Thank You for Coming to my Cashmere TED Talk

woman in a camel colored sweater, cream jeans, and brown knee-high boots walking towards the camera

There's something about fall where I gravitate towards warm neutrals.  It's like I want to match nature with autumnal hues seen in the drying grasses and falling leaves. It's the time of year where I love wearing camel, gold jewelry, cream, ivory, and brown leather with pops of pumpkin, scarlet, and emerald.  

woman in a camel colored sweater, cream jeans, and brown knee-high boots walking towards the camera

sweater | jeans | boots | belt | scarf | bracelet | earrings

woman in cream jeans and a camel cashmere sweater leaning against a log cabin

Sweater: Halogen (large) | Jeans: Slim Ankle Jeans c/o Talbots (12P) | Belt: Beast Belt c/o cabi (L) | Scarf: Deidre Scarf c/o cabi (old; similar concept) | Bracelet: Tudor Cuff c/o cabi | Earrings: Quinn Hoops c/o Jenny Bird | Boots: c/o DUO Boots (old; similar)

woman in a camel colored sweater, cream jeans, and brown knee-high boots walking towards the camera

I love the Nordstrom in-house brand Halogen… but I don't love their cashmere sweaters.  They start off super soft and lovely but they pill like nobody's business.  Also, I don't get the not quite tunic, not quite standard length with the split hem.  If you wear it untucked it hits at a really weird spot on many people; if you tuck it in you can't blouse it out much or else the splits will show.  I'll be honest, I bought this sweater (again, because I owned this same Halogen cashmere sweater in 2016 which is why I know these sweaters aren't great) with an old gift card for a sponsored post going live next Wednesday.  I like the color of camel, I like the softness, I like that it's not super bulky and figured it would work with a few looks and I'd just baby it.  Maybe it's better quality three years later? I wore it for two shoots – this one and the one you'll see next week.  Then I went to lunch, ran some errands, came home and took off the jeans and switched into knit pants to work on my computer and by the end of the day I had a bald spot under one arm and the sides of my boobs were coated in fuzz balls.  That's complete BS, Halogen.  So I returned it.  I want to be completely honest with you.  I know some of you like this sweater but for my shape and how I move, it sucked back in 2016 and it still sucks in 2019. But you know what cashmere I have that I love? 

My Picks for Quality Cashmere Sweaters:

All great choices, better than Halogen.  If I have inspired you to buy Halogen cashmere, I am sorry.  I won't be suggesting it any longer.  If you have a cashmere brand you swear by share it in the comments so we can all be better consumers.  I don't care what a sweater costs, if it can't survive a single day of average activity, it's a waste.  And such waste can't be donated, it's sent off to the landfill. For years I didn't buy cashmere because I couldn't deal with the care it requires.  I stuck to merino wool, which looks polished, can oftentimes be machine washed on gentle, and is less likely to pill.  I bought a Nordstrom Signature cashmere sweater on clearance and was hooked on cashmere.  And clearly from my list above I've tried several brands.  Cashmere isn't worth it if it can't survive your life.  You don't need cashmere in your life, even though every blog and website will be pushing it hardcore from now until Christmas Eve. You deserve clothing that can survive the day, clothing that deserves your hard-earned money.  Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

woman in a camel colored sweater, cream jeans, and brown knee-high boots walking towards the camera

So let's talk about the rest of the look.  These jeans from Talbots, I already have them in blue and asked for them in cream.  Like white jeans, these are a lighter-weight denim than the blue, but not so stretchy that you end up looking like you're wearing a diaper at the end of the day. I think I'm best with a 12 regular with these for the rise; these hit right where I go in which sort of makes me look a bit lumpy.  I always forget, knowing I need to size down but not that I need to lengthen up. But besides that, I like them.  They, unlike the sweater, held up pretty well and looked great (and were the same size and length) after a trip through the washer and dryer.  FYI, Talbots has their Friends and Family sale going on through October 27th, use FRIENDS at checkout and get 30% off your order.

