The Best Versatile Sweaters and Sweatshirts for Women

Naadam’s classic cashmere sweater earned our top pick.

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Best Versatile Sweatshirts Tout

Naadam, Lululemon, and La Linge

As summer draws to a close, the bi-annual wardrobe changeover is imminent. And that always means one thing: sweaters. There are the perennial staples, like turtlenecks and layerable crewnecks. And then there are statement sweaters that you can build an outfit around — think bold chunky knits, prints, and classic silhouettes rendered in vibrant hues.

There are many versatile options, but our favorite is Naadam’s Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater, which is excellent value. High-street powerhouses (H&M, Uniqlo, Mango, et al) also have a variety of sweaters that look and feel much more expensive than they are. Or, if you’re looking for something more formal that will translate from day to night, consider a sophisticated statement knit from Sandro or Maje.

Here is our breakdown of the best versatile sweaters and sweatshirts for women:

Best Overall: Nadaam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater

Nadaam Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater


Why We Love It: This classic cashmere sweater is a steal given its low price.

What to Consider: It can pill over time if it’s not cared for properly; use a fabric shaver for maintenance.

Everyone needs a cashmere sweater in their wardrobe, and this Naadam style is super affordable without compromising on quality. Not only can it be dressed up or down, there are 26 different colors (core neutrals, limited edition, and seasonal shades) and an extended size range (XXS-XXL), so there is something for everyone. Other highlights? It’s made from 100 percent sustainably sourced cashmere from Mongolia with odor-blocking properties (ideal for activity when you’re layered up over winter). Plus, it’s breathable, wrinkle-free, and medium weight, so you can wear it under coats without feeling too constrained, but it’s also thick enough to wear alone. All in all, it’s the perfect sweater that won’t break the bank.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Material: Mongolian cashmere

Best Customizable: Lingua Franca Custom Women’s Crewneck

Lingua Franca Custom Women’s Crewneck

Lingua Franca

Why We Love It: You can add your own text or symbols, so it’s totally unique and can have sentimental value. 

What to Consider: You will need to allow three weeks for the embroidery to be completed, so order in advance.

Lingua Franca translates to “common language,” and that is what you can find on the New York-based brand’s sweatshirts. Zeitgeisty lines like “I’m speaking” and “my body my choice” are sewn in, and there are capsule collections designed with iconic destinations such as Le Sirenuse and the Crow’s Nest. If you want a sweatshirt that doubles as a conversation starter, check the fall collection, or if you want a piece you can personalize with something sentimental (children’s initials, wedding date, etc.), head to the custom shop.

Sizes: XS-3XL | Material: Sustainably sourced cashmere

Best Striped: La Ligne Mini Marina Sweater

La Ligne Mini Marina Sweater

La Ligne

Why We Love It: Breton stripes never go out of style, and La Ligne does them best.

What to Consider: It’s hand wash or dry clean only.

La Ligne’s collections are built around simple silhouettes and a trend that never dies: stripes. The Mini Marina Sweater is an iteration of the best-selling Marin style in a cropped, chunky cotton. There are various color combinations available beyond the classic black on white, including an elegant mint and gold, cream and cobalt, or navy on ivory. The brand was created by two Vogue editors and Rag & Bone alumni in 2016, and its fashion credentials shine through in everything from the design to the quality.

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Cotton

Best Lounge: Eberjey Softest Sweats Slouchy Top

Eberjey Softest Sweats Slouchy Top


Why We Love It: Like Eberjey’s luxuriously soft pajamas, this sweater is a dream to lounge in. 

What to Consider: It has an elastic hemline.

Since adding a newborn to our family, I’ve spent more time wearing Eberjey pajamas than regular clothes. And the sweater sets are just as luxurious to lounge in, made from a deliciously soft, breathable fabric. The versatile sweaters are offered in a calming color palette, like this creamy white from Amazon, or there’s a gorgeous limited edition pastel blue shade available on the Eberjey website

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Tencel modal, spandex

Best Athletic: Lululemon Perfectly Oversized Cropped Crew

Lululemon Perfectly Oversized Cropped Crew


Why We Love It: The fabric is smooth and quick-drying, so it’s great to wear to a workout class.

