Here at T&C, we pride ourselves on our discerning eye for quality. With Tried & True, our editors will give you an inside look at the pieces they simply cannot live without.
The word iconic gets thrown around a lot these days, but when it’s used in reference to Ralph Lauren’s cable-knit cashmere sweaters, it couldn’t be more fitting. Oft imitated, and a Ralph Lauren signature for over 50 years now, the cable-knit sweater stands in a class of its own and belongs in every person’s closet, regardless of whether they are preppy or not.
As I mentioned before, the knit, which was inspired by fisherman ropes and is hallmark of tasteful dressing, has been part of the Ralph Lauren universe for over five decades. It’s a piece I’ve seen worn by many people I know and love throughout my life. No matter who wears it or how it has been styled, it always feels relevant. Dare I say it: The sweater is truly timeless.
The timelessness, of course, comes down to the details. The weave of the cables—and the Italian cashmere—gives the piece a refined texture that adds something extra to an outfit instantly. I have long held that the reason these sweaters look so good as accessories is because the cables add just enough dimension to polish one’s ensemble, but never distract. The weave blends from outfit to outfit.
There’s also the fit. Not too oversized or slouchy, but not too slim cut, this piece of knitwear is both precise and unfussy. On body, it gives shape but doesn’t cling, nor does it swallow or overwhelm. That’s a fine line to walk, but it’s done quite well here. This lends to its wear-anywhere-with-anything panache. Yet another reason to love it.
Naturally, I own a few. But my favorite? My favorite is my cream version. For oodles of reasons, so I’ll name just a few. As someone who wears a fair amount of ivory and white, the very specific shade of cream translates seamless from a thrown-around-the-shoulders detail in the warmer months, to layered with striped turtlenecks, chambray, and, of course, a good old fashioned button down when the seasons get cold.
I’ve often found that one way to make dressing well more efficient is to own the same style of a piece I love in many different colors. Another added benefit to the Ralph Lauren classic is that it comes in a true rainbow assortment. When you are sick of neutrals and rich tones, there are plenty of brights to choose from too. There’s nothing better than swaddling yourself in a pop of pink or violet or sunny yellow on a grey winter day—which is why I’d argue it’s worth having the style in one or two neutral hues, and one or two brights. An investment, truly, but when you know its a sweater that will never to go out of style, all the more reason to own a few, right? With this kind of versatility, you’ll never regret it.
Photography by Florence Sullivan. Prop styling by Isabelle Von Arx.