woman looking down, wearing an orange printed silk scarf at her throat

When I put this outfit together I didn't even realize three accessories were from cabi until I started pulling links.  The scarf is from 2017 and continues to be one of my favorites.  You can see it when I wore the cabi scarf as a belt in the summer of 2017. I bet there are other times I've worn it on the blog, I just couldn't find them right away.  The belt and bracelet are from this season.  I like that the cuff has a hinge so it's easy to get on and off.  And the belt… well I am not ashamed to admit there are three warm leopard calfhair belts in my closet.  I have this one, a slightly slimmer one with a lighter background print I got on clearance from Ann Taylor a few seasons ago, and then a skinny belt from… likely Halogen or Ann Taylor.  And I wear all three.  Leopard is a neutral!

woman in cream jeans and a camel cashmere sweater leaning against a log cabin

These boots show how my body has changed since I started lifting weights five mornings a week.  I have always had big calves.  Like I laugh at 16″ and even 18″ circumference boots because they are no match for my legs. My shins/ankles were even more of an issue, being so thick that even 20″ boots wouldn't zip up over them.  After two years of weight lifting I still need a wide calf… but I can fit into a 17″ boot AND it will zip up over my ankles! These boots are now all slouchy on my ankles because I don't fill them out and the calves so loose I didn't even realize one was folded over during the shoot. When I got these DUO boots back in 2014 (oh gosh, look at that ridiculous outfit I put together because I had to showcase knee-high leather boots in July while sporting a broken arm) they weren't tight but they fit perfectly. Two years later when I was a larger clothing size, they were very snug over thicker jeans. And now… I am wondering if my cobbler may be able to do a nip and tuck here and there!  If you follow me on Instagram Stories you may notice that each Monday I share a post-gym selfie and state my weight.  I weigh only 10 pounds less now than I did when I was a size 16, and am almost the same exact weight I was in this 2014 blog post.  Weight does not determine size, and your weight does not determine your worth.  And I thank you for coming to my second TED Talk, LOL. 

Shop the Look:

85 Comments

  1. Barbara
    October 28, 2019 / 6:55 pm

    I stopped buying cashmere because so much of it pills the second you put it on. I’ve switched over to Merino and love the ones i have from Universal Standard, and a New Zealand brand called Glowing Sky (www.glowingsky.co.nz) In fact, I have to remember to leave room in my suitcase for some new additions.

    • November 4, 2019 / 6:34 pm

      Merino is amazing. It truly is one of the best materials!

  2. October 28, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    I bought a sweater depiller off amazon for $20. Because even good cashmere pills with wear. It is life changing. I had some sweaters that were looking a bit meh and it fixed them up.

    Everlane is my go to for cashmere but I have also heard great things about Marks and Spencer.

    • November 4, 2019 / 6:35 pm

      Brilliant! I need to find my depiller, it’s deep in my linen closet!

  3. Cindy
    October 28, 2019 / 10:46 am

    Several years ago I bought a summer-weight cashmere sweater from LL Bean. I live in the South so cashmere can be a little too warm for me. That sweater pilled like crazy! I let the cat sleep on it.

    • Kayla Jackson
      October 28, 2019 / 11:35 am

      I love cashmere from Lord and Taylor. Their sweaters are sized for petites, plus, and misses. The quality is great! I too hate piling and it’s never been a problem. Colors are gorgeous and they wear well.

  4. Blondie
    October 26, 2019 / 2:23 pm

    I have mostly just given up on cashmere because I cannot find anything that doesn’t get destroyed too fast and I like merino wool (almost always Uniqlo). I have had a few of Ann Taylor’s 95% wool, 5% cashmere sweaters last okay through a few years of heavy wear, and I bought a Magaschoni cashmere sweater on consignment last year that has had minimal pilling after one year of heavy wear. If you can afford $300 sweaters or find one secondhand!

