Style Hunt: Wool-Free Sweaters

Fall outfit with a cotton sweater, leopard shoes, and crossbody bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

There are few things more comfortable (and comforting) than a cozy sweater when the weather turns crisp. But many of you have mentioned that you’re allergic or sensitive to wool and/or cashmere, so I’ve embarked on a style hunt for wool-free sweaters.

Above: Earrings | Sweater | Fragrance | Watch | Jeans | Bag | Shoes

I was pleased to find that this season’s selection is quite varied and plentiful! For this post, I narrowed it down to pullover styles (jumpers for those outside the US) and to fibers that are primarily plant-based. I’ll be back with a wool-free cardigan edit soon.


J.Crew crewneck cotton pointelle sweater in blush. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Cotton sweaters (or cotton blends) are relatively easy to find. They’re breathable and often washable, and tend to be more budget-friendly. The pointelle weave on this one makes it a lighter-weight and less bulky option. Offered up to size 3X, and in additional colors.

Banana Republic cotton crewneck sweater with hi-low hem in forest green. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This soft cotton-blend sweater is offered in several colors and up to size XXL /20.

Madewell Thompson nautical stripe cotton-blend sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A classic nautical stripe with an easy fit in a ribbed cotton blend. This one gets rave reviews, offered in sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Everlane cotton texture cable sweater in ivory. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This one hints at a classic fisherman sweater (check out the cable detail on the sleeves), but with cleaner lines and less bulk.

Madewell striped cotton v-neck sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a fun take on a striped sweater, and with a v-neck too! Offered up to size 2X.

Jenni Kayne cotton fisherman sweater in Sage. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This one’s on the spendy side, but friends of mine rave about the quality and softness of her sweaters.

Gap blouson sleeve cotton sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A budget-friendly ribbed cotton sweater with blouson sleeves.

J.Crew cotton rollneck sweater in pink. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This rollneck cotton sweater is a timeless style and customer favorite. Offered in several colors and sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Eileen Fisher silk and organic cotton funnel neck sweater. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

When silk is blended with cotton, the result is often an elegant fabric with both structure and fluidity. I like the neckline on this simple silk and organic cotton sweater.

Other Fibers

Eileen Fisher tencel crewneck sweater in Nutmeg. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Tencel is a breathable fabric made from cellulose fibers that’s generally regarded as being a more sustainable choice. I have this sweater (above) and love the light weight and fluidity of the fabric. Other colors available too.

Eileen Fisher lightweight v-neck tencel sweater light blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This lightweight v-neck is great for layering, and a travel-friendly option. Plus here.

Anthropologie Sophie striped viscose-blend sweater. More wool-free sweaters at une femme d'un certain age.

Viscose is another fiber made from cellulose that’s often used in knit blends. I love the colors in this ribbed sweater, offered in Regular, Petite and Plus sizes.

What style of sweater do you wear most often?

More Wool-Free Sweaters

Stay in touch.

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  1. Kelly
    September 30, 2019 / 5:21 am

    I keep seeing terms like cotton blend or cotton/wool blend for sweaters online. This often means that acrylic and rayon are in the in the sweater. Unfortunately acrylic sweaters do not hold up, no matter how carefully you launder them and rayon feels much hotter and uncomfortable than cotton. Surprisingly this is not just for inexpensive sweaters. I have a $70+ sweater from last year that I forgot to check that looked terrible (very pilly) after one wash. I wish manufacturers would stop using these materials.

  2. Karen
    September 30, 2019 / 5:24 am

    Yay! Thank you so much. Can’t wait for the cardigans, which I tend to wear buttoned up to make them like a pullover, but with a little more interest via the buttons.

    • Anon
      September 30, 2019 / 7:14 am

      My problem is not being able to find wool sweaters in my size. Many American retailers that have Canadian online shopping sites do not offer extended sizing to their Canadian customers. So no Uniqlo merino wool for me. Most of the cheap blends in my size don’t make it through one winter, winter being six to eight months long. Cotton is not winter warm.

      • Karen
        September 30, 2019 / 7:27 am

        You know where I love to find sweaters? The men’s dept. A sweater is a sweater and they are often of better quality.

        • Lorraine
          September 30, 2019 / 9:11 am

          SO much yes to this! I find the best cardigans in the Men’s section, and the sizes and colors men overlook often go on sale! The Gap has got some nice Men’s shawl collar cardigans lately.

        • Terry
          September 30, 2019 / 9:49 am

          Me too! Men’s sweaters feel great (I like the silk/cotton blends) and I can take them in at the shoulders to provide a tailored fit.

        • Anon
          September 30, 2019 / 1:55 pm

          Great idea!

      • lagatta à Montréal
        September 30, 2019 / 4:57 pm

        where do you live where winter is six to eight months long… sorry, computer is ill cant make caps or question marks.

        • October 1, 2019 / 8:46 pm

          Anon mentions being Canadian. I’m guessing that she might live here in Alberta where we had our first dump of snow over the weekend and the temperature is 0ºC this evening. It will be winter until at least some time in April. Brrr…

  3. Belinda
    September 30, 2019 / 5:43 am

    I am moving away from crew necks, they feel too close anymore. Acrylic in a sweater is too warm and pills. Love a nice cotton silk blend V neck.
    In our climate a tee and cardigan work well.

  4. Jan Whichard
    September 30, 2019 / 7:43 am

    Silly question but is that j. Crew sweater in Mahogany your spring color?

