A Few Non-Wool Sweaters Worth A Second Look

cotton v-neck tunic

Some of you have mentioned that you are allergic to wool, so I’ve been on the lookout for some good quality, non-wool sweaters. While these may not be as warm on their own as wool or cashmere, none are overly bulky and can all be layered for additional warmth as needed.

Above: this organic cotton v-neck tunic is available in a few colors in both Misses and Petites (some size/color combinations no longer available). It’s currently marked down too. Could easily be layered over a silk turtleneck for additional warmth.

v-neck long tunic

If you’re open to an acrylic blend with a very small percentage (8%) of wool in the mix, this sharkbite hem tunic is a nice looking option. Available in Misses and Petites, 3 neutral shades. It has pocketses, it does, Precioussss.

Eileen Fisher viscose sweater

Viscose is another fiber that works well for knits (and is usually washable). This sweater is a nice basic, available in a few colors in Misses and Petites.

Cotton blend textured cardigan

This cotton-blend cardigan (Plus size) has an interesting texture. Nice jacket alternative for the office too.

EF long cardigan bone

Eileen Fisher’s silk-cotton interlock fabric is one of the warmer non-wool alternatives. This long cardigan is offered in three colors. I have a cardigan in this fabric that’s a few years old and has held up quite well.

silk cotton pullover sweater

Here’s a simple pullover in that same silk-cotton interlock fabric.


ivory cable knit fisherman sweater

While cotton may have its drawbacks (heavier, may tend to stretch out) it’s often the most budget-friendly option that’s also usually washable. I like the cut and drape, as well as the interesting cable pattern on this dolman cotton sweater. (Other colors available.)

cotton crewneck sweater

I love the ease and laid-back cool of this cotton crewneck. Also available in Off White.

Do you have a favorite wool-alternative fabric for sweaters?

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  1. November 2, 2016 / 4:30 am

    I’ve never had an Eileen Fisher sweater that didn’t wear like iron; I don’t know how she does it, but her knitwear is really durable! I sometimes flinch at the price, but I’ve never regretted a purchase.

  2. November 2, 2016 / 4:31 am

    I love cotton sweaters. They are especially perfect in spring, when we are sick to death of winter and wool but it isn’t yet warm enough to go without another layer. A tight weave is nice and warm, while a loose knit is great for cool summer or fall nights.

  3. Laurel
    November 2, 2016 / 5:05 am

    Thanks for this! I have wool allergies, although I can wear some soft cashmeres without tearing my skin off. 🙂 My favorite are the EF silk tanks, T’s and turtlenecks, and I also love the silk/cotton blends you mentioned. They are warm and really durable. When I find a great (seasonal) color, I jump on it. Last year on a business trip, I found a really beautiful pale pink at a store in Evansville, Indiana. You never know when/where you’ll find something you love.

  4. Meg
    November 2, 2016 / 6:55 am

    I have a hefty cotton rayon blend sweater that is a bright cheery summery stripe of white and yellow and it’s warmth is sort of too much for the hot days of summer. But I have discovered here in Ohio that spring is very cold. And sometime in April one tires of plum, black and wine! So I tote that sweater out and wear it with white jeans, so I am warm but my ‘look’ is more springy! Based on that, I bought a few more summer colored sweaters that are warm. My latest is a turquoise cashmere T that is awesome for travel, since planes can be cold and terminals over AC’d.

  5. SoSuSam
    November 2, 2016 / 7:43 am

    I have a few of those EF silk/cotton cardigans, and they’re quite wonderful. Pretty, sturdy, and surprisingly warm.

    Like @Laurel, I’m extremely allergic to wool but can sometimes manage cashmere. (Not always; it depends on how soft the cashmere is–and how cranky my skin is that day.) When I wear a layer–even just a silk layer, tho thicker is better–between my skin and the cashmere, I can often tolerate it. (Doesn’t work with wool, alas.) I imagine everyone has tried that trick already, but if not, I encourage people to experiment with wearing thin layers under cashmere–it might help.