  5. Amy
    October 26, 2019 / 8:53 am

    Love this post! I’m always looking for good cashmere. I’ve found that Vince is the best – but only the heavier sweaters. (I don’t think it works when they try to make cashmere thin). They are expensive but worth it. I’ll be the one minor dissenter on Nordstrom Signature. I have three tunic length cashmere turtlenecks from last year. Incredibly soft and lovely but they’ve pilled like crazy. Maybe I just create too much friction? 🙂 Going to take a sweater shaver to them and see what I can do.

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:31 am

      I didn’t buy any Nordstrom Signature, I do hope they didn’t reduce the quality and it was just a fluke!

      • Jenny
        October 26, 2019 / 8:13 pm

        “I bought a Nordstrom Signature cashmere sweater on clearance and was hooked on cashmere.” I don’t mean to nitpick, but that’s a direct quote from this post. Perhaps you meant it was years ago so it’s not relevant anymore.

        • October 27, 2019 / 11:21 am

          Yes that’s what I meant, I didn’t buy any this year but I have several pieces from years prior and that’s what got me hooked on cashmere after poo-poohing it for the first years of this blog. Good catch!

  6. Laura
    October 25, 2019 / 11:01 am

    Boden cashmere is very nice. Thick and soft. Few sales, but worth waiting for.

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:31 am

      Thank you for letting us know, sounds like I need to try Boden!

    • Erin
      October 27, 2019 / 10:33 pm

      I too like Boden cashmere. Holds up nicely!

  7. Kim D. Smith
    October 25, 2019 / 1:10 am

    I have purchased a couple of Halogen sweaters from Nordstrom.
    I agree with the consensus that they are the worst quality.
    They are not a good value at any price as they pilled badly after one wearing.
    I should of returned but I will wear them to cook spaghetti.
    Purchased a few Eileen Fisher sweaters when they were on deep discount.
    Much better but the best cashmere I purchased a zillion years ago was from Macy’s, a Ralph Lauren twin set.
    Think my granddaughter “borrowed” the cardigan but I still have the T-shirt style shell.
    I find the moths only eat the good stuff.
    If it ever gets cold in San Diego I will be stirring my sauce in cashmere .

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:32 am

      I can’t think of any better way to make spaghetti!

  8. Roons
    October 24, 2019 / 9:14 pm

    The Everlane sweaters… what is the arm length like? I always buy petite for the arms and shoulders.
    Totally agree on Halogen – the last couple of years have gone downhill. I have an old Ann Taylor Cashmere (8 yrs old) still looks awesome- not sure if recent quality is the same. Anyone know?

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:34 am

      I’m 5’3″ and if I let them just go straight they cover most of my hands. I usually push up my sleeves like in my Everlane sweater post, but I have worn them down and the cuffs keep them from getting in the way. I don’t want to assume about Ann Taylor but in the past 8 years they were bought by another company and the quality went down for a lot of their products. I haven’t tried their cashmere though.

      • Roons
        October 27, 2019 / 9:16 am

        Thank you for the info – willing to try with such great reviews.

  9. Jane
    October 24, 2019 / 9:13 pm

    Thanks. If you have done any reading, you know that cashmere has come down in price over the last 20 years. It was once a luxury but is now available at much lower price points. About 20 years ago Chinese and Mongolian farmers began massive production. This has been bad for the environment and the result is lower prices and lower quality.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/12/09/504118819/how-your-cashmere-sweater-is-decimating-mongolias-grasslands

    Still I love the fabric and will try to find a few quality pieces at what I can afford.

  10. Kristina
    October 24, 2019 / 8:21 pm

    Is there any way to fix a cashmere sweater that has some moth holes? I hate to get rid of sweaters that are in otherwise good condition.

  11. Cynthia
    October 24, 2019 / 5:55 pm

    I don’t wear cashmere (or any sweaters) because I am always hot, but my best friend wears Lord & Taylor cashmere crew neck sweaters and loves them, so much so that I think of them as her signature look. She likely has 10 or 12.

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:35 am

      That’s a great choice for a signature look!

  12. Lisa
    October 24, 2019 / 2:18 pm

    I have had the same problem with cashmere. My best luck has been with Neiman Marcus Cashmere Collection which occasionally goes on sale for a decent price. It has held up the best of all of my sweaters. I have some Lord and Taylor that has endured but it seems to depend on the year as not all of it wears the same. Talbots and Everlane are also in my stash. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:36 am

      And thank you for your recommendations!

