaller and less boxy than those designed for men. They typically nip in a bit at the waist and are usually more cropped, or if they're labeled oversized, they tend to have shorter arms. If you're more interested in a boxy, oversized style, you might want to shop for sweaters designed for men.
And if you're talking about button-down sweaters, it's important to note button placement. On men's sweaters, buttons lay on the right. On women's sweaters, they lay on the left. And while experts note that this is a relic of a time when wealthy people didn't dress themselves, there isn't a clear reason as to why fashion companies continue to make this distinction.
Here are the best places to buy sweaters:
- A note on fit
- Here are the best places to buy sweaters:
- M.M. LaFleur
- L.L. Bean
The sweaters you can buy from Everlane are economical and stylish, especially when it comes to typically-pricy cashmere, making them surefire staples in your closet.
Ever since Everlane dropped the prices of its cashmere crewnecks and V-necks to a flat $100, it's been a go-to destination for cute, cozy, and affordable sweaters. The company claims that if the same sweater were sold through traditional retail channels, you'd be paying somewhere in the $215 range, which makes sense when considering the prices of this expensive material elsewhere. Other styles that utilize cashmere are slightly more expensive, but you'll never pay more than $200 for this type of fabric at Everlane.
But just because you're getting a deal doesn't mean you're getting less-than-sterling quality. The brand uses only Grade-A cashmere (grades go from A to C, with A being the best). Grade-A is stronger and doesn't pill as easily. It's also much more resilient when it comes to washing, and doesn't require dry cleaning. Just hand wash them in cold water and lay them out to dry.
Everlane doesn't just do cashmere well, however. The Italian Merino Wool Turtleneck is a chic and classic option, with an oversized neck that doesn't feel scratchy at all. Its silhouette is slim enough to slip under other sweaters, making it a clutch layering piece. The Cotton-Linen Crew, on the other hand, is fantastic for transitional weather, thanks to its light and breezy fabric blend.
The best part is that Everlane doesn't just rest on neutral hues. You'll find sweaters in cream, black, and navy, but also in vibrant mustards and dreamy lavenders. Regardless of the style of sweater that you're looking for, Everlane delivers at a wallet-friendly price point and in a range of sizes.
What to buy:
M.M. LaFleur provides tailored, chic options in a handful of textures and cuts, allowing you to incorporate your sweaters into a variety of looks.
While you may love a slouchy, crewneck sweater most days of the week, some occasions call for something a little more polished and tailored. That's where M.M. LaFleur comes in. The brand is known for its tailored, office-appropriate sweaters that are still cozy enough to wear on the weekends.
One of those pieces is the Morandi Sweater. It's made of a super-soft and machine-washable Merino wool and comes in a trio of neutral hues. The Morandi Sweater boasts a tie waist, which can be wrapped around your middle, tied up behind your back, or left open for a more effortless look. Insider Reviews executive editor Ellen Hoffman calls the Morandi her go-to desk sweater for when the AC is a little too high.
If you prefer a more classic cut, the Sophie Sweater is a near-perfect option. It has a plunging V-neck and loose bell sleeves that create a silhouette that can be dressed up or down. The Sophie is a more cropped style, with the hem sitting just above your hip. This makes it perfect for tucking into pants or skirts — no more dealing with too much fabric bulking up when you try to tuck.
M.M. LaFleur offers up Bundles, where you can choose two or more styles and receive 20% off of your entire purchase. This is useful, considering the brand's cashmere and wool prices are in line with other luxury brands on the market. The majority of their knits are wrinkle-resistant, too, so you can wear them all day long without looking rumpled.
What to buy:
For affordable sweaters that can stand up to the elements, you'll want to go back to the basics with the ever-dependable L.L. Bean.
It's one thing to have a sweater that can stand up to the chill of your office AC. It's another thing altogether to have a sweater that can stand up to the chill of the winter air. And if you're an adventurer looking for the latter, you should be looking to L.L. Bean.
L.L. Bean has long hung its hat on the time-tested quality of its products. Things that you buy from L.L. Bean are designed to last a long time, if not forever. When it comes to L.L. Bean's selection of women's knits, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how extensive and varied their styles are.
The Mixed Cable Sweater is L.L. Bean's essential crewneck, and it's made of premium combed cotton and a mix of cables and stitchwork. It's just fitted enough that it'll keep in your body warmth, but not so fitted that you can't wear something underneath the sweater for extra insulation. And while other knit sweaters often begin to pill after just a few wears, L.L. Bean's yarns are carefully spun to prevent pilling, and the tightness of the knit helps the sweater keep its shape.
Or, there's the Signature Cotton/Linen Ragg Sweater, a decidedly sleek piece. It's super cozy and combines cotton with linen for unrivaled softness and a truly unique texture. Unlike other sweaters, which tend to be a little more cropped, the Cotton/Linen Ragg Sweater sits lower on the hip, making it great to pair with leggings.
