Last updated September 11, 2020
The best women’s winter sweaters are those that are warm, good quality, and that will keep you comfortable through the long cold months. The comfiest designs are cashmere, merino wool, alpaca, or cotton blends that aren’t itchy and feel great against your skin. There are a lot of options for cozy pullovers, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have come up with a list of some of our favorites. Whether you are looking for a luxurious gift for someone you love, or are treating yourself, we have found all kinds of designs from long styles that look great with leggings to more fitted cashmere options that are perfect for work; there is something for everyone.
Everlane The Oversized Alpaca Crew
For those looking for an environmentally friendly option that is soft and comfy, you may want to check out the Oversized Alpaca Crew from Everlane. Alpaca is much more sustainable environmentally than cashmere and is super soft and luxurious with a kind of a silky feel to it. It also isn’t prickly like natural wool and is hypoallergenic because there is no lanolin in the fabric.
Available from Everlane.com
Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater
Uniqlo is an excellent place to shop for sweaters, especially if you work in an office and need professional looking clothes that won’t break the bank. They have styles made from ultra-fine merino wool, 100% cashmere, lambswool, cotton knit, and some pretty snazzy coatigans, which are all worth a look. The Uniqlo merino wool styles are great value for simple basic designs that you can dress up or down and look very put together. Most of their styles aren’t itchy, are pretty good quality for the price, and can be machine washed. Uniqlo pullover designs tend to be somewhat fitted, so if like a looser fit, you should size up or even check the men’s section.
Available from Uniqlo
Woolovers Women’s Cashmere and Merino Crew Neck Knitted Sweater
Woolovers is a great place to get good quality knits at very reasonable prices. Their designs are classic, simple styles that come in a wide variety of colors. Their products come from natural fibers that are, for the most part, either wool, cotton, or cashmere. A lot of their styles are also machine washable (although check labeling since some is hand wash only). Generally, Woolovers are known for having fantastic quality for the price. Their products are well-made, and the knits are usually pretty warm and comfy.
Available from Woolovers.com
Lands’ End Women’s Drifter Cotton Crewneck
Lands’ End is a fantastic place to get warm, cozy, nice quality sweaters. One of their most popular styles is the Lands’ End Women’s Drifter Cotton Crewneck. It is a 100% cotton knit that also has the cable design. Since it is cotton, this style can be machine washed, which makes it a great everyday design. The cotton is mid-weight, so it is pretty warm and can be worn as a layering piece in different temperatures. The Drifter comes in a rainbow of really bright, beautiful colors that you can dress up or down.
Available from LandsEnd.com
Equipment Madalene Cashmere Sweater
It’s always fun to check out some of the more luxurious options available to see what is out there. A company that has an excellent reputation for making beautiful, soft sweaters is Equipment, they are expensive, but the quality is reportedly outstanding. The Equipment Madalene Cashmere design is a popular option if you love luxury and are looking for a slightly oversized fit that will work well with skinny jeans or leggings. Often cashmere pullovers are more fitted and fall higher on the waist, and it is hard to find styles that have a looser silhouette, so the Madalene is a little bit unique for a cashmere style.
Available from Nordstrom
Gap Relaxed Rollneck Sweater
I’ve gotten some excellent chunky warm sweaters from the Gap over the years, and when the weather cools down, I like to have a look at what they are offering. This year one style that caught my eye was the Gap Relaxed Rollneck Sweater. It is 100 cotton and comes in several beautiful, slightly unusual colors that look modern and fresh. Since it is Gap, you can count on it being moderately priced and pretty good quality.
Available from Gap.com
Naadam’s $75 Essential Cashmere Sweater
Naadam is a startup that works directly with Mongolian herders to get excellent prices for the cashmere that they use. If you love cashmere, you are going to want to check out the Naadam’s $75 Essential Cashmere Sweater that you can get in crew or v-neck. This design is known for being warm, lightweight, and super soft. It is a unisex fit, so it is a tiny bit oversized but not sloppy looking at all. This sweater is also reportedly very breathable, light, and built to last.
Available from Naadam
Cuyana Wool Cashmere Slim V-Neck Sweater
Another excellent quality pick is this made in Italy design from Cuyana. Cuyana is mostly known for its leather bags, but their clothes are worth checking out as well. The Cuyana Wool Cashmere Slim V-Neck Sweater is a beautiful, sustainably made style that is made from a wool and cashmere that is super soft and cozy. It comes in a few basic colors and is a great option if you love an elegant, simple cut that will be warm and comfy to wear while still looking great.
