I Swear by This $75 Cashmere Sweater That I've Worn on 6 Continents

It’s the softest thing I own, and it’s still holding up after five years.

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Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater Womens Tout

Like most people, I can’t afford to fly first class. But before you feel sorry for me, hear me out. I can afford to buy cashmere essentials that make flying in coach more comfortable. Even if I’m in a middle seat in the very last row, I feel like a queen if cashmere is involved. 

My obsession with the luxe material all started with the best-selling $75 Naadam Essential Sweater. It was my first (and at the rate it’s holding up will probably be my last) cashmere piece. And yes, I got it for just $75. Initially, I thought the price was a typo because it’s hard to come by 100 percent cashmere sweaters for under $100. But it wasn’t. In fact, the sweater has been $75 for years. I got my sweater in 2018 and despite inflation, the price hasn’t gone up by a single cent. 

The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater Womens

To buy: naadam.co, $75

I think the sticker shock, albeit the positive kind, is the main reason this sweater is so popular. It has a perfect five-star average rating from more than 2,500 reviews across both the men’s and women’s versions.. The sweater has a classic crewneck cut with ribbed details on the collar, cuffs, and hem. Currently, it comes in 11 core colors in women’s sizing, including classics like white, black, and navy, as well as 17 limited edition colors including more unique options like pop pink, frost green, and amethyst purple.

Over the last four years, my beloved Naadam sweater has traveled with me to every continent except Antarctica (and that’s only because I haven’t been there yet). I’ve paired it with my favorite Lululemon joggers on the streets of Paris, where I like to think I looked just as fashionable as the French women in their designer duds, and more recently, I’ve worn it to five-course dinners at Hotel Paracas and The Westin Lima — two of the fanciest  five-star hotels in Peru. This sweater definitely looks like it cost more than it did. 

More importantly, it feels more expensive than a $75 sweater. On Naadam’s softness scale, which ranges from soft to softest ever, the Essential Sweater is classified as “heavenly soft.” I own six cashmere sweaters, including this comfy cable knit hoodie from Gobi Cashmere, and my Naadam sweater is just as soft as my more expensive sweaters costing up to $300.

The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater Womens

Naadam

To buy: naadam.co, $75

The secret to this sweater’s softness is the Mongolian cashmere sourced from goats raised in the remote Gobi Desert. Cashmere fibers are six times finer than human hair, so picture a fabric even more silky and smooth than those luscious locks seen in shampoo commercials. And because it gets so cold in Mongolia (think: -40 degrees Fahrenheit) the fibers are extra long, which make them extremely warm when they’re woven into a sweater.

Unlike other companies who will get their cashmere from just any old goat, Naadam only uses cashmere from Zalaa Jinst white goats sustainably herded and hand combed (as opposed to sheared, which is quite stressful for the animal, according to the brand). The company also started a fund that supports 1,000 herders and their families and offers veterinary care for more than 250,000 goats. 

The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater Womens

To buy: naadam.co, $75

So how is Naadam able to offer this sweater at such a low price if it’s giving so much back to the community? It’s simple. Naadam’s co-founders personally traveled throughout Mongolia and have established relationships with herders so they can eliminate the middlemen. Instead, Naadam buys directly from the herders and pays fair prices. 

I love Naadam’s backstory as much as I love this sweater. And it’s why I’ll never hesitate to buy another one. That said, my original sweater is still holding up pretty well, which says a lot about the quality given how it’s traveled the world with me. It’s also survived more than its fair share of washings. Naadam recommends handwashing with baby shampoo, but I always just put my sweater in my washing machine on the hand wash setting and use this best-selling Woolite detergent made for delicates. Then I air dry it so it doesn’t shrink. The sweater comes in sizes XXS to XXL. (I’m about 5’4 and 115 pounds, and the small fits perfectly.)

In a few weeks I’ll board United’s new non-stop flight from Washington, D.C. to Cape Town, South Africa. It will be 16 straight hours of sitting in economy, where I’ll probably only get one armrest and my legroom will be limited at best. Still, I know that if I wear this sweater, and pair it with my cashmere blanket and eye mask, I’ll feel like I’m in first class.

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