The Search for the Best Affordable 100% Cashmere Sweater

The Search for the Best Affordable 100% Cashmere Sweater

It’s no secret we’re fans of 100% cashmere around here. What guy isn’t, really? At its best, cashmere is super comfortable, super warm, and luxury you can wear and feel all day long. And, if you know where to look, it’s actually a lot more affordable than you might think. We know the winter is drawing to a close, but it’s still a perfect time to buy some cashmere (maybe even at some hefty discounts) so that for the rest of the season, and for next year, you’ll have that cashmere luxury in your life. Here we give you a rundown of a whole bunch of affordable cashmere sweaters, and help you figure out which ones are the best.

(For fit purposes, I am 6’1, 165 lbs., and am wearing a size Small unless otherwise noted.)

Amazon’s ‘Buttoned Down’ Cashmere Sweater — $67.33 - $89.00

A nice, clean cashmere, but nothing to write home about. It is very much in line with the rest of Amazon’s clothing offerings (“Buttoned Down” is one of Amazon’s in-house clothing brands). It’s fine, but nothing amazing. There is something of a scratchiness to the fabric, and it’s a bit of a ways off from that totally luxurious smoothness/softness that good cashmere should be. Fits well enough, though is a bit long in the sleeves and short in the torso, as far as proportions go. It’s reasonably slim, too, but could stand to come in at the waist. In the end, especially at the lower end of the price, this is a solid value in 100% cashmere. Still, we’re big believers in spending a bit more to get something better. If you’re going to jump into the 100% cashmere game, do it right with some better options below. On the other hand, if you’re looking to round out your cashmere collection, you can’t go wrong here. Also available in crewneck.

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H&M’s ‘Premium Quality’ Textured-knit Cashmere Sweater — $59.99 - $79.99

Coming from H&M it certainly makes sense to be weary of something called “premium quality.” But, let me tell you, this thing brings it. Gonna go right ahead and say this now: for the price, I don’t think this sweater can be beat. It comes in a bunch of different colors, has a wonderful and versatile texture on the front (nothing on the back or sleeves), can be worn with or without a shirt beneath it, and fits damn perfectly all-around. Proportions are great, and the slimness is perfectly dialed in. The cashmere is soft and luxurious (and has held up well after a wash cycle), and was just as comfortable as my favorite sweatshirt when worn all-day with no button-down shirt underneath. I love this thing. For the price, it is an absolute steal. I don’t know how H&M pulled this one off, but it’s truly incredible. Still a bunch of sizes and colors at post time, but this thing is moving fast. Get in now while you can.

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Proper Cloth’s Pine Cashmere Crewneck Sweater — $175.00

We’re definitely pushing into the higher price zone here with this one. For a premium cashmere sweater, though, this is not an unheard of price. And, coming from a premium custom shirt manufacturer (that we really liked), it’s to be expected. Which is why I was so disappointed with how this sweater turned out. Proper Cloth states that they used only the finest cashmere from Todd & Duncan, and that they honed the fit to be perfect — slim, but not too slim. In the end, none of this seemed to come through. The fabric was super thin and flimsy-feeling. It also had a scratchiness and stiffness to it more than any of the other sweaters we tested. Plus, the fit was all around much shorter than any other brand we tried. Sizing up to a Medium would have resulted in quite a bit more bagginess around the waist than there already was. As far as fit goes, it could be these were just not made for my body-type. But the feel and richness of the cashmere was simply not there either. It’s not a bad sweater, but for a price more than double some of the other options here, this sweater is simply not worth it. We expected next-level cashmere. What we got was nothing special, and either the same, or even below, some of the other offerings listed here.

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Banana Republic’s Todd & Duncan Cashmere Vee — $198.00

Right off the bat here I can say that I am not sure what BR did so differently here from Proper Cloth, but this Todd & Duncan cashmere is a whole other world. It’s thick, and rich, and textured, and luxurious, and next-level soft. It’s the sort of cashmere that truly feels unlike any other material, and, of all the cashmere we tested, it stands out as being the heftiest and most intensely cashmere. It’s sure to keep you insanely warm on cold winter days. As it’s a v-neck, though, it’s a bit less versatile, and can’t really be worn too well without something underneath. This particular sweater is more of a layering piece than a throw-on. The fit leaves something to be desired with rather long sleeves and a shorter torso, though the sleeves and waist are nice and slim. (We tried going up a size, though then there was a bit too much room, and things were a bit too long. Just not made for tall, slim guys I guess.) At almost $200, this thing is not cheap, but with BR’s typical 40% sales, this can be had for closer to $100. It’s still not cheap, but this is quite the sweater. 