What to Consider: You’ll want to machine wash cold with like colors only.

You can rely on Lululemon for elevated athleisure, and this sweater is as stylish as it is functional. It’s cropped with lantern sleeves and there are six different shades available, but the strawberry milkshake is our favorite. The fabric is the brand’s trademarked Softstreme, which is stretchy, smooth, and quick-drying, making it the perfect workout attire for fall. Pair it with capri leggings and a pair of chunky white sneakers and you’ve also got a go-to outfit for the morning coffee run. 

Sizes: 0-20 | Material: Recycled polyester, lenzing modal, elastane

Best Budget: H&M Rib Knit Sweater

H&M Rib Knit Sweater


Why We Love It: It’s under $20 but looks anything but cheap. 

What to Consider: The hemline is quite loose, so you’ll need to tuck it in if you want a more streamlined look.

Fast fashion gets a bad rap, but H&M’s Conscious Choice collection is made with a minimum of 50 percent sustainable materials, so it’s a move in the right direction. Good news to the fashion enthusiasts who like to experiment with trends and colors that wouldn’t always be an obvious choice, like this minty green rib-knit sweater. It has an oversized fit with dropped shoulders and a round, wide neckband that feels very Acne.

Sizes: XS-XXL | Material: Polyester, acrylic, wool, spandex

Best Cashmere: Vince Boiled Cashmere Funnel Neck Sweater

Vince Boiled Cashmere Funnel Neck Sweater


Why We Love It: It is incredibly soft and built to last.

What to Consider: It’s a dry-clean-only piece at a higher price point.

Elevated essentials can always be found at Vince, and this cashmere pullover is a timeless staple. The fabric is luxuriously soft, and the high funnel neck provides extra warmth for the cooler days ahead. It’s lovely to lounge in but equally appropriate for wearing into the office or for more formal occasions; just pair with a mini skirt and over-the-knee leather boots for a sophisticated fall look.

Sizes: XXS-XL | Material: Boiled cashmere

Best Short-sleeve: Boden Cashmere Knitted Top

Boden Cashmere Knitted Top


Why We Love It: It’s perfect to pair with a skirt and heels for the office or for formal occasions. 

What to Consider: It can be a bit itchy.

Boden has been all about everyday essentials since it launched with an eight-piece collection in 1991. And what could be more essential than a short-sleeve T-shirt sweater? It’s one of the most versatile staples that can make getting dressed between seasons a lot easier. Add a chunky gold necklace and a mini skirt for an evening ensemble, or pair with wide-leg trousers and flats for something more casual. This classic style is made from 100 percent cashmere and is available in black, navy, and charcoal. 

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Cashmere

Best Cardigan: Sandro Wool Cardigan

Sandro Wool Cardigan


Why We Love It: It’s perfect for a cozy-yet-formal evening look. 

What to Consider: Depending on your style, you may want to wear another shirt underneath it.

Since Khaite’s matching cardigan-and-bra moment went viral in 2019, the combination has been a favored fall look. And Parisian label Sandro has one of the most elegant sets on the market. Whether you’re pairing it with the matching bra top or wearing it buttoned up as a standalone piece, this ivory wool cardigan is the perfect transitional style for fall. It has a V-neck with bejeweled buttons and sleeves that hit just below the elbow. 

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Wool

Best Boatneck: Mango Boatneck Knitted Sweater

Mango Boatneck Knitted Sweater


Why We Love It: It’s a feminine and flattering cut.

What to Consider: It has raw edges, so beware of pilling.

Made from recycled acrylic, this Mango boatneck is timelessly stylish. It comes in three gorgeous tones (rose pink, sky blue, and terracotta) and has a streamlined, straight cut. It’s a medium knit, but it feels lighter and sits just above the hip. Versatile enough to wear as a top for a night out or as a layer under a chunky cardigan or a coat, it’s an affordable staple.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Material: Acrylic, polyester, polyamide

Best Turtleneck: Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Ribbed Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Sweater

Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Ribbed Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Sweater


Why We Love It: It’s insulating but lightweight.

What to Consider: For some people, standard wool can be itchier on the skin than other warm fabrics (like cashmere).

