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No wardrobe is complete without at least one dependable sweater — one that can be worn year after year while holding up and staying in fashion. But with many options, it’s overwhelming to know which to pick. So, to help, we combed through our archives, spoke to stylish women – including designers, stylists, and even our own writers – about their tried-and-true picks, and tested some out for ourselves. Use the table of contents to jump right to the type of sweater you’re looking for, or read on to learn more about the criteria we considered as we put together this list.
What we’re looking for
In our search for the best, we’re looking for sweaters with an inclusive range of sizing options. We’ve noted here if sweaters come in petite or plus-size as well.
The sweaters listed are made with a variety of materials, so to help in your search, we’ve listed them. Depending on what the sweater’s made of, it will affect the weight and price of the sweater. Natural fibers like cashmere and alpaca are on the more expensive side, while other blended materials may be more affordable.
If you’re buying a sweater to keep you warm in the winter, you’ll want a heavy sweater to do the job. However, if you want something you can wear into spring and maybe even summer, go for a lightweight sweater.
While most of our picks are neutral colors and classic cuts, like crew necks and turtlenecks, we also included options with bolder designs and patterns.
Price comes down to what materials the sweater is made out of. We’ve included a range of worth-it sweaters and affordable options that don’t sacrifice quality. We denoted the recommendations below as either $ (under $100), $$ ($100–$200), or $$$ (over $200).
Best overall sweater for women
Sizing: XS to XXL | Material: Cotton | Weight: Midweight | Design details: Crewneck with balloon sleeves and buttons | Price: $$
Alex Mill, known for its high-quality wardrobe basics, unsurprisingly makes very good sweaters. But of all of them, the best-value option is this two-in-one sweater and cardigan, which counts Ingrid Nilson as a fan. I’ve had mine for about two months now, and it’s become one of my most-worn pieces because of its versatility. On chillier days, I layer it over a thin turtleneck or my Uniqlo Heattech, and on warmer days, I unbutton it and wear it as a cardigan over tees. The 100 percent cotton yarn has substantial weight to it without feeling stuffy, and it has a slightly oversize fit with balloon sleeves that make it perfect for layering. It comes in five solid colors — navy, ecru, khaki, blue, and red — and two striped options.
Best pullover sweater for women
Sizing: XXS to XXXL | Material: 58% Alpaca, 34% partially recycled nylon , 8% Merino Wool | Weight: Lightweight | Design details: Crewneck with oversized fit | Price: $$
If you’re looking for a less expensive straightforward pullover sweater, go for Everlane’s cozy alpaca-fleece sweater. The longtime favorite is “lightweight but still really warm, and the slightly fluffy texture reminds me of the angora sweaters my mom used to wear,” says Mia Leimkuhler, our senior manager of audience engagement (and self-confessed Everlaneologist). I also own this sweater and love its fuzzy look and feel. It feels a bit trendy, but its classic cut makes it a piece I can see myself wearing for years. Compared to the Alex Mill, it’s definitely breezier, but it’s incredibly easy to layer with because of its oversize fit. And I can see myself wearing it through spring. It comes in nine colors and sizes XXS to XXXL, so it’s more size-inclusive than the above.
Best cashmere sweater
Sizing: XXS to XXL | Material: Cashmere | Weight: Lightweight | Design details: Crewneck | Price: $
Naadam offers good-quality cashmere at an affordable price. It offers a wide selection of 100 percent cashmere sweaters, including turtlenecks, mock-necks, cardigans, and more. Its best-selling product, the Essential, comes at just $75 and is a classic crewneck. I’ve had mine for two months now, and it’s gotten plenty of wear. It is subject to pilling, but it’s nothing a cashmere depiller can’t handle. It’s soft without being mushy, but does have a slight slickness to it. Kate Mullin, director of brand marketing and global communications at Anine Bing, loves the brand for “the quality, the color variety, and, best of all, the prices.” The Essential comes in 18 colors and sizes XXS to XXL.
Best cable-knit sweater
Sizes: XS to XXXL with petite options | Material: Cotton | Weight: Midweight | Design details: Crewneck with cable knit | Price: $
L.L.Bean is the classic choice if you want a traditional cable-knit sweater. The brand’s is made entirely of machine-washable organic cotton and is affordably priced under $100. I’ve worn mine mostly layered with a white tee shirt, because you can barely see through the knitting. If I’m wanting to lean more into the prep aesthetic, it has enough room to layer with a button-up, too. While it has some heft to it, the cotton is much lighter than other wool cable-knit sweaters I’ve had in the past and is pleasantly breathable. It comes in a wide range of sizes, including plus and petite options, and five colors, two of which are slightly discounted.
Best alpaca sweater
Sizes: S–L | Material: 96% alpaca, 4% polyamide | Weight: Lightweight Design details: Crewneck with balloon sleeves | Price: $$$
Lottie Bertello, founder of upcycling design studio LOTI, says her favorite sweater is made from alpaca but from the Peruvian brand Ayni. “The knit structure is so dreamy and I love a delicate balloon sleeve,” Bertello says. It’s lightweight and breathable, making it a good choice for transitioning into spring. Bertello also appreciates that the brand has been dedicated to slow and ethical production from the start. The sweater comes five colorways: light green, black, light pink, clay, and a multicolored pastel.
