I Might Have Found the Perfect Sweater

Little is more appealing to me in theory than a tall stack of sweaters. I love how it looks (like a pile of wool pillows) but more than that, I love what it means: cozy armor for my every whim. For years, I’ve been working on building a tower of my own that lives up to this fantasy, and for years I’ve built a tower of disappointments instead.

In high school, I’d poke through discount bins in search of a chunky sweater that wouldn’t break my modest paycheck. I’d leave stores satisfied in August, and the season bitterly in March: loose necks, unraveled seams, unwanted puckering. In college, I dabbled in men’s sweaters, hoping their thicker, oversize feel would help them maintain their silhouette. Within a year, they’d become pilled, misshapen lumps at the bottom of my closet. Soon I moved onto the fast-fashion big-hitters, also known as superfluous buttons, unnecessary drop-shoulders and so many holes. Perhaps I should have lowered my expectations, I was bargain-hunting after all, but I kept hoping my persistence might reverse the logic that inexpensive sweaters don’t last. When I forked over more, they met the same fate. My growing stack became a representation of my blind optimism and idiocy instead of hygge-fueled prosperity. It’s a story of unrequited love, if you think about.

Then last year, lightning finally struck. When I moved to New York in March of 2016, I stayed with my sister for two months. I padded around her home as if I owned the place, like only a little sister would, and in doing so started wearing a gray sweater she kept draped over the back of her couch. I became obsessed. It was everything I ever wanted in a sweater: thick, structured, soft, comfortable, roomy. My sister is a curator of nice things, and so I assumed it was very expensive without checking for myself. When I finally asked and she told me it was $55 and probably still available at & Other Stories, I flipped out, like only a sweaterpath would, and bought two.

A year and a half and hundreds of wears later, they’re still great. They pill a little bit (see left) but they don’t shape-shift, they’re very warm and you can wash and hang dry them, no problem. They’re just easy. I wish I’d gone for medium instead of small (size up, IMO), but that’s just user-error. This sweater is great for the price, and the only one in memory I’ve never regret buying. Also, it’s still available!

Then a month ago, it met a contender. While having an office-wide discussion about the elusive end-all-be-all sweater, Harling and Amelia shared anecdotes about the same sweater, setting off all our most melodramatic alarm bells. Harling said that she ran into a couple friends the other day who were both wearing the same navy blue Everlane knit. When she pointed this out, friend #2 said she’d been waiting all weekend for friend #1 to stop wearing hers so she could wear her own identical version. But it never happened, so she finally resigned to matching. Amelia said that at a recent breakfast with Roxanne Assoulin, she noticed Roxanne wearing that very same sweater. After asking where it was from and hearing Roxanne rave, she immediately put one in her cart.

As a sucker deeply wooed by coincidence, I became convinced it would be the finale to my lifelong hunt. It’s called the Waffle Knit Cashmere Square Crew, and once I finally got it in my hands this week, I understood the hype. It’s incredibly soft, falls boxy in a good way and looks expensive up close (and is, relatively, at $155). It’s still early days, (and also hard to photograph, sry), but it feels nicer than my gray one, and just may usurp it.

Still, I remain forever on the hunt. Maybe I’m just greedy but such a short stack leaves room for desire. If you have a sweater that hits all the marks, please share below because I never give up on a dream. And if you’re looking for more options, here are some other recs from the team.

Feature photo via Everlane. 

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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