Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

or
clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where to Shop: Non-Itchy Sweaters

When 100% wool just won’t work.

Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. See our ethics policy here.

Aritzia sweater Photo: Aritzia

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Nothing takes the “yay” out of layering (er, lyayering?) quite like an itchy, scratchy sweater. I should know — last December, after years of wearing my favorite woolens without any irritation whatsoever, my skin suddenly turned ultra-sensitive, rendering my drawers of chunky cable knits and fisherman pullovers effectively useless.

Of course, not all sweater sensitivities are created equal. Many people find traditional wool, mohair, and angora styles irritating, for instance, while others can’t even tolerate cashmere or merino. Some are fine with a sweater that’s made from a wool blend, others can’t let the textile touch their skin at all.

The good news is that no matter where you sit on this sensitivity spectrum, knitwear options abound. Tons of brands produce styles made from non-itchy materials like cotton, nylon, polyester, and rayon — which tend to cost way less than most wool sweaters, by the way. What better excuse to layer up?

Photos: Forever 21

Forever 21 makes some really great sweaters for folks with sensitive skin; their colorful patterned options, in particular, tend to look way more expensive than they are. (True story: I’ve been asked multiple times if my favorite F21 knit is from Opening Ceremony.) And since most are made from a mix of synthetic materials, they’re entirely itch-free.

Everlane's Luxe Wool Mockneck Sweater Photo: Everlane

In addition to its cashmere, Everlane also offers a nice selection of cotton knits and sweatshirts — along with merino wool options, which many sensitive-skinned sweater lovers can wear without discomfort. Why? The fibers are much finer and more flexible than traditional wool, and thus less scratchy.

Photos: Topshop

Good news, Topshop fans: Most of the UK import’s sweaters — sorry, jumpers — are made from nylon or viscose rather than wool, which is great news for itchy types. Just be sure to check the fabric content before you buy!

Aritzia sweater Photo: Aritzia

In addition to multiple numbers in merino wool, Aritzia’s large knitwear offerings include many cotton, nylon, and acrylic options that won’t leave you clawing at your crewneck.

Photos: 525 America

Contemporary knitwear brand 525 America is a longtime editor favorite, and the bulk of their stuff — even the chunkier styles! — are cotton-based, making them a solid pick.

Vince sweater Photo: Vince

Cashmere is generally a safe bet for those who can’t tolerate typical wool, although exceptions do exist. In my own experience, not all cashmere passes the no-itch test, but I’ve had great luck with the 100% cashmere styles from both White + Warren and Vince.