    • Susan Blakey
      September 30, 2019 / 7:46 am

      Probably not, but I’m eyeing the yellow one. 😉

  5. Elizabeth
    September 30, 2019 / 7:47 am

    Suggestions for cardigans? Sometimes they are hard to find. Crew necks are too tight on my neck…

    • Susan Blakey
      September 30, 2019 / 7:54 am

      Coming in another post soon.

  6. Judi
    September 30, 2019 / 7:47 am

    I’m DYING for one of those Jenni Kayne sweaters. Been eyeing them up for years, I just can’t (yet) justify that much $ for a cotton sweater. I’ve also never seen one in person to know if they are as amazing as they seem (I’m in the Midwest). Anyone here actually own one? Specifically the cotton version – I know her cashmere fishermans are also popular, but I’m one of the allergic ones.

  7. Elizabeth
    September 30, 2019 / 7:48 am

    Suggestions for cardigans? Sometimes they are hard to find. Crew necks feel too constraining.

  8. Sandra
    September 30, 2019 / 8:04 am

    I always thought I couldn’t wear cashmere until we were in Scotland and I bought a v- neck pullover sweater. One day instead of wearing it with a blouse underneath it, I tried it on it’s own and I didn’t get itchy! I now think the cashmere I had been buying which were cheaper, have poorer quality fibres and that is why they itch. I can wear merino wool with no problem because the fibres are longer which I think good quality cashmere has also. I hope this helps some of you who like me love sweaters

  9. Carolyn from Oregon
    September 30, 2019 / 8:14 am

    Thank you for covering this topic – I can’t wait for your cardigan post. Those of us who are allergic to animal fibers have great difficulty finding quality, stylish sweaters. Those I like best are usually silk blends.

    I am very allergic to wool, cashmere, angora, , especially around my neck. Even 1% wool in a blend causes problems. One exception to this is Eric Bompard cashmere, which I order from France when they go on sale in January. I can tolerate a little bit of direct exposure to them after they have been machine washed a few times in special cashmere soap (I use Laundress).

  10. Violeta Kelertas
    September 30, 2019 / 8:53 am

    My problem is the exact opposite, as I can’t find good wool sweaters. Cashmere seems to be the only choice, sometimes merino will do, but the styles and colors are all so boring. I have looked through at least 20 catalogues and sites and nothing appeals to me. I think I will have to make do with the sweaters I have and hope for a better year, but it has been this way for too long. I find as I age that I run cooler and since I work from home spend my time wrapped in a fleece bathrobe over any top that I am wearing that day.
    Hope you have some ideas for me. Will have to look into the Bompard sale, if they make a big enough size for me.

    • Jeanne J
      September 30, 2019 / 9:20 am

      I love merino, and the budget-friendly Uniqlo v-necks have been a staple for me – but not this year, when they went with a dropped-shoulder, dolman-sleeve style, not a good look for me to say the least. I always appreciated that the v-necks weren’t so low that I had to wear a tank or camisole underneath. The search continues…

    • RoseAG
      October 2, 2019 / 4:21 am

      I bought some merino sweaters from The Gap last year. They’re a nice weight/layer in cool indoor spots. However, at their price point they aren’t high quality. I like that they’re light, but I handle them with care and watch out for bags and jewelry that will pill or create pulls.

      • Jeanne J
        October 5, 2019 / 6:25 am

        Thanks for mentioning Gap, I’ll check it out! I found some classic merino styles on the Brooks Brothers site – I think I’ll drop by there today and check those out as well. Price-wise, they’re somewhere between Uniqlo and Eileen Fisher, which suits me fine if the quality and fit is there.

  11. SWprof
    September 30, 2019 / 9:05 am

    Thank you for this posting. As someone who can’t tolerate wool or cashmere, I appreciate your taking note of your readers’ needs.

  12. Lorraine
    September 30, 2019 / 9:08 am

    cotton sweaters are my favorite! that j crew roll neck is going straight to my Fall/Winter wishlist

  13. Mary
    September 30, 2019 / 10:06 am

    Thanks, Susan! I ordered one of the sweaters from Banana Republic at the 40% off sale today!

  14. Kathleen
    September 30, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    I knit and am only work with the natural fibers. I find that adding a lightweight cami or tank under the sweater makes a lot of difference.

  15. Rondi
    September 30, 2019 / 2:35 pm

    I imagine everyone loves sweaters. Cardigans are great for too cranked up air conditioning. But my fav is a cotton v neck pullover. I love the look of a simple, slightly boxy v neck sweater with jeans and boots. Since I live in a warmer climate cotton is the choice for me. Sometimes we need sweaters but cotton is sufficient. And they work for short trips north also.

  16. Kay
    September 30, 2019 / 10:23 pm

    I am a big fan of Tencel. It’s soft and it wears well.

  17. Robyn
    October 1, 2019 / 2:51 am

    I have two of the J Crew roll sweaters. This will be the third season for them. I love them. I would size down as they rend to “grow” through the day. I can wear soft wools as long as I layer a shirt of some. kind underneath. I do this with all sweaters. It extends wear between washes.

  18. Ann in Missouri
    October 1, 2019 / 4:16 am

    Love all the sweaters. Yea, winter!

    But those leopard skates are da bomb! Thank you for those.

    BTW, heading to France this Saturday for three weeks. Au revoir!

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