Every good wardrobe should be furnished with a few knitwear essentials. Things like a merino polo shirt, a chunky fisherman jumper and a fine-gauge roll neck are all great to have, but king among them is the cashmere sweater.
Soft, luxurious and easy to wear, this is one knitted garment you’re likely to find yourself reaching for again and again, regardless of the dress code. Yes, it can be an investment, but as soon as you pull one on it’s easy to see why. This fabric lives up to its premium price tag – supremely comfortable and silky smooth to the touch, it’s difficult to go back to plain old itchy lambswool once you’ve experienced it.
Thinking of taking the plunge and joining the cashmere club? It pays to shop around. Lots of brands make cashmere sweaters, but some do it far better than others. From the British classics to the height of Italian luxury, these are the cashmere sweater brands you need to know.
Quintessentially Italian quality and meticulous attention to detail are what underpin Luca Faloni’s entire range. The brand offers everything a man needs to create an exemplary capsule wardrobe, all handmade in Italy using the absolute finest of materials.
The label’s cashmere is a prime example of this commitment to quality and local craftsmanship. Luca Faloni works closely with Cariaggi, one of the finest spinners of cashmere in the world, to produce all of its cashmere knitwear. Prices for a cashmere sweater sit around the £200 mark and there are no less than 13 colours to choose from.
Closed originally started as a denim brand in the late 1970s but has since progressed into a fully-fledged fashion label offering both men’s and women’s lines… and some fantastic cashmere knitwear.
The brand offers full-cashmere knits, spun entirely from the good stuff, but it also produces more affordable cashmere blends. Opting for a mix of wool and cashmere is a great way to get involved in the action without completely draining your bank account and Closed is well equipped to facilitate this.
We’re longtime fans of Swedish basics brand ASKET. This no-frills, direct-to-consumer label chooses to distance itself from trends in favour of producing a tightly curated collection of timeless essentials. The focus is on making these pieces as good as they can possibly be without straying into questionable-price-tag territory.
One of ASKET’s cashmere sweaters will set you back £160, which considering they’re spun from high-grade recycled cashmere in Italy and fit like a glove, is not at all unreasonable. Choose from a small selection of muted colours and even tailor the length to your requirements to be sure of the perfect fit.
Italian brand Artknit is built around the philosophy of ‘buy less, buy better’. The label makes all of its cashmere pieces in the Italian capital of wool, Biella, and thanks to the made-to-order approach it’s able to operate with zero waste. On top of this, Artknit only works with natural fibres.
There are two options when it comes to cashmere sweaters: upcycled cashmere, or what Artknit refers to as its ‘Grade-A’ cashmere. While both are soft, comfortable and beautifully made, the latter is a little more expensive due to the high quality of the yarn. Both are handmade in Italy to order and come in at under £200 and £300 respectively.
You’ll need a bulging wallet to shop the Brunello Cucinelli range, but it won’t be bulging for long. This Italian ‘sportivo chic’ (Cucinelli’s words, not ours) powerhouse is as well known for its exorbitant price tags as it is for its beautifully crafted clothing, but it’s cashmere knitwear for which the brand is truly famous.
Brunello Cucinelli’s cashmere garments are quite possibly the best in the world. What else would you expect from a man dubbed the King of Cashmere? A sweater from this billionaire’s favourite can set you back anywhere up to £2,000. Obviously, this places it well out of reach for most men, but if you can afford one without bankrupting yourself then more power to you.
A Day’s March
Sweden’s A Day’s March creates timeless, high-quality essentials and sells them directly to you. That means there are no retail markups, which means the best possible garments for the lowest possible price. If you’re looking to build a solid capsule wardrobe, this label would be a good place to start, and cashmere knitwear is just one of the many things it does brilliantly.
A Day’s March’s cashmere crew neck is available in eight versatile shades and costs £155. It’s an enticing price for a full cashmere sweater and an excellent option if you’re looking to add some cashmere to your winter wardrobe on a budget.
The world’s foremost cashmere processor, Loro Piana is an Italian textiles and fashion brand with a commitment to quality. The brand sources only the very finest of raw materials from around the world, including unique cashmere from baby goats in China, Mongolia and the Andes.
This is seriously high-end stuff and comes with the price to prove it. A classic cashmere sweater is likely to cost anywhere between £1,000 and £2,000. Obviously, that’s a huge amount of money, but that’s just what you pay for the best cashmere garments in the world from the biggest name in the game.
Johnstons of Elgin
Johnstons of Elgin has been producing high-quality cashmere garments since the 1700s. Today, it’s a full-blown fashion label that has even shown at Fashion Week. If you’re after a high-end cashmere sweater with a high-fashion twist, this Scottish stalwart might be the brand for you.
Because Johnstons of Elgin specialises in cashmere, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a sweater. The brand makes everything from cable-rib crew necks to lightweight quarter-zips. Prices and styles may vary, but one thing that’s consistent across the range is the fact that everything is handmade in Scotland to the highest possible standards.
Ermenegildo Zegna’s eponymous brand began life as a woollen mill in 1910. It quickly became known for producing fine fabrics, which is something it’s still famous for today. Cashmere, in particular, has long been a staple of the brand, with luxurious knitwear featuring heavily in seasonal collections from the very beginning.
The brand uses a material it calls Casheta. This blend of cashmere and silk is supremely soft and oozes luxury, but it’s far from budget friendly. If you’re eyeing up a Casheta sweater for yourself, expect to pay north of £800.
James Bond’s favourite knitwear brand is definitely one to consider if you’re in the market for a cashmere sweater. N. Peal has been kitting Bond out in high-end knitted good since From Russia With Love and was worn almost exclusively by Daniel Craig… with the exception of the odd John Smedley V-neck.
If you’re going to go down this route, it would be ludicrous not to pick something from the ‘007 Cashmere Collection’. Here you’ll find a range of Bond-approved knitwear, as seen in various films over the past 50 years. The blue crew neck from Skyfall is a particular highlight.