I Can’t Not Buy This is a weekly column that features one emerging item, brand, or trend that we can’t for the life of us stop obsessing over.

By Laura Reilly
Updated Oct 25, 2018 @ 10:45 am
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Credit: Coyuchi/Sean Gelbaugh Photography

Every so often you come across an item of clothing that expands your understanding of fashion altogether. Until about a month ago, I thought cashmere was the softest, coziest, most high-end material one could look for in a sweater, but it turns out I had blinders on.

Leave it to a brand that cut its teeth in bedding to introduce me to new heights of comfort. Coyuchi, better known for its home textiles and loungewear, proves it can also compete against luxury names in ready-to-wear with its new collection of organic sweaters. The Undyed Alpaca Luxe Sweater is the piece de resistance, and I cannot for the life of me stop wearing it.

The material is luxurious and understated in a way that lower-quality brands aim for — and miss constantly. And that’s not by mistake. Coyuchi’s mission has always been to start with ingredients and production processes that yield the best results, and build from there. So, yes, everything is organic, every worker who makes its goods is fairly compensated, and every animal that provides fiber is treated well.

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The Alpaca fibers that go into this sweater are sourced from small ranches in Peru, which are less stressful on the environment than those of cashmere-producing goats. What makes alpaca fleece that much softer than cashmere is the length of the fiber. The long strands are twisted together to create yarn; fewer fiber ends poking out mean a softer, non-itchy material.

Compared to cashmere, alpaca is also more affordable. While high-end cashmere following the same top-level production ethos as Coyuchi can run into the $1,000s due to cashmere-goat scarcity, alpaca is more readily available, so luxury products can cost less than a third of cashmere.

The other best part about this piece (there are a lot of best parts) is that it has all the appeal of a chunky sweater, but actually looks great when I put it on. While other chunky knits tend to have hanger appeal but end up looking boxy on-body, the material of this particular sweater drapes in a way I wasn’t expecting it to. Not unlike silk, it hangs from the shoulders and creates form-flattering shapes in the weight of the fabric.

Every way I wear it — hanging loose, tucked in at the front, cinched by a belt, or tucked all the way into a pair of high-waisted jeans — creates such a perfect shape that it looks like a stylist dressed me. It’s the piece I reach for on days when I feel great and want to look expensive, as well as off days, when I know it’ll be the low-effort article that salvages my look.

This sweater is a compelling argument for slow fashion — it’s the kind of investment piece that you get a million wears out of, and will take great care of out of respect.

Credit: Coyuchi

To buy: $348; coyuchi.com