The Best Cashmere Essentials for Travel

Our top pick, Naadam, offers stylish, sustainable cashmere in so many styles.

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Fashion Sweaters

Everlane, Cuyana, J Crew

There’s nothing quite like cashmere for getting that “swaddled in a cloud” feeling and, even when you’re on the road or trying to get cozy on a plane, why shouldn't you be wrapped in luxury fabrics as you go? A type of wool that comes from a specific breed of goat, cashmere is soft and warm while still staying super breathable. Just make sure you don’t throw it in your washing machine — cashmere should ideally be hand-washed, or dry-cleaned as a second choice.

Our favorite cashmere pick is Naadam’s Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater. The luxuriously soft sweater comes in a fairly wide size range, dozens of colors, and a guarantee of ethical and sustainable practices at accessible prices. But if you’re looking for something a little different, take a look at our complete list of the best cashmere essentials available — there’s a pick for everyone.

These are the best cashmere products for travel:

Best Overall: Nadaam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater

Cashmere Sweater

Amazon

Why We Love It: This soft, stylish, and versatile sweater is as affordable as cashmere comes.

What to Consider: The cashmere tends to pill quickly (though the company insists it’ll only happen once, and a cashmere comb can help with it).

Naadam has generated a ton of buzz with its cozy, super-soft $75 essential cashmere sweater that comes in 11 standard colors and 17 limited edition hues. Most of the colors are versatile enough to be dressed up with a skirt, heels, and jewelry, or dressed down with jeans and sneakers. Plus, you’re not going to find cashmere of this quality for a price this low anywhere else. All Naadam cashmere is brushed off of goats in Mongolia, and the company also works with the Gobi Revival Fund and other nonprofits to ensure sustainability and a positive impact on both the environment and community. 

Sizes: XXS–XXL | Care instructions: Hand wash cold, dry flat, or dry clean

Best Turtleneck: Everlane Oversized Stroopwafel Turtleneck in ReCashmere

Everlane Sweater

Everlane

Why We Love It: A waffle knit and loose fit keep this turtleneck looking cool.

What to Consider: Some say the recycled cashmere pills a little more than usual.

Sure, you could go for the tight black Steve Jobs-style turtleneck, but we prefer something a little more forgiving for days on the road. Enter the Stroopwafel Turtleneck from Everlane. The elongated neckline, draped sleeves, and boxy, relaxed fit mean this sweater will be comfortable whether you’re keeping warm on a train ride or strolling autumn streets, without any of the slight choking feeling that can come from tighter turtlenecks. The waffle-knit texture adds some extra visual interest. Even better, it’s made from recycled cashmere, so there’s minimal waste involved. Men can find a similar recycled chunky knit in the ReCashmere Waffle Henley, and Everlane also has plenty of equally high-quality, sleeker sweaters, if that’s what you prefer.

Sizes: XXS–XL | Care instructions: Hand wash cold, dry flat, or dry clean

Best Patterned Sweater: Leret Leret Cashmere

Leret Leret Cashmere Crew Neck

Leret Leret

Why We Love It: The patterns are engaging without risking looking dated.

What to Consider: All sweaters are only available as medium-weight crewnecks.

If you want something a little more fun without looking aggressively dated (after all, you’ll want it to last a while considering the level of investment), Leret Leret makes some of the best patterned cashmere around. All of their sweaters are unisex and designed with a relaxed fit and ribbed cuffs, collar, and hem. They’re also all made of medium-weight Mongolian cashmere, so you’ll stay plenty cozy and can layer as needed. Go for a sleek black with pops of color with the no. 29, bright and abstract with no. 34, or something sunny with no. 13.

Sizes: XXS–XXL  Care instructions: Dry clean or hand wash cold

Best Recycled: Patagonia Men’s Recycled Cashmere Quarter-zip Sweater

Men's Recycled Cashmere Quarter-zip Sweater

Patagonia

Why We Love It: You’d never guess this stylish, versatile basic also has plenty of eco cred.

What to Consider: It’s only available in two colors.