  13. Teresa
    October 24, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    I’ve had great luck with Garnet Hill ‘s cashmere. It’s pricey but I always pick up a piece or two when they are on sale. Great quality!

    • Lisa S
      October 24, 2019 / 5:09 pm

      Agreed, but with caveats. I have found with the Garnet Hill that you have to be wary of their thinner cashmere* but their cashmere tees (available in summer) and the boxy cropped pullovers they have now have both held up beautifully for me. It’s well worth stalking on sale, and their cashmere goes on sale regularly.

      Land’s End has not offered this product for nigh unto a decade, but their cashmere long-sleeved tees used to be AMAZING for style (very modern, slim cut), quality and price. I had two that wore for nearly a decade until they gave up the ghost, and when I bought a boatneck cashmere sweater from them in, like, 2013 or so, it developed the dreaded armpit holes in a matter of months. Ugh, if you’re listening, Land’s End, bring back the cashmere long-sleeved tee!

      * I had one 3/4-sleeved cashmere sweater that wore a hole in the arm near the armpit after only a few months! What? And I have never had good luck with their gloves.

      • October 26, 2019 / 11:37 am

        Thank you both for these recommendations and warnings!

  14. Ali
    October 24, 2019 / 1:17 pm

    I love both these TED talks. I have had a GAP cashmere sweater that held up decently for the price, something on clearance from Nordstrom Rack that was glorious but I thought it was clean when I put away for season and it came out with mothholes, and now a Lands End one that seems to be holding up nicely.

    • October 26, 2019 / 11:36 am

      It seems the clearance pieces often end up the best! So sorry it ended up with moth holes!

  15. MK
    October 24, 2019 / 11:59 am

    Anyone have experience with Boden’s cashmere?

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:19 pm

      Yes, someone shared below it is quite good! 🙂

  16. Martha
    October 24, 2019 / 11:19 am

    I too have had good luck with Nordstrom Signature, Eileen Fisher, and Pure. I also had a sweater from Vince that was pricey, but I wore it for a decade with minimal pilling. I have also ‘invested’ in some plain cardigans from Eric Bompard. I’ve only had the oldest for 5 years, but so far they are holding up beautifully, and such gorgeous colors!

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you for these suggestions!

    • Annemarie
      October 24, 2019 / 7:53 pm

      Pure also has a repair service, so for about $30, you can get any holes fixed. I haven’t tried it, but sounds great to me.

    • Eliza
      October 31, 2019 / 10:23 pm

      Eric Bompard is amazing. Almost all of my cashmere is from EB and they’ve held up beautifully for years. Their v-neck sweaters are a staple in my winter wardrobe.

      Also, their size charts are dead-on, so ordering from France is pretty risk-free.

  17. Polly
    October 24, 2019 / 11:16 am

    Another recommendation for Lord and Taylor – pretty standard styles, but they have lots of colors. I’ve also had luck with Bloomingdale’s, their C by Bloomingdale’s line. Not super heavy, but nice enough. Both places have excellent sales on cashmere around Black Friday and then again close to and after Christmas.

    • SusieG
      October 24, 2019 / 1:09 pm

      I will second Lord & Taylor! I bought one from a consignment shop and have worn it for two years with minimal pilling. Also agree that there’s are super-basic … but that’s kind of fine with cashmere. Don’t hesitate if you find it used online or in a thrift store.

  18. Caro
    October 24, 2019 / 11:15 am

    I have an older Charter Club cashmere sweater that is closely stitched & maybe got 3 pills. It’s amazing. The cut is straight though & I’ve put on weight, so I’m going to send it on but it was cozy for a long time.

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:23 pm

      Good recommendation, thank you!

