All my Favourite Go-To Brands for Basics, Foundation Pieces and Style: Cashmere, Sweaters and Jeans
I’ve been asked for my favourite brands, and all my previous posts on all my favourite Go To Brands can be found here.
A BIT OF BODY HISTORY
I’m an inverted triangle, am usually a US 4 for fitted clothing, but with US 6 shoulders. I’m about 5’6″ and fairly slender. Barely any hips or bum or chest to speak of, but in the past year, I’ve noticed I have gotten a little curvier around the bum and hips (age? hormones? who knows), and I’ve embraced it, but no one can feel it but me… (and my partner 😉 ).
As of late, I have had very little patience wearing anything too tight or fitted, and now take everything in a US 6 if I find it is even an eensy bit too tight (not just tops or jackets for my shoulders, bottoms too).
For instance, I fit into Lululemon pants US 4, but prefer to buy US 6, and will even go up to a US 8 as they are tight. I’ll be sure to make size / style notes below as well.
GENERAL SHOPPING TIPS
A lot of what I do is shopping online, I even wrote a post: How to shop online. Sometimes I get some hits, sometimes they are misses, but after a few times, I get a good idea from just pictures, fabrication and description where it works or not.
- Go into the store first and try on all of their bras to know what size you actually are so shopping online is easier
- Sign up for an online coupon (a newsletter tends to always give a percentage off)
- Wait for days like Black Friday before buying anything — major sales abound!
- Buy a whole bunch at once if you can to save on shipping and duties — mostly for us Canadians
- BE SURE it is something you want/need before you hit “buy”, and do LOTS AND LOTS OF RESEARCH online
- Don’t be afraid of eBay either, I have found insanely good deals on there with New with Tags (NWT) items
For cashmere it is such a hit and miss for me. I have to really try it on my skin before I can tell you whether it is okay or not and even within a brand but between colours, one can feel itchier or stiffer if there is a lot of dye.
I’m also really sorry to have to inform you that good cashmere costs money. Good cashmere, starts at $500, if you don’t want to quibble over price or take time to comb through sales.
Decent cashmere, starts at $300 at retail, but that’s not including any sales or coupons.
You are never, ever going to find decent cashmere at $100 retail. It is just not possible. It is going to be too thin, slightly itchy, scratchy, whatever.
My go-to brands are all over the place.
Located in Toronto, The Cashmere Shop with their cashmere is thick, soft and wonderful. I have two caps and a scarf from them, and would probably spend all my money on their cashmere if I could justify it.
They are exxxxxpensive. Ridiculously expensive. We’re talking $500 AND UP expensive, which is why I only bought 2 hats and a scarf (it was on sale).
Still. Super soft. Very nice. Highly recommended.
Here’s a brand White & Warren I discovered when I was living in NYC, and I love, LOVE their Travel Wraps.
I do not leave on a vacation without one even if there is a risk I will lose or ruin it and run the risk of having an ugly cry meltdown.
I own a couple colours in this scarf, and wear them as jackets, wraps.. oh they’re fantastic and they DO go on sale during Black Friday or other such times, so don’t be discouraged.
I was recommended this brand by many readers but have not tried them so I cannot say yes or no to them.
They are pretty pricey, but at that price range, I suspect it would be just as good as the other brands I’ve tried.
I tried their Todd & Duncan cashmere when it debuted and it was a flop. It was itchy, it didn’t feel good, and I thought: I am paying $300 for something that SUCKS? No thank you.
Recently however in 2016 or so, I picked up their terribly named “celery” v-neck cashmere (which looks more like “dandelion” and sounds better as a name) sweater and was just blown away at how comfortable and soft it was, at the price range; on sale it was $67 if I recall correctly.
Still expensive, but not $500, as I justified to myself.
See how pretty it is?
To this day, it is still soft and comfy but NOT AS COMFORTABLE as the higher-priced brands. As it is in many things (including food and meals at restaurants for instance), it is just not possible to meet that price point of $300 without sacrificing in quality.
VINTAGE J. CREW
In thrift shops, I have found vintage J. Crew circa 2000 in beige and have been very happy.
Even up as early as 2010, their cashmere wasn’t so bad, I own a boyfriend cashmere sweater from them from that era and it still sees a regular rotation in my closet.
Good luck to anyone who can do the same, but I have not yet replicated my luck.
Old, OLD J. Crew cashmere is thick and soft. The new stuff is crap. Still, it is worth pointing out.
I only got their cashmere joggers (they were c/o), but they are still in my closet and very comfy:
Couple of things on colour choice:
- Avoid their dark sweaters; the dye they use stiffens the fabric and it isn’t as nice, as I discovered
- Go for their lighter greys or shades with less dye
For generic sweaters, if anything is non-cashmere, then I like these brands.
I own their shawl circle cardigan and LOVE IT. It is cosy and wonderful. Vince is a hit and miss brand for me. This shawl cardigan was great, but pricey ($400 if I recall correctly), and it does pill so I had to buy a sweater shaver.
It is a GREAT layering piece underneath jackets, sweaters, or belted…
They also have cashmere but as it is a blend, I stuck it under “sweater”. I bought this one recently and I love it. The shawl shape, the cosiness, it is perfection:
ARITZIA / WILFRED FREE
I like their sweaters. Basic, interesting shapes.
They have some cosy options, but I avoid their wool. Their wool sweaters are itchy and not comfortable at all.
Nothing, NOTHING beats my Adriana Goldschmied (AG) Farrah High Rise jeans in the perfect blue rinse called Brook.
I bought them in a size 27 but then tailored in the waist to be a 25/26 (which is what I am), because I don’t like it when the legs are too tight.
My real size is 25 (tight), 26 if I am comfortable, but the 27 is perfect in the thighs and legs.
I wear them constantly. They feel like pyjamas and they are comfortable.
Other great jean brands and styles?
CITIZENS OF HUMANITY IN A POISON HIGH RISE SKINNY
I own this style and jean brand in a dark grey, and in a black waxed skinny.
Both I took in a size 27, and tailored in the waist… cuz… yes I like a looser leg that is not skintight.
All my posts on all my favourite Go To Brands can be found here.