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The search for the perfect cashmere sweater has, personally speaking, long posed a conundrum as far as balancing price and quality. As a premium material, cashmere pieces naturally cost more than those in cotton or wool but to find something that’s both high quality and competitively priced remains a challenge. At the low end of the spectrum—the under $200 range—you’re winning at the bank but, more often than not, losing in the long term as these sweaters start to pill after a few wears. On the other hand, the plushest European-made cashmere are built to last but can easily cost $2,000 or more.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by Billie Todd, a direct-to-consumer brand based outside Boston that aims to create long-lasting cashmere pieces that avoid retail markups. The most expensive sweater in its range comes in at $495.
While it has cut out the middleman, Billie Todd cuts no corners on production. Its yarns come from Todd and Duncan, which has been a cashmere authority for over 150 years and still supplies a number of luxury fashion houses. It’s easy to assume that knits from a historic Scottish mill are best-in-class but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. This is superlative cashmere for a few specific reasons: it’s washed using soft, pristine waters from Loch Levan, tightly spun with proprietary techniques and only uses the longest (35 millimeters, for strength) and finest (15 microns, for softness) strands of raw material.
I chose Billie Todd’s Loden sport crewneck, a wardrobe workhorse with a luxuriously substantial 4-ply weight. Design-wise, it’s a straightforward sweater with no visible branding except for a contrasting yellow intarsia square at the waist, which is discreet enough to fly unnoticed. Best of all, the price makes this feel like a prudent investment—a finely made sweater that I can actually live in. I’ve been putting mine through the paces for almost a year and have yet to see a single pill, and the neck and wristbands have maintained their shape beautifully. As opposed to my other, pricier cashmere sweaters which tend to linger in my closet unworn, this one has become my go-to.