Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Sweaters

Sweaters are a winter wardrobe staple, but they’re also versatile enough to suit any style. A solid rotation of form-fitting and oversized sweaters is key to a warm, well-rounded wardrobe. The fabric your sweater is made from plays a significant role in the warmth it provides as well. If you’re shopping for a sweater in a brick-and-mortar store, run your hand over the material before you buy it. If it feels scratchy, cheap, or not as nice against your skin as you think it should, consider passing on the item.

If it feels soft and pliable, on the other hand, it likely has a good quality yarn in it. Wool and cashmere are the highest quality, while polyester and acrylic blends may feel stiff or even plasticky. When in doubt, opt for a natural fiber like cotton or wool, which will provide more warmth than polyester or acrylic.

Cotton is a great fabric for sweaters, especially if you’re looking for something light and airy to wear in warmer weather. It’s a quick and easy fabric to care for, resists wrinkling, and is hypoallergenic. But keep in mind that cotton does not hold heat once it gets wet, and tends to feel wet against your skin (compared to wool which can retain 30% of its weight in water).

If you’re on the hunt for a heavier, thicker sweater for cold weather, try a cotton-wool or acrylic-cotton-rayon blend. For the best results, hand wash your sweaters in cool water and use a mild detergent. Avoid putting your sweaters in the dryer, as this can cause them to stretch and lose their shape. When done, wring your sweater gently and lay it flat on a clean towel to dry.

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