Best turtleneck sweater
Sizes: XXS–XXL | Material: Cotton and elastane | Weight: Lightweight Design details: Fitted with a ribbed knit and exposed seams | Price: $
When Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla sought out the best black turtlenecks for women, Everlane’s ribbed turtleneck was popular among experts. Strategist kitchen-and-dining writer Emma Wartzman describes its fit as “tight enough that it doesn’t bunch up underneath things — it really hugs your skin — but not, like Uniqlo Heattech-tight.” Gabrielle Arruda, a fashion designer who also runs her own namesake style blog, is another fan and buys the turtleneck “each season, just because I know I’ll get so much use out of them.” It’s available in sizes XXS to XXL and in six solid colors and two striped options.
Best oversize turtleneck sweater
Sizes: One size | Material: Wool | Weight: Heavyweight | Design details: Oversized with a ribbed neck and dropped sleeve | Price: $$$
Spanish brand Babaà is known for its high-quality fabrics and distinctive silhouettes. I was able to try out its Jumper No17, one of the brand’s best sellers, myself. It’s incredibly warm and substantial with slightly more weight than Alex Mill’s Button-Back Sweater. MEUS boutique owner Marichelle Hills, a source for the black turtleneck sweater, says hers “literally feels like a hug,” as the wool the company uses gets softer as you wear it, “so it’s meant to be worn forever and ever.” It comes in 13 different shades, including neutrals and more eye-popping options like the “olivera” pictured. Note if you’re petite: This sweater comes in only one size option and is meant to be oversize, so be sure to double-check the measurements listed on the site.
Best cardigan sweater
Sizes: 1-6 | Material: Cotton fleece | Weight: Heavyweight | Design details: Crewneck with snap buttons | Price: $$$
Agnès B.’s cardigans have gained a cult status. So much so that the Cut’s fashion writer Emilia Petrarca called them the “Chanel tweed jacket of New York” back in March 2020. Former and current Strategist writers alike own it in different colors and cuts. We chose the Le Classique as the overall best cardigan sweater (over the Le Petite and the Rosana) because, as its name gives away, it has a classic straight-and-square cut that’s the most versatile of the styles and is available in 18 colors. As New York’s features editor Katy Schneider puts it, “I hate to say these words, but this sweater is the answer to ‘How do I dress like a French girl?’”
Best cropped cardigan sweater
Sizes: 0-2 | Material: Cashmere | Weight: Lightweight | Design details: V-neck with buttons | Price: $$
Writer and beauty editor-at-large at Business of Fashion, Rachel Strugatz, is a fan of Lisa Yang’s V-neck button-up cashmere cardigans. She now owns three, with her favorite being the gray one. “It’s the perfect amount of boxy, and it’s cropped enough that it hits the top of your pants,” she says. It’s often on sale at SSENSE, but sizing and colorways can be limited. If you’re looking for a larger stock, Lisa Yang’s site has more options, but note that they’re at a much higher price. It comes in three sizes: 0 (XS), 1 (S-M), and 2 (M-L).
Best oversize cardigan sweater
Sizes: XS-XXL | Material: Cotton | Weight: Midweight | Design details: Crewneck with oversized buttons | Price: $$
Another Alex Mill cardigan on our radars is this chunky, oversize option. Bathen co-founder Hannah Zisman has it in the pictured golden khaki colorway and says it “goes with anything — neutrals, brights, you name it.” Embracing the oversize look, Zisman sized up and loves “throwing it over a dress or linen set during cooler summer nights when I need a stylish extra layer,” she says.
Best fun sweater
Sizes: XS-L | Material: 75% cotton, 16% wool, 9% recycled cashmere | Weight: Lightweight | Design details: Striped funnel turtleneck with contrast embroidery stitching and logo| Price: $$$
Two stylish folks we spoke to mentioned the Hong Kong–based knitwear company YanYan for sweaters that veer from the traditional crewneck cuts or basic colors. Bertello likes their multicolored summer knits, describing the details as “so unique and captivating, they almost remind me of a vintage garment.” Dani Des Roches, another fan of the brand and self-proclaimed “knitwear obsessive,” loves their statement sweaters. “Some people would go for a classic or simple garment, but one of YanYan’s multicolored and textured sweaters would have the most longevity in my closet,” she says, noting that her personal favorite is their Curious Cardigan.
Best less-expensive fun sweater
Sizes: XS-XL | Material: 76% acrylic 20% polyester 4% elastane Weight: Midweight | Design details: Cardigan with balloon sleeves and multicolored pom poms| Price: $$
Brittany Lo, founder of Beia, also loves “sweaters that keep you warm while also spicing up your outfit” since she tends to “get lazy with my outfits in the colder months because my number one priority is warmth.” Her Farm Rio sweater is both stylish, functional, and versatile enough to wear to the office and dinner after work, she says. After three years of owning the sweater, it only has minor pilling but “still looks great.” While the exact sweater Lo recommended is currently out of stock, we did find this similar cardigan with the same multicolored pom-poms and happens to be on sale.
Some more women's sweaters we've written about
• Lottie Bertello, founder of LOTI
• Nana Castro, fashion and beauty reviewer
• Christiana Greene, owner and curator of Bum-Cake Vintage
• Karen Iorio-Adelson, former Strategist senior writer
• Mia Leimkuhler, Strategist senior manager of audience engagement
• Brittany Lo, Beia Beauty founder
• Kate Mullin, Anine Bing director of brand marketing and global communications
• Ingrid Nilson, co-founder of the New Savant
• Leigh Plessner, creative director at Catbird
• Dani Des Roches, Picnicwear founder
• Emilia Petrarca, fashion writer at the Cut
• Rachel Strugatz, writer and beauty editor-at-large at Business of Fashion
• Christina Viviani, founder and creative director of luxury lingerie label the Great Eros
• Hannah Zisman, Bathen co-founder
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