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J Crew’s Everyday cashmere V-neck sweater — $98.00

Leave it to J Crew to deliver really nice cashmere at a reasonable, but not cheap, price. That’s exactly what this is. The “everyday” product name makes perfect sense. This sweater is soft and smooth, and a pleasure to wear. Of all the sweaters we tested, I think this one strikes the best balance between price and “level of cashmere.” It’s so soft and smooth that while there certainly is nicer cashmere on the planet, you won’t have any desire for it. It’s the perfect thickness, and truly luxury-feeling. The fit is pretty great also. While it’s not offered in J Crew’s “slim fit,” it’s still reasonably slim, and very much in line with the cut of the other sweaters here. The sleeves could maybe come in a tad, as could the waist — and I wish, as a taller guy, the torso was a touch longer — but, overall, this is cut pretty well. (We tried a size up, though that made everything too long and roomy.) This sweater is another highly recommended option. Plus, with J Crew’s frequent (nay, incessant) sales, these things can be had for even cheaper than $100. Available in a bunch of colors and a crewneck option too.

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J Crew’s Italian cashmere crewneck — $225

Just gonna go ahead and say it: This is not worth it. Yeah, the fabric is a bit deeper and more interesting to the eye than the “Everyday” cashmere option, but at more than double the price, there is nothing else this sweater offers over it’s cheaper counterpart. It’s not really thicker, and it actually feels a bit scratchier on the body. Skip it. (We tested the “Lightweight” cashmere option as well, which was even more disappointing. I understand the idea to make a cashmere sweater that is not quite as hot as thicker options, but this is just paying more for less cashmere. It was super thin and skimpy-feeling, and fit smaller than the other J Crew sweaters too. Not worth the money. It’s also all but sold out. Go figure.)

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Everlane’s Cashmere Crew — $100

In typical Everlane fashion, they bring you high quality that would cost more than double the price, but, by cutting out the middle man etc etc, they can get that price down to just, in this case, $100 for 100% cashmere. While Everlane likes touting how revolutionary this price is for a 100% cashmere sweater, as you’ve seen from this roundup, I’m not sure quite how true this is. Still, the quality of this cashmere is likely better than the J Crew option, and surely better than the H&M option. This Everlane sweater will probably last you longer, and pill less (or not at all) over time, but it’s not like it’s thicker or smoother than the other options. It’s really the same in those regards. It’s not too thick or too thin, and wears really nicely with or without a shirt beneath it. The fit is also pretty perfect, and is the ideal level of slimness (and all the proportions are done well too) in my opinion. It comes in some pretty unique colors and patterns too that you don’t usually see at this price. Don’t expect a sale, here, though. The $100 price is what it is. With that in mind, it’s a tough call between this sweater and the one from J Crew. If you can snag the J Crew “Everyday Cashmere” option for significantly less than $100, I say go with J Crew. Otherwise, Everlane’s offering is an excellent, near-perfect foray into the world of 100% cashmere sweaters.

Conclusion

To conclude, then, it’s clear that there are a whole bunch of really great options out there for affordable cashmere sweaters — more than most guys might be aware of. Wait for the right sale, or buy at the end of a season (like now), and you can get some really incredible cashmere sweaters and even more incredible prices. There is nothing quite like a 100% cashmere sweater as far as sweaters go. Every guy should own at least one, and we think, in no particular order, any of the following are great options:

  1. H&M’s ‘Premium Quality’ Textured-knit Cashmere Sweater — $59.99 - $79.99
  2. J Crew’s Everyday cashmere V-neck sweater — $98.00 (or less when on sale)
  3. Everlane’s Cashmere Crew — $100
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