Fair Fashion

Subtle Style: Quietly Detailed Sustainable Sweaters


One of the parts of my wardrobe that I’m most proud of is my sweater collection: Over the years, even on a limited income, I’ve invested in incredible knits. Part of the reason I’ve spent money in this clothing category is that I know how long they can last—I have two sweaters (one mohair, one a cashmere mix) that I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away almost 14 years ago, and they have been in regular rotation since…and she wore them plenty!

The key to making good-quality sweaters last forever is maintenance. I hand wash all my sweaters (usually not until the end of the winter), store them in plastic/cloth bags with cedar blocks (I’ve had the same ones for 20 years), and never wear them two days in a row—knits need recovery time between wearings.

So without further ado, some of the contenders for this year’s sustainable sweaters purchase; for some reason I have been drawn not to colors (probably because the rest of my wardrobe has plenty of that), but instead pattern and texture. To the subtle things!

Micaela Greg cardigan.


Micaela Greg’s knits are some of the most simply beautiful around, made with a very high attention to detail and a very modern eye by San Francisco-based sister-designers. This Diagonal Cardigan would be endlessly wearable; check out that almost tatooo-like pattern across the back—incredible.

upcycled aran sweater

This oversized Upcycled Aran sweater by GOODONE is worth of a delicious snuggle. Made from vintage Aran sweaters reconfigured in a blocky (front) and cheeky (rear) pattern, it is a knit that I’ll put on and won’t take off for days.

Suzanne Rae box sweater

It’s Suzanne Rae’s attention to the tiny details that makes her staples interesting and this box sweater has both; subtle-patterned arms as well as body. Made in NYC, it’s a modern classic.

Lauren Manoogian Boatneck Sweater

This Lauren Manoogian Boatneck Sweater might be the winner this year. I love its boatneck collar (very flattering for my face) and overall slightly unusual structure with dollman 3/4 sleeves. I adore alpaca (it’s a blend of alpaca, wool, and a bit of acrylic, so it will hold its shape), and the designer also creates jewelry—I always find it interesting when nontypical folks design clothes; there’s always something different about them.

Boyfriend Cardigan

The handmade-in-Germany Boyfriend Cardigan by Maiami is a little bit witty, with its super-exaggerated shape, but also totally wearable. I like the idea of wearing it over tights and a short skirt, or pairing it with a bra-top, long skirt and flowy hair.

Related on Eco-Chick: 

Closing the Loop: Companies Making New Products from Recycled Textile Waste

Marina Abramovic and Ulay: Because We Never Stop Loving Silently Those We Once Loved Out Loud


Main Photo Credit: Victori∀

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.