best in class

The 12 Very Best Sweaters for Women

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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 and spoke to stylish women — including designers, stylists, and even our own writers — about their tried-and-true picks. Use the links below 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.

Best overall | Best less expensive | Best cashmere | Best lightweight turtleneck | Best heavyweight turtleneck | Best alpaca | Best two-in-one sweater cardigan | Best cardigan | Best cropped cardigan | Best oversized cardigan | Best fun | Best less expensive fun

What we’re looking for

Material: The sweaters listed are made with a variety of materials, so to help in your search, we’ve listed them. What the sweater’s made of 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.

Weight: 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.

Design details: 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: 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), $$ ($100 to $200), or $$$ (over $200).

Best overall sweater for women

Alpaca fleece, nylon blend | Midweight | Crewneck with oversized fit | $$

Everlane’s cozy alpaca-fleece sweater has been a longtime favorite at the Strategist. Mia Leimkuhler, our senior manager of audience engagement (and self-confessed Everlaneologist), says, “When the temperature drops, I practically live in my oversize alpaca crew sweater. It’s lightweight but still really warm, and the slightly fluffy texture reminds me of the angora sweaters my mom used to wear.” Former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio-Adelson owns two and agrees that it’s both comfy and stylish.

Best less-expensive sweater for women

$27

Linen, rayon blend | Lightweight | Crewneck | $

Caroline McCarthy, co-founder and vice-president of growth at Starday, recommended J.Crew’s linen-blend sweater for “a super-comfortable and easygoing sweater to wear all spring and summer long.” She says it’s “warm enough for chilly nights but lightweight enough for days on the water or at the park” and the fabric is “soft and durable.” At its regular price, it’s an affordable under-$100 pick, but you can snag it now for well under-$50.

Best cashmere sweater

Cashmere | Lightweight | Crewneck | $

When we spoke to stylish folks about the very best cashmere sweaters for women, Naadam’s affordable cashmere sweater was recommended the most. Kate Mullin, director of brand marketing and global communications at Anine Bing, says, “The quality, the color variety, and, best of all, the prices make them one of my favorite places to buy cashmere sweaters.” She prefers its most affordable option, which is $75, made with 100 percent cashmere, comes in 13 core colors and 11 limited-edition colors, and goes up to a size XXL.

Best lightweight turtleneck sweater

Merino wool | Lightweight | Turtleneck with ribbed knit | $

When we spoke to stylish women about their favorite turtlenecks, two mentioned Uniqlo’s extra-fine merino turtlenecks. Leigh Plessner, creative director at Catbird, likes to tuck her turtlenecks under antique slip dresses and nightgowns, so they have to be smoothing and stay in place. Her recommendation does just that. The sleeves are the right length “to show just a bit of wrist and bracelet,” Plessner tells us. And even through countless wears (“with heavy spritzings of rose water in between”), it has held up. The sweater also comes in 13 other shades. Christiana Greene, owner and curator of Bum-Cake Vintage, actually prefers this sweater sans the ribbing. It has been her tried-and-true favorite for the past three winters.

Best heavyweight turtleneck sweater

Alpaca | Heavyweight | Turtleneck, ribbed at the neck and cuffs | $$$

Another pick from our best turtlenecks story comes from Industry of All Nations. Christina Viviani, founder and creative director of luxury lingerie label the Great Eros, stole it from her husband because of its oversize, slouchy look. She likes what she describes as “the attitude of menswear on a woman.” The boxy fit creates a “great profile” and a neck that “slouches in the perfect way,” as “you can leave it up without having to fold down.” The turtleneck is made completely from alpaca from Bolivia.

Best alpaca sweater

$299

Alpaca | Midweight | Crewneck with balloon sleeves | $$$

Lottie Bertello, founder of LOTI, says her favorite sweater is also made from alpaca but from the Peruvian brand Ayni. “The knit structure is so dreamy and I love a delicate balloon sleeve,” Bertello says. Unlike the aforementioned sweater, this one isn’t as heavy and is a bit more breathable, if you’re looking for something more lightweight. Bertello also appreciates that the brand has been dedicated to slow and ethical production from the start.

Best two-in-one sweater and cardigan

Cotton | Midweight | Crewneck with balloon sleeves and buttons | $$

When we spoke to Ingrid Nilson about the things she can’t live without, she turned us onto this Alex Mill sweater. “ It’s so comfortable but looks really, really nice,” she says of her go-to striped sweater. “I like that it can be worn as a crewneck or cardigan, so it’s like two sweaters in one. I wear it so much.” It comes in two classic colorways: the pictured ivory and navy combo and ivory and red.

Best cardigan sweater

Cotton fleece | Heavyweight | Crewneck with snap buttons | $$$

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 over 20 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

Lisa Yang Abby Cashmere Cardigan
$200
$200

Cashmere | Lightweight | V-neck with buttons | $$$

Writer and beauty editor-at-large at Business of Fashion, Rachel Strugatz, is a fan of Lisa Yang’s cashmere cardigans. She now owns three, with her favorite being the gray one pictured. “It’s the perfect amount of boxy, and it’s cropped enough that it hits the top of your pants,” she says. We also found the sweater on Lisa Yang’s site in six other colors, but note that they’re at a much higher price.

Best oversize cardigan sweater

Cotton | Midweight | Crewneck with oversized buttons | $$

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

Yarn and cotton blend | Lightweight | Sheer, cropped fit with color blocked pattern | $$$

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 this multicolored summer knit, 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

Farm Rio Rainbow Pom-Pom Sweater
$110
$110

Wool | Heavyweight | Mockneck with balloon sleeves and multicolored pom poms | $

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.”

Our experts

Mia Leimkuhler, Strategist senior manager of audience engagement
Karen Iorio-Adelson, former Strategist senior writer
Kate Mullin, Anine Bing director of brand marketing and global communications
Nana Castro, fashion and beauty reviewer
Leigh Plessner, creative director at Catbird
Christiana Greene, owner and curator of Bum-Cake Vintage
Christina Viviani, founder and creative director of luxury lingerie label the Great Eros
Lottie Bertello, founder of LOTI
Dani Des Roches, Picnicwear founder
Ingrid Nilson, co-founder of the New Savant
Emilia Petrarca, fashion writer at the Cut
Rachel Strugatz, writer and beauty editor-at-large at Business of Fashion
Hannah Zisman, Bathen co-founder
Brittany Lo, Beia Beauty founder

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The 12 Very Best Sweaters for Women