    • Ahna
      October 29, 2019 / 3:10 pm

      Only the older/vintage Charter Club -I still have a Johnny collar one (15+ years looks great), but the crew neck (bought 10 years ago) looked awful within a season regardless of care. Haven’t bought since. Look at the knit- if it is super cloud soft it is probably loose twist/knit and will break your heart. Look for a good tight yarn and knit.
      I also have an old (15yr) AT that still looks gorgeous. If only we knew then …

      • Caro
        October 30, 2019 / 3:29 pm

        Wow. That is great information, thank you. I will stop looking at their offerings & hopefully can find older cashmere at a resale store. Whew. Pilly & poorly made cashmere is not worth our time.

  19. October 24, 2019 / 10:43 am

    I love this look and your honesty about the fashions you try out. This was so insightful because I’m looking into purchasing my first cashmere sweater this season and now I know one brand to stay away from! Awesome post!

  20. Marisa
    October 24, 2019 / 10:09 am

    I have an Eileen Fisher cashmere cardigan that I bought on deeeeep clearance and it is the most incredible cashmere I’ve ever owned. Thick, soft, and after a year of heavy usage, no pilling. I can’t afford them at full price (more power to you if you can) but if I ever see one that’s at all doable for me again, I would snatch it up.

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:24 pm

      I forgot about Eileen Fisher, all of the brand’s stuff is good, but yes I too seek out sales!

    • Karen
      October 24, 2019 / 12:43 pm

      Thanks for the info regarding EF cashmere. I’ve had my eye on one but don’t want to pay full price either. I’m waiting patiently for the sale to come around at some point and hope they still have my size.

  21. CG
    October 24, 2019 / 10:03 am

    This look is so cute.

    I’ve had good luck with cashmere from Banana Republic. Very soft, and a negligible amount of pilling.

    Please remind me of the source of the lipstick you’re wearing. I think I need that.

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:24 pm

      Oh that’s good to know, thank you! As for the lipstick it’s Lancome Cerise with Fenty Gloss Bomb in the original color (sort of a beigey shimmer).

      • CG
        October 24, 2019 / 12:37 pm

        Ah — just double-checked the label on the sweater I was thinking of and it’s J Crew, not Banana. Says “Italian Cashmere” for whatever that’s worth.

  22. Christine Petersen
    October 24, 2019 / 10:02 am

    Jcrew used to rock cashmere – back in the mid 2000’s but used to, no longer. It now pulls and grows holes overnight. Also say no to bloomies… looks so good but wears so bad.

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:25 pm

      Right? J. Crew was the BEST for sweaters but not for over a decade. Such a shame.

  23. Grace
    October 24, 2019 / 10:01 am

    I’m so glad to tead this— I DID buy a halogen cashmere tunic on your recommendation, and on deep discount. Loved the blue color and it was soft, though thinner than I had imagined (my first cashmere!) Holy pill-o-rama. Wore it like 3 times and figured I must be doing something wrong!
    Last year I bought a cashmere sweater (cream colored, the only color left, even though I rarely wear white because I am such a mess!) from Nordstrom signature. It’s thicker, better, softer, I get tons of compliments and no pills after 8 wears so far!
    This is why I trust you and keep reading… you are honest and work hard to be transparent.
    Now I want a camel sweater.

    • October 24, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      Oh gosh I am so sorry about that! And isn’t Nordstrom Signature so luxe? I have a cashmere cableknit dress from them and I live in it all winter long with fleece tights and tall boots!

  24. Bette
    October 24, 2019 / 9:10 am

    I love Talbots cashmere shawls and have several from previous years — they are incredibly thick and durable, and have survived (thrived) being thrown into a travel bag many times. I’m not a fan of the Audrey sweater, though, as the 3/4 length sleeves and tight fit of the sweater make me (tall) look as though I’m wearing a sweater that shrank.

    • Bette
      October 24, 2019 / 9:15 am

      Adding: I can’t believe this is still available, but here’s my absolute favorite cashmere purchase this year. What a bargain, and so incredibly soft and versatile. Don’t be put off by the word “ruffle,” it’s not really a ruffle. The reviewers all agree.

      https://shopstyle.it/l/9szD

      • October 24, 2019 / 10:03 am

        Oooh thanks for sharing this Bette!

