Good resources for stylish yet sturdy sweaters?
October 22, 2011 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm doing some winter wardrobe shopping and I'd like to upgrade my sweaters - last time I shopped for sweaters was 10 years ago or so. Most of the sweaters I'm seeing at the usual garden-variety shops (LL Bean, Land's End, J. Crew, etc. all seem to have the same boring patterns and drab colors, or aren't functional - e.g. too thin and not ideal for cold climates. I even checked Etsy to see if there were more interesting sweaters there but nothing jumped out at me. Who are the good sweater shops? I'm going to have to learn to knit, aren't I?
posted by matrushka to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Are you male or female?
posted by desjardins at 7:36 AM on October 22, 2011

Oi polloi is great for men

Uniqlo do a wide range of colours in lambswool and cashmere.

asos do a massive variety
posted by the_epicurean at 7:59 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

How about a department store like Macy's or Lord & Taylor? They usually have a wider variety and don't only cater to what's trendy, like thin sweaters that you need to layer over other things. I don't like those either.
posted by wondermouse at 8:04 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree: It's a problem finding good sweaters for cold climates these days. You might try some Irish exporters; I had a beautiful Aran sweater for years that was very warm, but not very bulky. I just found Aran Sweater Market and Aran Crafts, whose prices are in line with J. Crew et al. and I think you'll find some sweater weights that are practical for northern winters.

Try your local consignment and thrift stores, too, but make sure you dry-clean whatever you buy immediately, especially if it is a natural fiber of the kind that bugs like to munch.

If all else fails: long underwear, preferably silk. Adds warmth without bulk.
posted by Currer Belfry at 8:07 AM on October 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

Consider seeking out sweaters knit with alpaca yarn; better warmth by weight than wool or cashmere (the fibers are hollow core and highly insulating), and the fiber has a luxurious feel. Peruvian Connection has some gorgeous sweaters (I have a few and covet having many more, since I wear mostly sweaters for up to six months of the year), though their men's collection is limited this season (you might look for more on eBay). Sierra Trading Post usually has a few alpaca sweaters. In addition, Alpaca Direct has recently been recommended to me, and it looks like they have some nice offerings at decent prices, but I have not made a purchase there -- yet.
posted by vers at 8:25 AM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm female.
posted by matrushka at 8:33 AM on October 22, 2011

posted by superfish at 9:01 AM on October 22, 2011 [5 favorites] often has cool sweaters.
posted by futz at 9:07 AM on October 22, 2011

Anthropologie. Or, better yet, Anthropologie on sale.
posted by hmo at 9:10 AM on October 22, 2011

I think a good Icelandic or Norwegian sweater is worth investing in. I got my wool Dale of Norway sweater three years ago and it's gotten me through some tough winters in the polar climes. And it's gorgeous and people compliment me on it all the time. I got a second one on ebay for much cheaper too.
posted by melissam at 9:14 AM on October 22, 2011

Do you have a Filene's Basement or a Nordstrom Rack where you live? I've picked up some really great sweaters from there for not too much money. The selection is hit-or-miss, but this time of year they should have some really good cold-weather stuff.
posted by phunniemee at 9:20 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Coldwater Creek?
posted by patheral at 9:55 AM on October 22, 2011

OP, just to check - are you resident in the US at the moment, or do you still live where your profile indicates?

Also: thank you, superfish! I have the same problem as the OP, in spades, and woolovers looks like an excellent solution for about-to-be-UK-resident me. They even have a factory shop in a place reachable by train.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:55 AM on October 22, 2011 has several sweaters that are not just warm and wool and stylish but also lined in fleece, which is super duper awesome and warm.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 10:01 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The best sweater I hav ever owned (by a country mile) comes from Danish brand sns-herning, not cheap though.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:40 AM on October 22, 2011

Response by poster: I live in Europe, but am in the US at the moment.
posted by matrushka at 10:58 AM on October 22, 2011

Go to thrift stores. They typically have 20+ years worth of different styles, so if you don't like what the fashion industry is pushing this year, you can often find something better from a different era at the thrift store.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:39 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have sometimes had good luck at J.Jill .
posted by gudrun at 12:08 PM on October 22, 2011

I think ileaiye has the coolest sweaters on etsy
posted by Pademelon at 12:20 PM on October 22, 2011

as well, if you get a possum merino sweater from New Zealand, it will be the warmest and coziest one you have!
posted by Pademelon at 12:23 PM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding Aran Island sweaters from Ireland or a local importer.
posted by zippy at 12:25 PM on October 22, 2011

Sierra Trading Post has had some good deals on cashmere sweaters/scarves from Johnstons of Elgin. They're still more expensive than what you'd get at most other retailers mentioned here, but I'd say the quality justifies the price here. STP tends to have coupon codes for 30-35% off, so that'd bring the price for the least expensive J&E option down to $130-140. I have one of the men's v-neck sweaters and it's excellent.

Generally speaking, for cashmere you'll do well to go with an established Scottish manufacturer - Pringle would be another good brand to look for.

Uniqlo's quality is also pretty remarkable for their pricing. They don't have an online store and I think their only physical US locations are in NYC, but you may be able to use Suddenlee to order from them.
posted by ethand at 2:15 PM on October 22, 2011

Is there a good yarn store in your area? They sometimes sell hand-knit sweaters on consignment. Failing that, you can probably find a local knitter to do a commission piece. That way you get exactly what you want (without investing years in learning to knit).
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2011

Boden has some nice sweaters that look like they'd actually be warm. (The shipping will cost less once you're back in Europe.)

fair isle pullover
fair isle cardigan
chunky alpaca cabled pullover
long alpaca cabled cardigan
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:27 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a Marshall's or TJ Maxx nearby? Every couple of years I stock up when they have sales on cashmere.
posted by kinetic at 5:47 AM on October 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the helpful input!
posted by matrushka at 1:25 PM on October 23, 2011

« Older YANMD-Filter: DIY Toe Surgery?   |   What is this bizarre email about? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.