Holiday Head Start: Cashmere For All

Cashmere was once the holy grail of a closet. It was still that way  in the mid- to late ’90s, when women (like our own Editor-in-Chief Michelle) would save their pennies — and hundred dollar bills — for pieces from brands such as Tse. Since then, companies have found more affordable alternatives to Italian-spun cashmere, which was regarded as the world’s best, and now brands from JC Penney to Loro Piana all offer cashmere staples so that everyone can get in on the action.

Always a popular holiday gift, whether it comes from a luxe Italian factory or from China, cashmere is always a well-received gift. We’ve collected a few of our — affordable — faves so you can snuggle up yourself or keep someone else toasty over the winter holidays.

Uniqlo Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater

Uniqlo Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater

Cheap and chic: Uniqlo Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater ($69.90)

San Franciscans got the opportunity to fête the opening of their very own Uniqlo store last month, which means that flocks of fast fashion fans won’t have to sojourn to New York to get their fix. The brand is always lauded by magazines for their affordable cashmere, which is available at an affordable sub-$100 price and an array of colors that run the spectrum from bright primary hues to earthy russets and sherbet pastels. While it isn’t the softest cashmere, it is a great option if you’ve got lots of names on your list to check off. The brand also has V-necks, turtles necks and an assortment of other styles to choose from. And not a single one will cost you more than $100 during the brand’s debut into E-tail. So get them while the getting’s good. These deals will disappear after Uniqlo settles into their virtual shop.

Available at Uniqlo.

Club Monaco Avery Cashmere Sweater

Club Monaco Avery Cashmere Sweater

Hard and soft: Club Monaco Avery Cashmere Sweater ($189.50)

If you want a little more personality with your cashmere, Club Monaco’s added subtle detailing with a few strategic zippers and figure-flattering seams. And upon closer inspection, you’ll even notice a bit of leather detailing — a nod to one of the season’s biggest trends. We love Club Monaco’s cashmere because it’s ultra-light, making this the perfect layering piece to add style and warmth without bulk. True to Club Monaco’s monochromatic ways, the Avery sweater is available in a limited number of neutral shades, so don’t expect bright pops of color or eye-searing neons.

Available at Club Monaco.

J. Crew Collection Cashmere Bateau Sweater

J. Crew Collection Cashmere Bateau Sweater

Gentle waves: J. Crew Collection Cashmere Bateau Sweater ($198)

J. Crew is the go-to shop for guys and girls looking for high-quality cashmere. Sourced in Italy and custom dyed — the brand claims that you won’t find their shades anywhere else, but we beg to differ after seeing Uniqlo’s wall of perfectly folded cashmere sweaters. The talented bunch at Team J. Crew have updated a ’60s silhouette with shorter three-quarter sleeves and given it the oxblood treatment. Bateau necklines are feminine and a little retro, meaning that picking up this sweater will for yourself or a friend will guarantee them years of wear. J. Crew also offers cashmere washes, combs, stones and more courtesy of their collaboration with the Laundress, so you can keep your sweaters looking their best season after season.

Available at J. Crew.

Equipment Asher V-Neck Cashmere Sweater

Equipment Asher V-Neck Cashmere Sweater

French dressing: Equipment Asher V-neck Cashmere Sweater ($288)

French brand Equipment is coming back in a big way. After being plucked from near obscurity by the Azrias (as in BCBG Max Azria), the laid-back brand is surging into department stores and even opening up freestanding boutiques in NY’s SoHo neighborhood and on Melrose in L.A. We spied the brand’s blouses throughout Fashion Week, but we’re also coveting their light-as-air cashmere sweaters. Made to fit in more relaxed and casual way than preppier options at J. Crew and Club Monaco, Equipment’s sweaters are dyed to match their blouses so you can mix, match, clash or complement your cashmere with your blouson.

Available at Nordstrom.

Images courtesy J. Crew, Club Monaco, Uniqlo, Equipment and Nordstrom

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.