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Cotton sweaters

esvoboda

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Is there any advantage to choosing a cotton sweater over a lightweight wool or cashmere one other than cost? It seems that as the weather gets warmer, there is a general preference towards cotton yet I cannot think of a practical reason why other than cost. I do not find cotton to be as durable. Cotton sweaters stretch out of shape much easier. In the long run, it seems to pay to buy something else but perhaps I am missing something.

-Ed
 

VMan

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Is there any advantage to choosing a cotton sweater over a lightweight wool or cashmere one other than cost? It seems that as the weather gets warmer, there is a general preference towards cotton yet I cannot think of a practical reason why other than cost. I do not find cotton to be as durable. Cotton sweaters stretch out of shape much easier. In the long run, it seems to pay to buy something else but perhaps I am missing something.

-Ed
Wool sweaters are best for winter and cold fall days because of their excellent insulating abilities. Cotton and linen sweaters breathe much better, and are therefore better for spring days or cool summer days. I find cotton sweaters to hold their shape better than wool - but thats just my own experience. Plus, cotton is easier to take care of and you don't need to worry about drastically shrinking it.
 

gregory

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Perhaps a high-quality pima cotton sweater with some stretch would help with shape-retention?
 

esvoboda

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I have owned only one cotton sweater in recent memory and it was a thick Eddie Bauer one that somehow got stretched and never looked good on me ever again. I think it was oversized as so much American clothing is. I gave it a good wash/dry cycle and all that managed to do was fade the color. The thing was still all stretched out. In a size smaller, and perhaps of better quality, and maybe I would have liked it more.

Perhaps an analogy is choosing between a wool shirt (i.e. Pendleton) and a cotton shirt for warmer weather. No question, I'd go for cotton because I know how much more the wool would insulate. I think it's time for me to buy a good cotton sweater. It gets chilly at night here sometimes during the warmer months (San Francisco area) and I think a sweater would be an alternative to the lightweight jackets that I wear in that situation. Thanks for the input.
 

AskAndyAboutClothes

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esvoboda:

Cotton is cooler, but the extra layer adds insulation for wear on cool spring/summer evenings.

Wool is a fall/winter appropriate fabric so cotton looks more "summery" for proper seasonal wear.

I'd be careful washing any sweater in a washing machine. If you do follow these cautions:

Machine Washing:

Cotton and some cotton blends can be machine washed, but read the label to make certain.

For machine-washing, secure the garment in a tied pillowcase and set on gentle cycle, using cold water. Avoid the dryer and use the towel method described in the section about hand-washing.

Hand-washing is a better bet if you don't take sweaters to a dry cleaner.

Read the label, some sweaters may be hand washed. If you hand-wash follow these steps:

1. Gently wash in cold water with a mild soap (shampoo will do) and thoroughly rinse in cold water. Warm water may be used if the sweater is more heavily soiled. Hot water shrinks the yarns. Special care must be taken as wet fabric can weaken and stretch out of shape. Never wring or twist. Gently press excess water from garment.

2. While supporting the weight of the wet garment lay the sweater on a dry towel. Ease the sweater back into shape and roll up in the towel. Press to remove excess water and repeat this step with a second towel.

3. On a flat surface lay the sweater on a fresh, dry towel, until thoroughly air-dried.

Andy
 

esvoboda

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Thank you, Andy, for another very informative post. I have always babied my wool/cashmere sweaters but I treated that cotton sweater no better than a t-shirt. I feel silly in retrospect. I will do as you say with my next cotton sweater and I bet my opinion of them will change.
 

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