Who makes the best sweaters?
When it comes to buying sweaters the most important variables to consider in my opinion are feel, fit, and durability. I have so many beautiful sweaters from Ralph Lauren that fell apart in the very first year of owning the sweater. Example: The very traditional cable knit Ralph Lauren sweater that you see at every famous department store has a tendency to fall apart at all the openings. The wast band loses all pawer and just completely fails. Or the neck opening loses all ability to stay the same size as it did when you bought the sweater. Ralph Lauren makes some amazing sweaters but their quality control is poor because they do not care or they simply cannot manage so many plants and the sheer volume makes it hard to control quality. I do not know the answer but someone at Ralph Lauren in the Sweater department needs to lose a job. Well a few people need to lose their job and a few plants need to lose the account because they clearly cannot maintain quality control. So I strongly recommend that you stay away from Ralph Lauren Sweaters because my experience has demonstrated that they fall apart way to easily and that is not cool when you drop $100 $200 $300 or $500 on a purple label sweater. The damn thing should last for years when properly cared for. And just in case someone at Ralph Lauren wants to jump up and down and cry and claim that I did not follow the instructions on how to care for the sweater, they are wrong. We are talking about hand washing, dry cleaning, or gentle washing. Whatever the particular sweater recommends.
When it comes to feel nothing compares to Ralph Lauren Purple Label or Loro Piana. You will also find that Neiman Marcus uses Loro Piana cashmere for their sweaters as well. I can guarantee you that you will not find a better feeling cashmere sweater anywhere that compares. If you would like to challenge me on this fact or opinion please let me know. I will be glad to take your sweater and compare it to the ones we have here.
When it comes to feel, fit and durability nothing compares to J. Crew and many other generic no name brands that you will find on the shelves this holiday season. You have to be careful because it is very difficult to tell at the time of the purchase if they are going to be durable. Banana Republic also does a very good job at managing quality control with respect to durability. I just find their styles and fit to be a little less than average at best. Every once in awhile you will find a nice mens sweater at Banana Republic that fits well. I cannot speak for the womens line but I am sure it is the same but have also heard many women complain about the fit of pieces from J. Crew as well.
Maybe you are wondering how I feel about Armani, Gucci, Burberry, and Brooks Brothers. Well here is the deal. The problem with the Armani and Gucci and Burberry is that they all make some pretty trendy and beautiful pieces their quality control is beyond acceptable. It is sort of like buying an old italian car. It might be beautiful but it is going to fall apart every weekend and you also have a strong chance of breaking down on the road. Burberry has gotten a little better with their quality control but not much. You can try on 10 large shirts and every single shirt will fit differently. They make some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing on the planet but their quality sucks. They deserve to go to jail for making so much money on articles of expensive clothing that were not made properly or made with any amount of concern for the customer. They along with many of the other high end brands don't give a shit about customer satisfaction or appreciate the amount of money the customer has just paid for a sweater or shirt. Gucci is king of producing garbage clothing and charging millions. I would not buy anything from Gucci that goes beyond handbags and footwear and even their footwear has fallen off in terms of quality. They have gotten too big and too fast and just don't care. These big brands are all about catering to the crowds and the elite few that can afford their limited edition items. Regardless of which demographic you fall in you are sold an article of clothing that just does not have much attention to detail. Just concern for design and margins. Brooks Brothers has come along way since their fall off in quality but I am still hesitant to give them a strong rating for sweaters because they have not gotten back to their roots of making timeless pieces that last for generations. It is shame that you cannot go to a store like Brooks Brothers and be guaranteed that an item will not fall apart or be irregular at the time of purchase from an inline store that is selling their finest pieces.
If you want high end you and want quality your chances of landing a wonderful piece are dramatically increased if you buy the store branded products from Nordstrom's and Neiman Marcus.
Good luck and let us know what you have been seeing and feeling when it comes to sweaters and brands.