It’s that time of the year again: London’s gotten almost unbearably chilly and it has become even harder to get out of my warm bed in the morning. However, I’ve come to the realisation that by wearing the right kind of sweater, made out of the right kind of material, I am able to brace the cold much more easily. I have adopted a strict no acrylic or polyester rule (because in my experience, those materials make you sweat and don’t do much at keeping you warm) and try to stick to cotton, wool and occasionally alpaca or cashmere. The Norwegian motto is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” so let me introduce you to some of my favourite sweaters of this season (all under £100) that will keep you warm and toasty and, with the right care, will last you throughout the next couple of seasons.
Zara JOIN LIFE: Wool and Tencel Sweater (Red) (£29.99)
This beautiful Zara sweater can be worn on it’s own or as a layering piece and it comes in four beautiful colours. It’s made out of 52% wool and 48% TENCEL lyocell. These materials are not only incredibly warm, Zara also states on their website that their TENCEL lyocell is made from wood grown in sustainably managed forests that guarantee their reforestation and is produced in a closed cycle that is environmentally and water friendly. Need I say more?
Zara JOIN LIFE: Wool and Cashmere Sweater (Camel) (£59.99)
Continuing the turtleneck theme let me introduce you to this timeless camel coloured sweater. A beautiful piece made out of 42% wool, 33% TENCEL lyocell and 25% cashmere. Wool gets its incredible warming qualities from the crimp in its fibres. This makes wool fabrics good at holding air, which causes them to retain heat better than most other fabrics.
Zara JOIN LIFE: Wool and Cashmere Sweater (Pink) (£59.99)
This dreamy baby pink Zara number is incredibly warm and soft thanks to a blend of 42% wool, 33% TENCEL lyocell and 25% cashmere. Cashmere comes from the undercoat of the Kashmir goat – it’s warm and INCREDIBLY soft. On the downside, it’s prone to pilling and damage by high temperatures, so you need to take extra good care of your cashmere sweaters!
H&M Conscious: Cashmere-Mix Polo-Neck Jumper (Dark Blue) (£59.99)
This classic, dark blue H&M Conscious sweater is composed of 50% cotton and 50% cashmere. H&M claims that they only work with cashmere suppliers that follow their strict Animal Welfare Policy and furthermore, they make use of recycled cashmere. Additionally, according to their website, their Conscious line only uses sustainably sourced cotton.
Everlane: The Alpaca V-Neck Sweater (Pomona Green) (£67)
This beautiful Everlane Sweater consists of 60% alpaca, 30% nylon and 10% wool. Not only does alpaca wool have incredible warming qualities, it’s also long lasting and resists pilling. Alpacas are also better for the environment than other herd animals, since they are soft-hooved and gentle grazers, which make them easier on pastures.
This beautiful, lightweight, 100% merino sweater from Toast will for sure keep you extra toasty! Merino wool comes from merino sheep and like all wool types; it’s warm, durable, water repellent and naturally insulating. Additionally, merino is incredibly soft, shiny and breathable. A total winner I’d say!
People Tree: Honeycomb Cardigan Wool (Pink) (£78.99)
Okay, technically this is not a sweater but I just had to include this beautiful, fuchsia pink, 100% wool cardigan. Plus, if you haven’t heard of People Tree, they make beautiful, sustainable and fair-trade fashion. Who doesn’t love guilt free shopping!
This beautiful, Christmassy and cosy sweater from Toast is made from 100% pure new wool. ‘New’ wool simply means that the wool has been processed for the first time. New wool does bring with it all the wonderful wool qualities that I have mentioned above. This particular piece is made in the UK and the best thing: it’s currently down from £155 to £90!
Everlane: The Cashmere Turtleneck (Heather Grey) (£99)
Coming in at just under £100 is this beautiful turtleneck sweater from Everlane. I’d say it’s worth the investment since it is 100% cashmere and its elegant and timeless design will make you cherish it forever!
Materials such as wool, cashmere and alpaca are usually to be hand washed only. However, most washing machines nowadays have a very gentle hand wash programme. In my experience, as long as you use special gentle detergent for delicate fabrics, your precious sweaters should come out fine. Avoid washing them too much however, as that can damage the fibres. Never EVER put wool or cashmere sweaters in the dryer, as they will most likely shrink to baby size. Also, avoid hanging your sweaters, but lay them on a towel on the floor to dry, as hanging them wet can warp the fabric. The same goes for storing them in your closet, try not to put your sweaters on hangers, but fold them in order for them to keep their shape. In the case of pilling, I can recommend pilling combs (a sweater-comb, wild, I know), which do a great job at de-pilling and can make your sweaters look like new again.
I realise that the suggested sweaters might be a bit on the pricier side, however, I always think of sweaters as investment pieces. The ones mentioned above are, in my opinion, classic cuts that most likely won’t go out of style and with the right care will last you for several years. Furthermore, when it comes to materials such as mohair and cashmere, it is especially important to consider buying sustainably and animal-friendly produced pieces (we don’t want any sheep or goats to get harmed!), which is also reflected in the price. With that being said, happy shopping and stay warm folks!