Every year when the temperature starts dropping below 65 degrees, I tell myself that I’m finally going to suck it up and buy a sweater that is so timeless, so genderless, so classic, so well made that it will last me the rest of my life (or at least several years). But every year I end up picking my way through thrift store bins or in an affordable, fast-ish boutique buying a sweater that is $50 or less that barely makes it through the season. Well, not this year.
I am now the proud owner the Classic Crew Neck Sweater from Frances Austen. It’s cashmere, but not the kind that feels too delicate. It’s sleek, but not modern. In fact, Margaret Coblentz, founder of Frances Austen, built the classic crew “from a sweater I borrowed from my father during high school,” she says. I don’t regret this purchase one bit—and I never will. If you, like me, keep promising yourself an heirloom-quality, last-a-lifetime sweater, it might be time to invest in a piece of woven heaven. These are the ones I’ve had my eye on.
The Classic Crew Sweater by Frances Austen
This sweater is amazing for all of the reasons above, but there’s even more. The Classic Crew is ethically crafted with ISO 14001-certified yarn spun in Italy from Cariaggi, a family-owned-and-run spinner. “What makes it the best is, in part, the length of fiber they use, which averages 38 mm,” Coblentz explains. “That contributes to an extremely low-pill sweater.” The sweaters are then knit at a family-owned knitter in Scotland—Johnstons of Elgin—which hand finishes and steams each one. It is by far the most well-made and ageless piece of clothing in my closet.
Cashmere Weekend V-Neck by Vince
Vince is known for its high-quality, ultra-luxurious cashmere sweaters, which come in a variety of styles, from cardigans to mock turtlenecks. If you’re looking for a sweater that will keep you cozy and warm without adding any bulk, you can’t go wrong with the Cashmere Weekend V-Neck by Vince. This modern take on a classic is made from 100% cashmere and balances its modern lines with almost preppy ribbed cuffs and waistband. It comes in five soft, neutral, go-with-everything colors. One FC editor swears by her Vince cashmere sweaters, which have lasted her for years but still look brand new.
Signature Fisherman’s Sweater by L.L. Bean
The history of the first fisherman’s sweaters is contested, but the classic look of the cable-knit design is not. L.L. Bean’s take on the traditional style features authentic cable designs from the Aran Islands. But while most fisherman’s sweaters are made of wool, this one is made of cotton—so it’s not nearly as bulky or itchy. That means you can wear this sweater in the fall, winter, and spring—instead of just on the coldest days of the year. If you prefer the warmth of traditional wool, L.L. Bean also carries the Heritage Irish version made of 100% wool yarn.
The Cashmere Square Turtleneck by Everlane
If you’re questioning whether or not a sweater from Everlane could be heirloom-quality, just check the more than 1,000 positive reviews that the Cashmere Square Turtleneck has racked up. This sweater has been one FC editor’s number one favorite through five winter seasons–she owns one in light grey and light oatmeal, and rotates them throughout the week. The quality is shockingly good, with small design choices (such as the thoughtful reverse stitching on the cuffs) that keep it chic. It comes in 10 colors and six sizes, so take your pick. Everlane, which is known for its high-quality, low-cost sweaters, also recently dropped a cozy, oversized alpaca cardigan that’s right out of Folklore. (We see you, Swifties.)
Marin Sweater by La Ligne
La Ligne has an outstanding collection of polished knitwear. (This oversized cashmere sweater in bright red could brighten any day.) But the company’s signature sweater, the Marin, hits the perfect notes between chunky and warm, sleek and wearable. It comes in a wool-cashmere blend and 19 different color combinations, but the put-together, almost-nautical stripe pattern is always the same. It’s a modern-day classic. We love the oversize fit, the extra-long ribbed cuffs, and the cozy crew neck (that almost passes for a mock neck).
Naadam Cashmere Hoodie
Yes, a hoodie can be timeless too. Especially if it’s from Naadam. The cashmere company, which buys direct from goat farmers in Mongolia, has sweaters in almost every style imaginable. One standout is this cashmere hoodie, which comes in a classic design and muted colors that won’t go out of style any time soon. According to one FC staffer, who owns the ultra-soft hoodie, it’s like wrapping yourself in a security blanket. The hoodie will take you from day (it’s polished enough to wear to an early-morning Zoom meeting) to night (comfy enough to wear with sweats while demolishing a pint of ice cream in front of the TV). Size up for an even cozier feel.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our other handpicked suggestions.
- Dyson’s air purifier removes 99.7% of pollutants from the air
- The best sustainable brands that you aren’t shopping with yet
- You should invest in a UV sanitizer. Here’s why
- This face mask made by an MIT-founded fashion brand is the best we’ve found yet
- Yale’s most popular online course ever is now available to take for free
Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.