The best men’s cashmere sweaters are a lot like that guy Bryce you couldn’t stand in high school. Remember him? The one who was valedictorian and the star quarterback and the lead in the musical and always really nice to you, which somehow just made you hate him even more? Well, the best men’s cashmere sweaters are the Bryce of autumnal staples. Cashmere is the strongest and warmest and softest and swankiest form of wool there is, and it’s here to take your dreary cold weather wardrobe to bold new heights of handsomeness and coziness. The very best cashmere sweaters instantly make whatever you happen to have on that day—a T-shirt and denim, say, or a button-down and blazer—look miles more considered, sophisticated, and polished.
The Best Cashmere Sweaters Shopping Guide
What makes a good cashmere sweater?
Here’s the catch: high-quality cashmere will usually cost you a pretty penny. For the price, you should be getting a form of cashmere made from long staple fibers spun into multi-ply yarns and knit into a tightly-tensioned fabric. Those factors all contribute to cashmere’s pedigreed reputation as a material that’s much less prone to pilling and stretching than its woolier counterparts. (That reputation, rightful or not, also informs its notoriously high price tag.)
What about the cheaper options?
Over the last few years, demand for affordable cashmere sweaters has transformed the erstwhile rich-guy signifier into a bona fide cold weather staple you don’t have to drain a 401(k) to afford. With one small caveat: supply chain transparency is infamously hard to suss out in the fashion industry, but don’t expect a $100 cashmere joint—no matter how tony its source of origin—to hold up as well as a $500 one.
Make sense? Good, because now comes the fun part: settling on the right cashmere sweater for you. Are you after a basic cashmere pullover? A svelte cashmere turtleneck, perhaps? How about a currently-trending cashmere cardigan? To help make that decision as simple and streamlined as possible, we found you 23 of the very best men’s cashmere sweaters on the planet—from the gigantic flexes worth dropping a paycheck on to the budget-friendly crewnecks you should cop in every color. You’ll look even better in them than Bryce did the night he was crowned prom king. Stupid Bryce.
The Best No-Brainer Cashmere Sweater
You don’t have to do much to a cashmere sweater for it to make a big impression. The fabric itself speaks volumes, so even the most basic of knitwear options can instantly make an outfit feel a bit luxer, more considered, and altogether elevated. (Just think about how put together guys like David Beckham and Justin Theroux look wearing plain ol’ pullovers.) At the same time, though, a little visual flourish never hurt anybody, which is why we love these knit polos from the new J.Crew. They still let the cashmere do the talking, but the subtle herringbone pattern and contrast detailing steps things up the subtlest of notches. Slap a collar on an already-cozy crewneck and you’re left with a sweater that looks primo solo—and even better as a layering piece under a nubby blazer.
The Best No-Frills Cashmere Sweater
A never-ending dilemma: you have expensive taste but only a few shillings to spend (also, you’re calling them shillings, which automatically denotes some level of financial destitution). Rest easy, friend, because Everlane’s cashmere sweaters are some of the best you can get for the price. At some point in the last decade or so, a weird thing happened: cashmere, the rarest and most luxurious of wools, became way more accessible. These days, you can find pure cashmere sweaters hovering around the $100 mark in just about every mall chain store—like if you could suddenly cop a Bugatti for the price of a Kia. But not all affordable cashmere sweaters are built equally, and for our money, Everlane’s versions are tops: they’re knit from Grade-A Mongolian fibers less prone to pilling with reinforced necklines and cuffs for extra durability.
The Best Cable-Knit Cashmere Sweater
Dubbing your own sweater “iconic” might raise a few eyebrows, but Ralph Lauren’s plush-but-not-precious cable-knit joint lives up to the flex. For half a century, American fashion’s proudest emissary has outfitted the global jet set with top-shelf cashmere exactly like this, done up in warm pastel tones that evoke the designer’s unfailingly cheery spin on ur-prep basics. Wear it with a rumpled oxford shirt and scuzzy houndstooth blazer on crisp fall days or a thick scarf and swaddly topcoat come winter. And if accessibility (read: price) is a prime concern, its unbeatable versatility isn’t the only selling point—right this very moment, it happens to be on sale, too.
The Best Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater
You almost definitely own a slim black turtleneck, which is elegant and goes great with everything, but a remains touch too delicate to stand up to any sort of windchill. Maybe you’ve got one of those chunky Irish fisherman numbers, too—it’s rugged and handsome and makes you feel like the commander in Dunkirk, but it’s too warm to wear indoors and about as comfortable as a Brillo pad. Well, fashion Goldilocks, here’s the middle ground to add to your rotation: Todd Snyder’s just-right cashmere turtleneck. Substantial enough to keep out the cold, trim enough to fit under a sport coat, softer than the dulcet tones of your favorite ASMR YouTuber.
The Best Downtown Gallery Type Cashmere Sweater
Some days, when it’s freezing and you’re cranky and maybe a little hungover, you just need to swaddle yourself in cashmere. You want to be enveloped by the stuff, to have it shield you from the outside world and everyone in it while still making you look really damn good in the process. That’s what this enormous ribbed mockneck from The Row will do for you. It’s cut slouchy and drape-y and will swallow you whole, but is exactingly engineered to do so in the most flattering way possible.
The Best SoCal-Drenched Cashmere Sweater
Most cashmere stuff feels very East Coast prep—all strait-laced and solid-colored—which makes sense, because the East Coast is where it’s cold. Back in 2007, though, LA designer Greg Chait flipped that on its head: under the moniker The Elder Statesman, he started making cashmere blankets, then sweaters and ponchos and socks and stuffed animals, with a distinctly Californian vibe. The stuff is all tie-dyed and dip-dyed, sometimes emblazoned with palm trees or magic mushrooms or the checkerboard pattern on your trusty Vans. The wavy pullovers are the perfect thing for a chilly night on the beach, or for shaking up your cold-weather fits with a reminder that summer is just around the corner.
The Best Rich-Guy Cashmere Sweater
Sometimes lost in all the mystique surrounding Brunello Cucinelli—from the 173-acre medieval hamlet in Umbria where he and 800 of his employees live and work in perfect harmony, to the billionaire summits he hosts on occasion—is the fact that guy makes really, really beautiful clothes. Sweaters like this one are the reason he’s long held the crown as the King of Cashmere: the knit work is crisp and immaculate, the fit is snug and luxurious. It’s perfect to the point that upon seeing its near-$5,000 price tag, all you can really do is shrug and mumble, “Checks out.”