Available from Cuyana
The Irish Store Women’s Traditional Aran Sweater
For those who love a chunky wool sweater, one of the best places to find a great style is at the Irish Store. They have a wonderful selection of cardigans and v-neck styles, but if you are looking for a timeless classic, you can’t go wrong with their Traditional Aran Sweater. It is made from fine quality merino yarn and is available in a few different beautiful color options. If you are interested in this style, just be aware that they ship from Ireland, so it will most likely take longer for you to get your shipment that you might be used to.
Available from the Irish Store
AllSaints Ridley Funnel Neck Wool & Cashmere Sweater
This is a beautiful grey version of the white Ridley AllSaints sweater that Meghan Markle has been pictured in. It has an unusual cut with fitted cuffs and a relaxed oversized body along with a slouchy funnel-neck. The knit is mostly lambswool with a small blend of cashmere, so you know it is going to be soft and warm. This sweater, which is also available in black and white, is a flattering casual option that looks great with slim black pants.
Available from Nordstrom
Lark & Ro Women’s Boucle Mock Neck Oversized Sweater
This oversized design from Lark & Ro is a great style if you want a nice, cozy style, but you want to keep things affordable. It is a nylon, acrylic, and wool blend that is soft and not itchy and can easily stop you from feeling cold. Since it is boucle, it does have a slightly loopy, not smooth texture that isn’t for everyone, so just be aware of that if you are interested in this pick.
Available from Amazon
L.L Bean Signature Cotton Fisherman Tunic
The L.L Bean Signature Cotton Fisherman Tunic is an Aran pattern inspired classic, in a flattering longer length. It is known for being a little bit heavy, warm, and should last for quite a while. Since it is a cotton pullover, you don’t have to worry about it being itchy, and the knit also contains a bit of cashmere for extra softness. Apart from the durability, a massive plus for this style is that it can be machine washed. Since it is a tunic style, it has a little bit of length to it, so you can wear it with skinny jeans or leggings, and it looks great. It does have small zippers on each side at the bottom, which adds an interesting detail that some women like, some not so much. It is thick-weight cotton in a heavy knit so that you can wear it fall, winter, and spring. Be aware that the neck hole is slightly wider than a regular crew style. If you like tunics, this is a warm and attractive option; although it isn’t super soft, the fit is more what makes it comfy.
Available from L.L. Bean
Banana Republic Cotton-Blend Bell-Sleeve Sweater.
Banana Republic always has a lot of great sweaters to choose from. They are constantly changing, depending on the time year. In the fall and winter, they almost always have 100% cashmere styles and soft, washable merino wool options that are lovely wardrobe staples. BR sweaters make particularity excellent gifts, as the fabrics are usually pretty luxurious and super soft. One style that looks like it could be a nice option for long winter days is their Cotton-Blend Bell-Sleeve Sweater. It is a cotton-poly blend that has a loose fit and comes in a few different stylish colors.
Find at Banana Republic
What to look for:
Since this post is on comfortable sweaters, we are focusing on fabrics that feel nice against the skin and not so much the polyester or heavy wool styles. If you are looking for soft materials, look for:
Cashmere – Cashmere is finer, yet stronger and smoother than sheep’s wool. It is also about three times warmer than sheep’s wool, so you can stay warm easily without the bulk that you get in a wool pullover. It makes an excellent option for work if you work in an office, and you need to stay warm but still look professional.
Merino Wool– Merino wool is generally considered the finest and softest wool of any sheep’s wool. Merino is cheaper than cashmere while being almost as smooth.
100% Cotton or Cotton Blend– Cotton can be very soft and comfy against the skin. Some people find it a little heavy in sweater designs and perhaps not as warm as wool or other natural fibers.
Alpaca– Alpaca Fibers are usually soft, durable, luxurious with a slightly silky feel to it. It is warmer than sheep’s wool and isn’t scratchy against the skin.
Silk – Silk is usually blended with other natural fabrics to make fabrics that are super soft and comfortable against the skin.
Avoid acrylics and 100 % wool if your skin becomes irritated easily by scratchy fabrics.
Unfortunately, the softest comfiest styles aren’t usually the most durable. More delicate fabrics can pill more quickly and are often more at risk for developing holes. Less soft yarns like 100% wool are much more durable, but for a lot of women are uncomfortable and scratchy to wear.
You don’t want your fabric to pill, but unfortunately, a lot of styles will pill with wear. If you find this is an issue for you, you can try a cashmere or a wool comb that can be a great tool to help get rid of pills and fuzz.
Fabrics like cashmere and silk blends usually have to be dry cleaned. Cotton and merino wool tend to be machine washable. If you don’t like spending a lot of time cleaning your sweaters, you will want to look for styles that specifically say machine washable.