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Our top pick is the Quince Australian Merino Wool Crew Sweater.
When it comes to shopping for sweaters, it’s hard to overlook the functionality and versatility of buying wool fabric. A natural fiber derived from animals (sheep and goat are some of the most common), wool has natural stretch to it and it retains heat easily, which makes the textile smart to include in your winter packing lists. Some types of wool, like merino, can also help regulate body temperature and absorb sweat, which is great for warm weather.
When you shop for wool you’ll notice there are a number of different types available, from alpaca to dressy cashmere and the aforementioned merino, and that’s all dependent on the type of animal the wool came from.
Our top wool sweater pick is the Quince Australian Merino Wool Crew Sweater because it has a classic fit with perennial appeal. Additionally, it’s ultra-wearable, soft, and affordable. And for those planning to pack their Quince sweater for an upcoming trip, you’re in luck because it’s also wrinkle-resistant.
Quince Australian Merino Wool Crew Sweater
Why We Love It: It’s a super lightweight sweater and you get a full year to decide if you want to keep or return it.
What to Consider: Sizing is somewhat limited, ranging from XS to XL only.
This is your everyday, cold-weather sweater that you’ll never tire of. If you’re new to Quince, the brand offers sustainable, high-quality pieces at more-than-affordable price points, and that’s what makes this Australian merino wool sweater a top pick. It’s made of 100 percent biodegradable merino wool, and the yarn weight is 19.5 microns (the lower the number the softer the wool), making it soft and less likely to be itchy. Australian merino is a favored textile for a wealth of reasons: it’s no-fuss, wrinkle-resistant, and a breathable knit. This sweater is available in four shades, including caramel, black, and navy.
Price at time of publish: $30
Sizes: XS to XL | Materials: Merino wool
Cuyana Recycled Cashmere Mock Sweater
Why We Love It: Cuyana partners with an Italian family-owned mill to give cashmere a second life with this gorgeous mock-neck sweater.
What to Consider: Colors are limited.
This closet staple is the full package. The sweater features dropped shoulders, so it’s roomy and effortless, with a subtle crop for tucking into jeans and trousers. Cuyana is transparent with its sustainable efforts, too. This piece is made with 95 percent recycled cashmere and was made at a 130-year-old Italian family mill.
Price at time of publish: $278
Sizes: XS to XL | Materials: Recycled cashmere, wool
Everlane The Cozy-Stretch Pullover
Why We Love It: It’s roomy and breathable.
What to Consider: It has a boxy fit so it can be challenging to tuck into waistbands. You may want to size down if you don’t want an oversized fit.
For an easy stretch sweater that goes with everything from trousers to jeans, Everlane’s Cozy-Stretch Pullover is a top pick. It’s a wool blend, made with nylon, yak hair, and elastane, and has a roomy fit, with dropped shoulders and exaggerated sleeves. Everlane’s all about transparent pricing, so you can see exactly where all your money is going, from transportation costs to materials and labor.
Price at time of publish: $100
Sizes: XXS to XL | Materials: Wool, recycled nylon, yak hair, elastane
Janessa Leoné Margeaux Sweater
Why We Love It: It’s hand-knit in the United States and features intricate, beautiful cabling.
What to Consider: Sizing is limited – there are just two sizes available (XS/S and M/L).
There is so much to fawn over with this luxurious sweater, where to even begin? To start, the entire piece is hand-knit from a woman-owned co-op in New England, which is why it takes 28 hours to complete. The way the brand obtains the wool is an even better story. Janessa Leoné goes above and beyond to ensure all materials are regeneratively sourced (meaning the sheep don’t deplete the environment), the animals are kept on a carbon-negative farm, and because they feed off the land, they don’t need to bring in outside materials that would produce carbon emissions. The piece has an oversized fit and is made with a heavy, chunky knit — it weighs three pounds.
Price at time of publish: $797
Sizes: XS/S and M/L | Materials: Regeneratively-sourced merino
Cos Oversized Alpaca-Blend Sweater
Why We Love It: It’s got that slouchy, vintage vibe that looks like it’s been in your closet for decades.
What to Consider: Sizing runs just XS to L.
If you’re looking for a mood-boosting slouchy sweater, this bright yellow jumper is it. Made using an alpaca-blend, this sweater is spongy, fuzzy, and loose-fitting, making it ideal for those throw-on-and-go days when you want to be both comfortable and put together. The sleeves feature a ribbed trim to make it easy to bunch them at the elbow. The back length of a size small is 25 inches long, which means this sweater will fit longer and hit below the hips. It’s dry clean only, and it’s been certified by the Responsible Wool Standard to protect the sheep and their habitat.
