There’s nothing like reaching for a warm, cozy sweater when it’s cold out. But, before you run out to buy the fuzziest sweater you can find, check out our rundown of the different fabrics you might come across.
If you’re looking for natural materials, sheep’s wool is hard to beat. It comes in a range of different warmth and softness levels. There are several types of wool that you’ll come across:
- Merino: This well-loved wool is the softest you’ll find on the market.
- Lambswool: This is made using the first shearing of a sheep. It's not as expensive as Merino wool, but more costly than Shetland.
- Shetland: This is the cheapest variation of wool. It’s a lot coarser than the other two and might cause itchiness.
The advantage of sheep's wool is that it's a natural fiber. It breathes well and helps your body regulate its temperature. The downside is that caring for it is a bit of a pain. It should be hand washed gently and laid out flat to dry. You should not use a washing machine or dryer.
This wool is taken from goats. It's soft and has a subtle sheen to it. The downside is that it's pricey and that care is complicated. Most garment makers will recommend having it dry-cleaned only.
Cotton is another natural fiber. The advantage here is that it's breathable and care is easy. You can chuck it in the washer or dryer as you like. It does show wrinkles, so that's not ideal. But, overall, it provides comfortable protection from extremes of temperature.
It might seem strange to talk about a linen sweater. You don't find them that often. Typically, linen is for warmer climates. That said, the fabric is breathable and durable, so it has some great qualities. On the downside, it creases very significantly.
It's also going to be challenging to find a sweater entirely made from silk. That said, silk may be added in a blend. It's durable and breathable. It's ideal for regulating your body temperature in heat and the cold.
On the downside, silk can be trickier. It should usually go to the dry cleaner.
There is a wide range of synthetic materials used in sweater-making. The upside of using these fibers is that they’re cheaper and easier to care for. The downside is that they don’t breathe as well.
So, which is the best material for a sweater? That depends on what qualities matter the most to you. For our money, it's a good idea to have at least one cashmere sweater. It's a timeless classic that won't date quickly.
That said, it would become expensive if you tried to buy a few. That’s where we’d consider adding in some of the synthetic materials to the mix.