We’re big fans of Patagonia’s emphasis on sustainability across their brand, and even more so when it comes in the form of extra-soft outdoor wear. This men’s quarter-zip is made from pre-consumer cashmere waste that’s then sorted, broken down, and spun into new yarn — and then turned into one of these attractive sweaters made of 95 percent recycled cashmere and 5 percent wool for extra strength. Any virgin wool used is also sourced under the Responsible Wool Standard

Sizes: XS–XXL | Care instructions: Not listed

Best Striped Sweater: La Ligne Marin Sweater

La Ligne Marin Sweater

La Ligne

Why We Love It: Whoever said stripes are boring didn’t see how many colors this design comes in.

What to Consider: The sweater is only 30 percent cashmere.

Stripes are always a classic, especially if you’re going for a touch of French-inspired chic. And with 11 different color patterns to choose from, La Ligne’s Marin sweater lets you apply this timeless design to whatever your wardrobe palette is, whether that’s a classically nautical navy and cream, pastel hues in pink or mint, or a confetti-esque burgundy. The chunky sweater is made from seven-ply knit with 30 percent cashmere and 70 percent wool construction and has an oversized fit so you can dress it up or down. There’s also a Mini Marin that’s available in even more colors if you prefer an extra cropped silhouette.

Sizes: XS–XL | Care instructions: Hand wash, line dry

Best Budget: Italic Essential Cashmere Crewneck Sweater

italic cashmere sweater

Italic

Why We Love It: Italic’s manufacturing practices keep their prices low without sacrificing quality.

What to Consider: The size range isn’t as broad as some other brands, and may run small.

Italic focuses on keeping their prices low by cutting out the middleman and selling their products directly from the factory to the consumer — which is how you can grab this classic sweater for a much lower price tag than some other outlets. It’s made of 12-gauge, 100 percent cashmere, so it has a super-soft hand feel, and comes in five colors, including a deep minty green that we love. If you aren’t committed to the crew neck, there are multiple other styles available from V-neck to cardigan or hoodie. Men have an equally wide variety of options, with a crew neck, V-neck, zip-up hoodie, and cardigan all on offer.

Sizes: XS–XL  | Care instructions: Dry clean only

Best Size Range: Universal Standard Essential Cashmere Crew

Universal Standard Essential Cashmere Crew

Universal Standard

Why We Love It: This classic staple is affordable and available in a large size range.

What to Consider: Some people may find the brand’s sizing to be confusing initially.

Everyone deserves to be cozy, so we appreciate Universal Standard’s wide range of sizes all the way from 4XS (00-0) through 4XL (38-40). Choose from a crew neck or V-neck sweater; the crew has more colors available including some special edition hues, while the V-neck offers four classic neutrals. Both styles are made from pill-resistant, 100 percent cashmere, and the brand says they’re ideal for layering. They’re also on the pleasantly low end of the pricing spectrum without sacrificing quality. Just check the size chart before you order, as Universal Standard’s sizing doesn’t align with most other industry size charts.

Sizes: 4XS–4XL | Care instructions: Dry clean or hand wash cold, dry flat

Best Cardigan: Kule The Sinclair

The Sinclair

Kule

Why We Love It: A colorful trim gives this classic cut a chic twist.

What to Consider: The body is cut long, so it may be too long for shorter wearers (or just extra cozy).

A classic cardigan is never out of style, but it doesn’t hurt to give it some extra flair to take it out of librarian territory. The Sinclair from Kule takes the cardigan cut and adds interest with vertical ribbing and a bright, bi-color trim along the collar and down the middle, as well as on the cuffs. Even better: It has pockets. Two, to be precise, in the form of patch pockets on the front of the body. The sweater is made of 100 percent ribbed cashmere and cut long in the body so you don’t have to worry about it creeping up as you walk around or try to get comfortable in an airplane seat.

Sizes: XS–XL | Care instructions: Dry clean only

Best Wrap: Cuyana Wool Cashmere Short Wrap Coat

Wool Cashmere Short Wrap Coat

Cuyana

Why We Love It: This coat adds a bit of edgier style to staying warm.

What to Consider: There is more wool than cashmere in here for structure.