L.L. Bean's sweaters are also extremely affordable, with most pieces coming in at well under $100. In other words, this is a great place to stock up on the classics.
What to buy:
Naadam is focused on making cashmere more accessible, so it's a go-to spot for sweaters that won't break the bank.
There are few better additions to your fall wardrobe than a cashmere sweater. And while you may think that such a purchase will cost you a significant proportion of your paycheck, Naadam wants you to think again.
You might think of it as a cashmere-focused version of Everlane. "Naadam's mission is to offer ethical luxury designed for the way you want to live," Naadam cofounder and CEO Matt Scanlan told Business Insider. "Everything we do, from our supply chain to our design, is thoughtful and considered. We blend luxury with sustainability for an audience who knows you should be able to have both at a fair price."And when it comes to the sweater collection, you'll have plenty to choose from.
Naadam separates its clothes based on the type of cashmere used, and whether it's blended with other materials. This variation allows for slightly different styles and levels of softness. For example, on the 100% cashmere front, there's The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater — the piece that put Naadam on the map. It's as classic as a cashmere sweater can get, and comes in a rainbow of hues.
The company also peddles cashmere blends, like the Wool-Blend Drop Shoulder Cowl Neck Hoodie. The hoodie combines cashmere and wool for a cozy sweater/hoodie hybrid will a trendy cowl neck. Or, there's the Cropped Cable Knit Cardigan, a chunky knit that you can wear over a tee or on its own.
Each style comes in a wide variety of colors. And if you're afraid of your sweater being scratchy, don't be. Naadam rates each piece on a softness scale, from "soft" to "heavenly soft," so you always know how it will feel.
What to buy:
For minimalists looking for just one or two pieces to hang onto forever, Cuyana is a great place to start.
Cuyana's goal is to create capsule collections for today's woman by utilizing carefully selected fabrics, classic silhouettes, and distinct attention to detail. The concept is simple: You won't feel the need to buy duplicates if the originals completely serve your purpose. (The brand's philosophy is actually "fewer, better.")
Consequently, Cuyana is extremely careful in selecting its suppliers, leveraging Italian and American craftsmanship, Argentinian leatherwork, Peruvian alpaca wool and pima cotton, Ecuadorian straw, and Turkish cotton-poplin.
The attention to detail is apparent in Cuyana's sweaters, all of which are simple, yet truly beautiful. They're a bit surprising in their silhouettes, and despite being extremely minimalist, are interesting enough to draw eyes. The Alpaca Oversized Sweater is a draped piece that looks like it would be made out of silk, not 100% alpaca wool. While it's oversized, the piece comes in both petite and regular fits.
The Cotton Cashmere Square Neck Rib Sweater is another winner, thanks to its vintage-inspired neckline and beautifully muted hues. The ribbed design adds modernity and comfort, and the hemline hits below the hip. Plus, its slim silhouette makes it easy to tuck into pants and skirts without the bulk.
The social mission of Cuyana is one you can easily get behind, too. With every purchase from the brand, you have the option of adding the "Lean Closet card." If you choose to do so, Cuyana will send you a reusable bag to fill with items that you no longer wear. All donated clothing will be given to women in need via Cuyana's partnership with H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse-Related Trauma).
What to buy:
Uniqlo offers up good-quality sweaters at a budget-friendly price point, making it a go-to place for stocking up on knits.
You may not expect a fast-fashion destination like Uniqlo to offer up quality sweaters, but you'd be surprised. The retailer offers up cashmere and wool sweaters in a variety of styles, and they're all under $100. In other words? Uniqlo is your go-to spot if you want to stock up on some chic basics without emptying your bank account.
Now, it's important to note that Uniqlo sweaters tend to be on the thinner side — but that's to be expected given the price point. So on especially chilly days, it's a good idea to wear these as a layering piece, either with a tee under or cozy topper over your sweater. But that lightweight, thin silhouette has its benefits, too. These sweaters are fantastic transitional pieces and can be worn most of the year whenever the temperatures get a little chilly.
A favorite style is the Women 3D Knit Lambswool-Blend Crew Neck Sweater. It provides the typical neckline of a crewneck, but with oversized balloon sleeves for a modern twist. And the 3D knit gives this topper some seriously cool texture, making it one of the more unique basics you could add to your wardrobe.
Uniqlo also offers up surprisingly soft cashmere pieces, like its Women Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater. It's on the pricier side of the brand's offerings, but it is made out of 100% cashmere, so that price hike is understandable. And the color selection is fantastic, with offerings in everything from classic navy to baby pink.
The brand also thinks a little outside the box for knitwear, too. Case in point: its "coatigan," which is an incredibly soft and warm cross between a coat and cardigan. The Hooded Knitted Coat is a perfect example of this hybrid, with its oversized hood and knee-grazing hem.
What to buy:
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’sInsider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback.Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected]
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