As fall approaches, we just might be thinking about cashmere sweaters and button-front shirts. Just about a year ago I took a new job, and needed a work uniform. I bought a raft of sweaters and shirts and have worn them often enough to feel as though I’ve been participating in some sort of midlife demi-luxe wardrobe research. Here are the results.
The Highest Quality
Executive summary: Brora wins because their cashmere doesn’t pill, marrying soft with just enough tough. Bompard is softer yet, but pills too much for us Sturdies to fall head over heels. Land’s End is the best of the mid-tier.
- Land’s End (their cashmere isn’t up yet, I’m assuming they’ll have it available in a few weeks)
Executive summary: Ann Mashburn’s cloth and attention to detail is best bar none. Even the buttons warrant a none-too-furtive fondle.
- Ann Mashburn
- NaraCamicieSF (for their stretch button-fronts, the only subdued and elegant version I’ve ever found)
A Most Pleasing Style
Executive summary: Cashmere v-necks, my favorite sort, can increase the d’un certain age quotient more than we might like. Madewell’s “boyfriend” styling was classic but not stodgy. Unfortunately, they do not seem be to offering cashmere this season, at least not yet. Bompard comes in a close second, to my way of thinking, and their colors are the best. I’d expect no less from the French cashmere flagship. Note that Brora now offers a tunic, which might win Ultimate Grand Supreme and take home the three-foot tall sparkly tiara.
Executive summary: I’m going to have to go with J. Crew as our top performer, on average. Great fit, multiple colors and patterns, and a partnership with Liberty of London. Just wish they cared about durability as much as cool.
- J. Crew Perfect Shirt
- Ann Mashburn (My original purchase was too preppy for my current style, but the new Liberty of London shirts above appeal mightily)
- Charles Tyrwhitt (be sure to size up. But the silhouette is very nice.)
Non-starter, BTW, Pure Cashmere. Happy warm clothes shopping, everyone. And in case you need a cashmere primer, here’s a link to an interview I did with the Queen of Cashmere. Complicated topic, goat hair. I have to confess, when I was young, I did not expect this particular knowledge to contribute so markedly to the wisdom of my fifth decade.