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Size-Inclusive Cashmere Under $100: Universal Standard Cashmere Review

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universal standard cashmere review by wardrobe oxygen

A couple of weeks ago I received a box in the mail from Universal Standard containing this dark green cashmere sweater. Universal Standard has sent me product before but this looked different. When did Universal Standard start selling 100% cashmere sweaters? I went to the site, the product wasn't listed. A week later I was notified that on November 8th, Universal Standard was launching a collection of size-inclusive cashmere under $100 ($98 to be specific) and I was sent a piece to do a proper Universal Standard cashmere review.

alison in universal standard
Bag is from Maxwell Scott UK; use ALISON10 at checkout to get 10% off your entire order

I decided to use this time to not just do a Universal Standard cashmere review, but also show this sweater styled two ways. It's a classic sweater that in my opinion, can dress up and down with ease. Also, I can then show the sweater both tucked in and left untucked, and how it works with two different silhouettes of pants.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen is wearing a Universal Standard cashmere crewneck in dark green tucked into navy wide leg pants. Her hands are in her pockets and she is smiling at the camera. She is standing on a road going through a woods on a sunny fall day.
My shoes are from Margaux, a brand that makes high quality shoes in three widths and sizes 3-13.5

While I received this sweater for free, I am not obligated to write a review, nor am I obligated to write a positive review. My reputation as being a trustworthy reviewer is far more important than any relationship with a brand; I will always be honest with you. That being said, there are affiliate links in this post; if you make a purchase I make make a small commission. But I also lose that commission if you make a return so there's no benefit to me lying to you. And with that, my honest review.

Universal Standard Cashmere Review

Alison is wearing a dark green Universal Standard crewneck sweater with a gold chain necklace and gold hoops. She is looking away from the camera with a thoughtful expression.
Necklace is this one from Baublebar; the earrings are these also from Baublebar.

The Universal Standard cashmere collection is 100% cashmere, not blends. There is a crewneck that was sent to me, as well as a v-neck option. I have not seen any of the sweaters in this cashmere collection beyond the one I am wearing, but based upon what is on the website, I can only assume they are all the same weight, cut, and fit.

For those unfamiliar with Universal Standard's sizing system; the brand didn't start with their full size range and focused on larger sizes. With 67% of the US female population wearing plus sizes and the average American woman wearing a size 16/18, Universal Standard made an 18/20 a medium. Then as the brand grew, their size range grew and that's why you have 4XS-4XL or sizes 00-40. But as with any apparel brand, it makes more sense to look at the size chart than assume you're the same size letter or number from brand to brand.

the backview of the Universal Standard cashmere crewneck
The sweater untucked and not styled so you can see the length on my 5'3″ self

That being said, I am usually a size 14 in brands like Talbots, J. Crew, and Old Navy and when I purchase sweaters I usually choose an XL to accommodate my bust and arms. Universal Standard sent me this sweater in size XS which is 99% of the time my size with this apparel brand. It fits the way I would want a cashmere crewneck sweater to fit me; not baggy but not fitted, comfortable tucked in our left out.

I have bought cashmere from Halogen, J. Crew, Talbots, Nordstrom Collection/Signature, Lands' End, and Eileen Fisher and have received gifted cashmere from some of those sites that sell only cashmere and for low prices. This cashmere is thicker than Halogen and J. Crew (at least 2021 J. Crew) and while not as thick, has a tighter weave than Talbots. This means the sweater doesn't stretch out as quickly if you're like me and push up your sleeves all the time. Universal Standard's cashmere is far superior to Halogen cashmere (which is always part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale), and could easily sell for over $100. I find the cut to be more… stylish than Lands' End (not as fitted of a hem or sleeve cuff) and more classic/stylish a fit than a lot of other brands that offer plus sizes.

Alison has her hands up on her head to show the underarms of this green cashmere sweater from Universal Standard. There are not fuzzballs or pilling on the sweater.

I have now worn this sweater three times for at least three hours each time so I could see how much it pills under the arms and places where the fabric rubs against itself. I must say I am highly impressed. Cashmere pills, it's a given. I recommend a sweater stone or fabric shaver (I personally own both of these and use them often) if you own cashmere because it will keep it looking clean without damaging the sweater. But after three wears I haven't had to use either device to remove pills from this sweater!

Alison in the green sweater smiling away from the camera

I find Universal Standard's cashmere to have the same itch factor as any other cashmere sweater; if you are allergic to wool this sweater isn't some magical garment that won't irritate you. Universal Standard has plenty of non-wool sweaters to choose from. I don't have a cashmere allergy and find this sweater a nice weight for fall and spring, and a weight that can easily layer when it's colder. I tried it under a boyfriend-style blazer and styled it over a tissue-weight turtleneck and found both comfortable.

Styling the Universal Standard Cashmere Crewneck Two Ways

Alison is wearing the same green cashmere sweater in other photos but now it is untucked and styled with dark gray skinny jeans and brown Dr. marten boots.
Hoops are from Jenny Bird (no longer available; similar) and the boots are Dr. Marten's

I love cashmere crewnecks because they are like the cold-weather alternative to my Breton tees. More interesting than a knit, but super versatile, cashmere can be thrown on with jeans to head to the grocery store but glam up easily for special occasions.

I have worn a cashmere crewneck like this with ball skirts and dressy skirts, under cocktail pantsuits, and paired with sequins (a previous year's version of this skirt to be specific).

Cashmere was a favorite at work because it looked professional but also because it was warm enough for fall and winter but not so bulky I overheated. It's thin enough to tuck into pants or a skirt, and also drapes nicely when you do a half tuck.