Price at time of publish: $135
Sizes: XS to L | Materials: Alpaca, wool, polyamide
Liny Xin Turtleneck
Why We Love It: It’s soft and available in 15 shades.
What to Consider: It tends to run small, so you may want to size up.
Turtlenecks on their own make great layering pieces when they’re thin and can easily slip underneath blouses and button-downs. This 100 percent merino wool turtleneck is made from a 12-gauge knit, which refers to the tightness of the weave (12 stitches per inch), resulting in a thin, warm, and soft essential available in 15 shades.
Price at time of publish: $68
Sizes: S to XL | Materials: Merino wool
Abercrombie & Fitch Wool-Blend Ribbed Cardigan
Best Merino Wool
Why We Love It: It’s thick and warm.
What to Consider: It’s a cropped sweater measuring 20 inches in body length, so it works best with high-waisted jeans and skirts.
Merino is known for being a fine wool that regulates body temperature because of its moisture-wicking properties, and this three-button merino-blend cardigan offers elevated texture, thanks to the ribbed stitching. It has a cropped fit, which looks great buttoned up over paper-thin turtlenecks and everyday denim.
Price at time of publish: $130
Sizes: XXS to XL | Materials: Nylon, merino wool, cotton
Smartwool Men's Brookline Crew Sweater
Best for Men
Why We Love It: The polyester blend makes it super soft.
What to Consider: The colors are limited.
This all-day, everyday sweater is made of a polyester, merino wool, and nylon blend that’s soft on the skin, so it feels and fits more like a crewneck sweatshirt (bonus: it’s soft enough that you don’t need to wear a shirt underneath it). It features a crew neck style and ribbed details along the trim and collar that add warmth.
Price at time of publish: $140
Sizes: S to XXL | Materials: Recycled polyester, merino wool, nylon
Madewell (Re)sponsible Cashmere Relaxed Sweater
Why We Love It: We love the range of sizes — it’s available in regular and plus.
What to Consider: It has a boxy fit, which might be challenging to style if you prefer slim-fit clothing.
Cashmere is often regarded as a luxurious fiber because it comes from combing cashmere goats, resulting in a soft fiber that’s perfect for clothing. This one from Madewell has a boxy fit that makes it look like it was a hand-me-down from Dad, resulting in a closet staple you’ll want to immediately tuck into the waistband of all your jeans. It’s part of the brand’s DoWell program, which ensures the cashmere wool is sustainable and certified by organizations that support healthy animal welfare and farmer working conditions.
Price at time of publish: $138
Sizes: XXS to 4XL | Materials: Cashmere
Sézane Trudy Jumper
Why We Love It: It’s delicate and dreamy, with a fuzzy ribbed texture.
What to Consider: This sweater has mohair, which can be itchy.
This elevated ribbed mock neck from French retailer Sézane is an incredibly lightweight and soft jumper, made of polyamide, super kid mohair, merino wool, viscose, metallic fibers, and a touch of elastane. It’s a standout piece that can take an everyday jeans look and make it party-ready. The stunning button placket at the front features gorgeous gold button hardware that shines.
Price at time of publish: $150
Sizes: XXS to XXXL | Materials: Polyamide, super kid mohair, merino wool, viscose, metallic fibers, elastane
Tips for Buying the Best Wool Sweaters
Choose Merino wool when possible
Before you start shopping for wool sweaters, consider whether or not you want to wear them in warm climates, cold, or year-round — merino wool is more breathable than cashmere, for example, making it suitable for year-round wear because it absorbs sweat and helps regulate body temperature.
Consider your budget
Certain wool fibers tend to be more affordable than others. If you’re looking for a budget pick, opt for a wool sweater that incorporates a percentage of a non-luxury fiber, like nylon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best wool for sweaters?
<p>The best wool for sweaters is an extrafine merino wool because the textile is noticeably thin and long, so it’s unlikely you’ll feel itchy the way you might with other fabrics. Merino wool also absorbs sweat well so it can be worn year-round depending on the weight of the sweater.</p>
How do you wash a wool sweater?
<p>One of the most common ways to wash a wool sweater is by hand. Many brands recommend turning it inside out and hand-washing in a bowl or sink with wool detergent or a mild soap. When the water runs clear, lay it over a towel and roll it up tightly to remove excess water. After that, lay it flat to dry completely and store folded as opposed to on a hanger, because it can lose its shape.</p>
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure freelance writer Rebecca Brown used her extensive fashion knowledge — and past travel experience — to research the best wool sweaters on the market right now.
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