Uniqlo is a haven of affordable winter essentials, and this classic turtleneck is a good layering piece to have in your arsenal. It’s available in jewel tones, like a rich green, violet, and olive, along with versatile neutrals. The length hits mid-hip, so it’s easy to tuck into a skirt or trousers. One thing to note is the quickly moving stock at Uniqlo: buy before Thanksgiving if you want your desired size and shade in time for cold weather.

Sizes: XXS-XXL | Material: Wool

Best Cropped: Reformation Luisa Cropped Sweater

Reformation Luisa Cropped Sweater


Why We Love It: It's at the intersection between being luxe and laid-back.

What to Consider: The turtleneck is very long.

Reformation’s dreamy dresses and sandals are always coveted styles over summer, but the sustainable brand also has an impressive range of staples for fall, too, like this cropped cashmere sweater. Available in three earthy colors, this loose-fitting ribbed sweater is something that is sure to be on heavy rotation during the cooler months. It has a blouson sleeve with a cuff that adds volume without making it too uncomfortable to wear under a coat.

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Cashmere

Best Embellished: Maje Detailed Sleeve Pullover

Maje Detailed Sleeve Pullover


Why We Love It: It screams French-girl glamor and gets top marks for comfort.

What to Consider: The sleeves are voluminous so it can be a bit bulky under a coat.

Effortless glamor is something that Parisian brand Maje is renowned for, and this detailed pullover is one of the most stylish sweaters of the season. It channels ‘90s Versace vibes with bold gold buttons lining the shoulders and an oversized, slightly cropped cut. The buttons aren’t the only interesting detail; it also has a defined texture, with an angled rib knit leading into a central line down the mid-section. The creamy color is versatile, and it pairs beautifully with virtually anything from denim to tailored suiting. 

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Composition: Viscose, polyester, polyamide

Best Luxury: Dior V-Neck Sleeveless Sweater

Dior V-Neck Sleeveless Sweater


Why We Love It: It’s the most sophisticated rendition of the sweater vest trend.

What to Consider: As you would expect with luxury apparel, it is an investment.

If you’re looking to purchase one trend piece for the season, make it a sweater vest. And if you want to invest in the best version on the market, opt for this elegant style from Dior. This blue and gray sleeveless sweater is inspired by American varsity style, with a contrasting band embellishing the waist featuring the Christian Dior signature. It is crafted in a luxurious blend of cashmere mouliné and wool and is perfect for wearing under coats, given it won’t bunch. Add a T-shirt underneath for a casual-yet-polished look or wear it alone with denim and pumps for an elevated fall look.

Sizes: 34-46 EU | Material: Wool, cashmere

Tips for Buying Sweaters and Sweatshirts

Consider how and where you’ll wear it

Is it a piece for layering? Something to wear to the office to insulate from the air conditioning? Or perhaps something formal for dining al fresco as the seasons change? If you are seeking something warm for winter, cashmere can’t be beaten. Merino wool is also a good option. Or if you want a breathable layer, opt for cotton or viscose.

Keep Seasonal Trends in Mind

This season, bold is better. Bright knits, particularly in bright green or hot pink, are huge right now. “Look for interesting details like jeweled buttons, boyfriend shapes and bell sleeves to inject interest,” says Olivela’s Chief Merchant, Maria Milano.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I wash my sweaters?

    Always check the care instructions — it will vary depending on the fabric. For cashmere and wool, usually cold hand wash or dry clean is best. And whatever you do, don’t tumble dry.

  • How should I store my sweaters?

    “Always fold instead of hanging so your pieces don’t ‘grow’ and use a shaver every few months to get rid of pilling,” advises Milano. Need inspiration? Check California Closets’ advice on how to display and organize different pieces of clothing.

  • How should I fold a sweatshirt?

    Reference Marie Kondo’s KonMari folding technique — it works like a charm every time. Here are the steps:

    1. Lay flat with the sleeves spread out
    2. Fold the right side with the sleeve over and down so it creates a triangle, and repeat on the left side, so you are left with a rectangle shape.
    3. Start from the top and fold inward.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Amy Louise Bailey drew on her decade-plus career in the fashion and luxury industry to curate an inspiring edit to suit various occasions. She also spoke with designers, leading multi-brand retailers, and personal shoppers to obtain insights on the most popular sweater styles and the trends.

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