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:02 am

      I do think the Audrey is a very specific style and I can see how it’s not for everyone and likely is awkward on taller people. Agree with their shawls, they’re fantastic!

  25. Karen
    October 24, 2019 / 9:04 am

    Pure Collection has great cashmere (not sure how size inclusive), but the sweaters last for years and i wash in my machine under gentle cycle with no issues

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Awesome, thank you for sharing this brand Karen!

  26. Roberta
    October 24, 2019 / 9:00 am

    Have been wearing Talbot’s cashmere for at least 10 years. It has held up pretty well. I do take good care of it and it does get dry cleaned. But, I love their choice of styles!

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Agree! They have a nice mix of classic and then unique pieces!

  27. Laurel
    October 24, 2019 / 8:58 am

    OMG, same! I had that exact sweater and it pilled like CRAZY. So I donated it while it still had some threads left under the arms. I do love my Nordstrom Signature cashmere sweater, as well as two Audreys by Talbots. And this year I bought a J. Jill cashmere tunic and so far, so good. Love your honesty!

  28. Tippy
    October 24, 2019 / 8:28 am

    I’ve had good luck with the Lord & Taylor cashmere sweaters.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:04 am

      You know what, so have I and I completely forgot about them! I had a black crewneck that did awesome for two years until it accidentally went into the wash. Good call! http://bit.ly/2odI2QH

  29. Melanie Wolff
    October 24, 2019 / 8:26 am

    Have you tried the JCrew cashmere? I’ve been looking to invest in a good cashmere sweater this season.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:05 am

      I haven’t had the best experience with it in recent years, though I have a 12-year old J. Crew sweater that is amazing. Others may have different experiences but I find it stretches out and pills.

  30. Joan
    October 24, 2019 / 8:18 am

    Totally agree about Halogen cashmere! I purchased 4 last year and couldn’t believe how quickly they pilled. They’ll be relegated to wearing around the house now, nothing more. So disappointing.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:06 am

      Such a shame, because I have Halogen cashmere accessories like scarves and hats that are amazing quality and all other clothing, including leather, that I have gotten from Halogen has been great!

  31. Linda
    October 24, 2019 / 8:17 am

    I am wondering if you could share what lifting routine you have used to reduce your calves.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:12 am

      I never planned to reduce my calves, and when my trainer had me do things like calf raises I was terrified that they would get bigger! Every Monday is Leg Day at my gym. I do squats, lunges, and reverse lunges now with a barbell but started off with dumbells. I do leg extensions and leg presses on machines, leg curls, side lunges, calf raises, and occasionally do run intervals (one minute run, one minute jog/fast walk). Nothing specifically towards the calves but the weight training (30 minutes 5 days a week) has totally changed the shape of my body for the better. My shoulders are more defined, my stomach is smaller, my breasts are a bit lifted, my forearms and wrists are slimmer, ankles slimmer, even my feet are a bit slimmer! I haven’t written lately about my workout routine but previous posts can be found at https://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/tag/health-and-wellness/

      • Caro
        October 30, 2019 / 3:34 pm

        I was so proud of you when you posted about your training program. The strength (inner & outer) you have developed has been a really cool thing to watch. Thanks so much for your honesty!

  32. ErinG
    October 24, 2019 / 7:48 am

    Another timely post! I am checking out a consignment store today that has a cashmere section!! I’ll definitely be looking for the brands you mention.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:13 am

      Awesome, glad to be a resource!

  33. karen
    October 24, 2019 / 6:31 am

    i’ve been pretty happy with a Boden Cashmere sweater i got last year. i know that they are not as size inclusive as many of the brands you’ve listed, l believe they go up to a XL, but are still worth a call out. As you’ve meantioned, i’ve loved the Nordstrom signature cashmere sweater that i got 2 years ago. One key is to look for thick, multi ply yarns.

    • October 24, 2019 / 10:13 am

      Agree, the multiply makes the difference. Thanks for recommending Boden, I haven’t tried their cashmere yet!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital