Every summer I miss the hug of knitwear: I long for the sweet embrace of a good sweater wrapping its softness around me. The feeling of walking outside when there is just a little chill in the air with the perfect cardigan on is a profound delight.
As we edge into fall, I’ve begun to unpack my sweaters, pulling them out from the depths of the drawer under my bed (and in some other nooks and crannies in my apartment, if I’m being honest). I gravitate toward specific styles for their comfort, ease, and style: Cardigans are great for zero-effort layering; cable knits are classic and easy to style; collared sweaters look instantly put-together; and ribbed sweaters feel so good on your skin.
Here, my favorite styles, with specific options for each because it’s fall and we all need a soft, knitted hug.
This slightly oversized sweater can double as a jacket in the early fall because of its thickness and insulation (it’s 100% cotton)—thanks to its fit, it’s easy to layer sweaters or tees underneath. Bonus: I love a crewneck cardigan, because they look great with a collared shirt beneath them. Alex Mill offers this style year after year, making it a classic worth investing in.
Madewell launched its Recycled Cashmere collection today, featuring 13 knitwear pieces made from 70% globally sourced certified recycled cashmere. I specifically plan to pair this knit henley in mossy green or bright lavender with the coordinating knit trousers, layered under a blazer or jacket (brownie points if the blazer or jacket is an equally great color).
This tie-front cardigan is a great option for both everyday and for dressing up—I’ll be grabbing one of these myself, unless it sells out (again). I like it worn with nothing underneath, as a warmer option than a T-shirt.
I’ve referenced the brand Maxhosa Africa several times recently, mainly for its incredible knitwear patterns and timeless prints (don’t sleep on the socks, either!). Their cardigan collection—with options for both men and women—is extensive; go for a women’s cardigan for a snugger fit or to the men’s section for an oversized, baggy look.
I first saw this sweater at a press preview at Kule’s showroom—Kule’s founder and designer, Nikki, brought it out immediately, knowing I would adore it. I love checker and I love red, so naturally this sweater is extremely enticing to me. It’s a lightweight cotton blend, meaning it’s very comfortable (kind of like a sweater/sweatshirt hybrid) and easy to wear, layered or not. Some other checkered sweaters: this hand-knit one for under $100 and this black and red one from the ’90s for $38, both on Etsy.
NAADAM is beloved for its knitwear—like their infamous $75 cashmere sweater. I also love their oversized cashmere crewneck for colder days (or when the heat hasn’t yet kicked in). Add to the list its new, lightweight crewneck with a pocket, which I styled here with a detachable collar. It’s a perfect layering sweater, and because it’s NAADAM, you know you’ll have it for years.
This 100%-cotton sweater by Selva Negra is L.A-made., machine washable, and the perfect oversized shape. Look at that waffle texture! And that bright turmeric (or, fall foliage, or, autumnal root vegetable) color! It’s the kind of sweater you’d wear to a multi-course candlelit dinner at home with a pair of stretchy pants and your hair up in a voluminous scrunchie. Wow, I just wrote weeknight pasta-dinner erotic fanfic. This sweater is truly inspirational.
The fisherman style is my favorite classic sweater, and I pull out mine anytime I want to be warm but with an easy-classic look. It’s chunky but not too bulky—and another perfect option for layering things underneath it. The one I own is pretty soft, but I recommend adding a T-shirt or turtleneck underneath it, to reduce any scratchiness. I like mine oversized, and I wear it with a pair of leggings or skinny trousers + loafers for an easy fall ensemble, no jacket required. Check to see where the sweater is from, too. if it’s from Scotland or Ireland, you are wearing legitimate heritage on your body (that being said, this vintage RL one with the pockets is pretty cool).
For the feeling of a hug but without the full kaboodle, I love a sweater vest. Two options: Wear it like a crew neck (with either a tight tee or nothing underneath), or with a collared shirt or tee. Both of the below are from Ganni, but you can find a slew of vintage options on Etsy or eBay at very low prices.
10. The Alpaca Polo
I included the brand Eleven Six in our Labor Day/Early-Fall sales story—their sweaters are great to prep for fall with. Now that we’re here, I come to you again with this brand of luxury sweaters sustainably-made in Peru. They’re incredibly soft—the exact sartorial hug you want—with original cuts and shapes. I specifically love the Tatum sweater for its polo collar, ribbing, and shape.
This fitted sweater by Tory Sport reminds me of one my mom had in high school. It’s slightly form-fitted, bright and cheery with an air of preppiness to it. I imagine it paired with a mini-skirt or wide-leg trousers—something with some volume to it. It’s 100% merino wool, but trust me, very soft. I found some similar vintage options actually from the ’70s for you, too.
I recommend Andersson Bell for its original cuts and designs. The knitwear styles are art pieces: two-toned, cutout, deconstructed, multi-material. I love the color differentiation between the arms of this “Mollyna” style, and the detachable sleeves of this one. I recommend these if you want to hit a recently re-opened modern art museum looking like a part of an exhibition. This is a very good strategy for keeping other museum visitors six feet away from you at a safe, look-but-don’t-touch, distance.
What do you look for in a sweater? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll do some internet weaving for you.