You may also like: How to tuck in a sweater and not look a mess

A cashmere sweater paired with my jeans or joggers makes me feel as though I put forth effort in my look, and the fab fabric makes me feel fancy even if I'm hiding my Peloton hair under a beanie and wearing mismatched socks.

Alison in the green sweater and navy wide leg trousers walking towards the camera. She is tucking her shoulder length brown hair behind one ear.

Universal Standard fans will recognize both my navy trousers and my gray jeans as pieces the line used to carry. I chose the navy pants because they are comfy but dressy and I saw this as an outfit that could be worn to Thanksgiving or a holiday party. While I styled it with gold heels (these from Margaux; here's the same with a lower heel), you could easily switch them out for an ankle boot, a flat, or even a pair of sneakers. Elevate the look by switching out the gold jewelry with pieces with some sparkle and add a clutch purse.

Alison in a green untucked cashmere sweater and dark gray jeans, walking to the left

I wanted to show what the sweater looked like untucked so you could envision it multiple ways in your existing wardrobe. I brought down the sleeves and hem so you can see where it hits on my 5'3″ self without any styling.

Size-Inclusive Cashmere Under $100: Colors and Styles Available

Universal Standard cashmere review by Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a collage of the different colors of crewenecks available
The different colors available for the Universal Standard cashmere crewneck

Universal Standard has added the cashmere v-neck and crewneck to their regular offerings with a few classic colors available always (called Essential Colors) and some limited edition colors that are brighter and more statement making. The forest green color I received is one of the essential colors for both the v-neck and the crewneck.

Personally, I find the color selection, in general, to be boring. Sure, let's have black and oatmeal and navy. But if we can have bright red and bright blue, why can't we have some other fun shades? Berry is great, but how about Barbie pink? Light blue is nice, but imagine a Tiffany blue or aquamarine. As well as offering Cinnamon, how about a rich pumpkin or copper color? I really hope they, like Talbots, offer different colors each season so we can get our forest green but also our brilliant emerald or chartreuse.

collage of the eight colors available in the Universal Standard cashmere v-neck sweater
The different colors available for the Universal Standard cashmere v-neck

That being said, have this quality of cashmere available at such a reasonable pricepoint and in such an extensive size range… I can't think of any other brand that offers something similar. I think as an influencer, how many cashmere companies have reached out to partner and I have refused because I, a size 14, is at the very top of their size range. I love being able to wear a brand that fits most of you, instead of a select group of you. Even better when it's the quality, style, and color I enjoy!

We all deserve cashmere if we want to wear it, and this is yet another way that Universal Standard is democratizing fashion. This isn't a crappy cheap sweater, it isn't a cashmere blend, it is a classic cut and colors that will transcend trends, achieving what Universal Standard was about at the beginning.

wardrobe oxygen universal standard

This will not be my only Universal Standard cashmere sweater. I definitely want to try the v-neck, and I'd love to add more colors to my closet. The v-neck in the limited edition color Berry is calling my name, but I also love the classic colors. Clearly I am a fan! If you have any questions about this sweater that wasn't answered in this Universal Standard cashmere review, let me know in the comments!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Frustrating that they don’t have the same color choices in both styles. I wanted the berry in the crew neck. Guess I’ll go for the royal blue.

  2. I’d be curious how the quality of cashmere in these sweaters compares to the ones US sold a few years ago. The original cashmere was amazing but also costs twice as much. Looking forward to trying these!

  3. I was just coming on here to message you that I purchased a couple of these, and I obviously should have checked here first! But knowing that Universal Standard is pretty good quality, if not always a great fit for me in things other than tops, I went for a classic black and a pop with berry. If I’m happy with them, I may go back for the forest green–it’s a very pretty color.

    Looking forward to your cashmere washing tips! I’ve always been fearful of washing it.

  4. Sometime in my 50s, I woke up one day and could no longer wear cashmere (or wool). What the heck? I have no idea how it happened, but it made me so sad to get rid of my sweaters. I kept trying for a few months and then gave up. Has anyone else ever had this happen? I’m bummed b/c these US sweaters look gorgeous!

    1. I remember being able to wear wool into my 30s. Then I moved back to South Florida and so I didn’t have much occasion to wear it. At some point I noticed that wool made me feel itchy and sort of flushed, even in blends. I haven’t tried cashmere in years, because it seems like an overly expensive experiment.

      It is frustrating because wool takes colors so beautifully. I can only admire.

  5. I received a text directly from US yesterday with an opportunity to buy and I must have clicked in and out of the site 6 times before pressing “purchase”– because do I NEED to spend $100 on a sweater right now– but now after your review I’m so glad I did.
    I purchased the forest green in a v neck and I am betting I will wear it a million times.
    Also, are those the Logan jeans? My FAVES–purchased, I think, after a review of yours. 🙂 I love them SO much that I bought a pair on Poshmark after my first ones wore out (and I returned THOSE in a US denim recycle program.)
    I’s funny… I remember when you started sharng US products and I was like, yeah? so what? I don’t get it. And now literally I wear something from them almost every day it seems.

  6. Great review, but I searched the page three times for links to the jeans and navy wide leg pants! Did I miss them? If not, can you share them, Alison? Thanks!

  7. I am excited about the Vneck option (I dislike the feel of sweaters close to my neck). Do you know if these are truly dry clean only or more of a “wash in lingerie bag, dry flat” sort of sweater? They show up as not available now (sneak peek is over, come back later) so I can’t tell what the laundry instructions are.

    1. All cashmere is wash in a lingerie bag, dry flat but they will say dry clean only. I only dry clean if there is any sort of embellishment. And luckily US knows this by saying these are, “Hand wash cold, lay flat to dry, low iron if needed. Or dry clean.” (the links now work thank goodness!). I’m actually going to share my cashmere laundry tips in a post tomorrow!

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