  6. Keri
    November 2, 2016 / 8:51 am

    Love your blog, especially the posts on packing for travel! I wanted to tell you about another style blog I think you’d like; it is http://bridgetteraes.com/ and her approach reminds me a little of your style. Thanks for your great, thoughtful posts. I’m in my 40s and love to see what you put together.

  7. Margaret Rosenfeld
    November 2, 2016 / 9:14 am

    Just a note that the Eileen Fisher links go to the Nic and Zoe sweater…..

    • Susan B
      November 2, 2016 / 9:19 am

      Thanks, will fix it now!

    • Susan B
      November 2, 2016 / 9:22 am


  8. rukshanaafia
    November 2, 2016 / 9:31 am

    I , like my mother & many above , cannot wear wool or cashmere next to the skin without 2 thin or 1 thick intervening layers of cotton or silk . The best non wool sweaters I ever had were a 60%silk , 40%cotton in rust brown and an 80%silk , 20%nylon in sub-fusc purple . They were also the warmest ! Both were worn to death and I would love to replace them but have not found anything thick enough , never mind pricing problems .

  9. Lynn
    November 2, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    Thank you so much for finding some non wool sweaters! It isn’t easy and I really appreciate you finding some great options. For those of us who are allergic to any amount of wool (even 1%), cashmere, etc., it is always a huge challenge to find sweaters this time of year. I am excited that, based on your blog, I may be able to pick up a couple new sweaters and am looking forward to “sweater weather”. Yay Susan!

  10. inkyboy
    November 2, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    I love knit silk sweaters. I had a few T-shirt style sweaters which eventually got too stained to keep. Any suggestions for where to find these. I’m looking for classic construction to layer during cool weather, wear under jackets, or alone during warm months.

  11. November 2, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    I wear a small men’s undershirt (over a bra, naturally) under my wool sweaters..but I have found lots of nice blends at J. Crew Factory rather than J. Crew B & M stores. That sharkbite tunic sweater–I will have to make a trip to Nordie’s this weekend. I LOVE the gray–I love that hemline too! Thank you for posting that beauty!

  12. Shreddie
    November 2, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    I like linen knits. With a cotton shirt under it, a linen knit sweater can be warm.

  13. November 2, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    Many thanks for remembering the needs of your less fortunate sisters.

    It’s humbling to realize that what I wear is determined more by allergy than taste. I can’t even wear 1% wool garments. My neck is super sensitive, the rest of my body less so but still allergic. I usually buy cashmere or merino in styles where I can layer over a shirt or a silk or rayon t that eliminates wool/neck contact. I also look for low V neck sweaters i can layer over a T. I wear some acrylic (Nordstrom Rack Sweet Romeo) – it’s not natural fiber quality, doesn’t last, but it’s a feel-good warm compromise. Maybe it’s my Minnesota roots, but I just can’t do cotton sweaters in winter. I love silk sweaters when I can find them.

    I think – not quite sure – that I can tolerate some direct contact with Eric Bompard cashmere from France if the sweaters have been washed a few times in Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo. I have some brushed winter silk scarves from Nordstrom. It would be fantastic if jackets were available in the same fabrics. They look and feel fabulous.

  14. bellsonme
    November 3, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Most good wool doesn’t bother me, although I do prefer to wear it over a thin layer. But my favorite non-wool sweater is a cotton cabled pullover. In winter I wear it over turtlenecks, and on cooler days in spring and autumn it’s fine on its own.

  15. November 6, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    I love the Eileen Fisher sweaters! As a baby to the Over 40 Blog universe, I am so happy to have found your blog. So So lovely.

    • Susan B
      November 6, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      Thanks, Melissa and welcome!

  16. ceeamm
    November 9, 2016 / 3:17 am

    Turtleneck tees under wool sweaters is a Godsend 🙂

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