Keep even your outermost layer soft with this cashmere-blend coat from Cuyana. The slim sleeves and exaggerated lapels are extremely chic while still keeping you comfortably wrapped up against any potential chill. Leave it open for a flowy effect or cinch the attached belt at the waist to add some shape. If you’re a cashmere purist, this isn’t the coat for you; the coat is 82 percent virgin wool, 10 percent cashmere, and 8 percent polyamide for durability and structure. The wool is all RWS certified for some sustainability cred, which means the wool is “sourced from farms with a holistic respect for the welfare of the sheep and the land they graze on.”

Sizes: XS/S, M/L, and XL | Care instructions: Dry clean or hand wash cold, dry flat

Best T-shirt: Quince Mongolian Cashmere Tee

Cashmere tee

Quince

Why We Love It: It’s light enough for summer while still maintaining that cashmere softness.

What to Consider: T-shirts do tend to get dirtier than sweaters, so make sure you take care of this one.

Why save the soft clothing for the winter? Natural fibers like cashmere are super breathable, so you can wear them into warmer seasons with options like this t-shirt from direct-to-consumer brand, Quince. The super-soft, 150-gram cashmere is sourced from Mongolia and comes in nine different shades ranging from easy neutrals to summer-appropriate sherbet hues so you’ll always be able to find a match. Just keep in mind that t-shirts tend to get a lot more wear than some other items of clothing and this one does require extra maintenance, so you’ll have to be vigilant in its care. We also love their batwing sweater if you’re looking for something unique for chillier times.

Sizes: XS–XL | Care instructions: Hand wash cold, dry flat or dry clean with delicate detergent

Best Splurge: Loro Piana Opera Stole

Loro Piana Opera Stole

Loro Piana

Why We Love It: This timeless piece can be used across the travel spectrum.

What to Consider: A large scarf isn’t always the easiest item to pack, but it is incredibly versatile.

This is an investment piece, but if you’re looking for high-end cashmere, Loro Piana is the brand you want. A simple scarf never goes out of style, especially a larger one like this that can also be used as a wrap (or even a blanket, in desperate travel times). It will always fit you, no matter how much your body may fluctuate. Loro Piana adds their signature “frisson” finish, which they say “gives the fabric sheen and adds luminosity to the colors.” It comes in 11 hues, including soft shadow gold or strawberry frosting, classic black and white, and deep jewel tones like lake turquoise and pear red.

Sizes: One size | Care instructions: Dry clean

Tips for Buying Cashmere

Decide how you want your cashmere to fit

Though wool has been previously known for its shrinkage, if you take care of cashmere properly, its sizing should stay the same. But you still need to consider your preferred style: Do you want a fitted sweater to wear on its own, or do you prefer to layer? What will you be wearing under or over it?

Understand care expectations

Be honest with yourself, are you really going to go to the dry cleaner? Luckily for those less errand-inclined, the best way to take care of cashmere is actually to hand wash it. If you’re opposed to fussy laundry, check the tags to make sure you’ll actually take care of your purchase before buying.

Keep storage in mind

Sadly, one cannot always wear their cashmere sweaters year-round. Never hang your sweaters (or anything wool, for that matter), as it will cause distortion in the shape. Simply fold them and store them flat. Make sure they’re clean before you put them away for the season, and consider adding a cedar block or scented sachet to keep moths away.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What exactly is cashmere?

    Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from goats, specifically the pashmina and cashmere breeds. It gets its name from the Kashmir region of India, where these goats can be found. According to the brand Quince, cashmere is three times as warm as wool and comes in three grades: A, B, and C, with A being the highest quality and most durable. The longer the fibers, the softer they are.

  • How do I wash cashmere?

    By hand, and only by hand if you want to keep your garments in their best shape. Even dry cleaning can be bad for the delicate fibers, but it’s the second-best option if you don’t want to handle the cleaning yourself. Naadam recommends washing with baby shampoo.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Rena Behar has been covering travel gear and other products for outlets including Travel + Leisure, Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, New York magazine, and more since 2014, and is a longtime cozy sweater enthusiast. For this article, she used her personal experience as well as research to create the perfect list of cashmere essentials for your next trip.

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