MyHabit Comes Into Its Own
In the wake of the quick growth of the flash sale site Gilt, many competitors sprang up. Gilt had secured relationships with many great companies, and generally had a good sense of what brands to align themselves with, so the first year or so was rough for these other guys. There was a lot of Nautica sales, in other words.
Recently, though, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s offering, MyHabit, has started to offer some great discounts on great brands. Today, for example, they’re offering E. Tautz, Luciano Barbera, Pringle and Jil Sander. Of course, they’re also (literally) offering Nautica, so the range of quality is broad, but it’s absolutely worth taking note. In the same time period, Gilt’s strength has weakened - their discounts feel smaller, their brand quality less consistent, the proportion of their offerings that are re-listings increased dramatically.
Many of the items on MyHabit are on significant discount - in a sale called “The Gentleman’s Essentials,” they’ve got Incotex trousers for $49, and many of the Luciano Barbera items were as much as 80 or 90% off. Nothing to sneeze at.
If you haven’t tried MyHabit, it might be worth signing up to get their sale announcements. I’ve been grateful to The Silentist and This Fits for their posts about good sales, but I think I’ll pay more attention to my inbox going forward. Do the same, and you might catch a great brand at great prices.
(A quick note: when we link to these sites, we usually use referral links when we remember because hey, why not, but frankly the benefit for us is pretty marginal and doesn’t affect our editorial decisions.)

MyHabit Comes Into Its Own

In the wake of the quick growth of the flash sale site Gilt, many competitors sprang up. Gilt had secured relationships with many great companies, and generally had a good sense of what brands to align themselves with, so the first year or so was rough for these other guys. There was a lot of Nautica sales, in other words.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s offering, MyHabit, has started to offer some great discounts on great brands. Today, for example, they’re offering E. Tautz, Luciano Barbera, Pringle and Jil Sander. Of course, they’re also (literally) offering Nautica, so the range of quality is broad, but it’s absolutely worth taking note. In the same time period, Gilt’s strength has weakened - their discounts feel smaller, their brand quality less consistent, the proportion of their offerings that are re-listings increased dramatically.

Many of the items on MyHabit are on significant discount - in a sale called “The Gentleman’s Essentials,” they’ve got Incotex trousers for $49, and many of the Luciano Barbera items were as much as 80 or 90% off. Nothing to sneeze at.

If you haven’t tried MyHabit, it might be worth signing up to get their sale announcements. I’ve been grateful to The Silentist and This Fits for their posts about good sales, but I think I’ll pay more attention to my inbox going forward. Do the same, and you might catch a great brand at great prices.

(A quick note: when we link to these sites, we usually use referral links when we remember because hey, why not, but frankly the benefit for us is pretty marginal and doesn’t affect our editorial decisions.)

A Basic Cashmere Wardrobe for Men

It doesn’t get much more versatile than a simple v-neck sweater in a basic, solid color. It doesn’t get much more classic, either. Build yourself a wardrobe of three pieces, and you’ll be set for years.

Above are three of the most basic colors: burgundy, navy and gray. If you wear a lot of monochromatic palettes, or want something to wear out at night, you could add black to that list (though gray is more versatile, and can usually fill in fine for black). Camel can also be a nice choice. These are pieces that go with everything from jeans to a suit, and add sophistication and comfort to every outfit you wear.

I like cashmere for my v-necks. It’s warmer relative to its weight than wool, and of course it’s exceptionally soft, as well. It’s also one of the few fabrics that gets better with age. High-quality cashmere, with reasonably attentive care, can last very nearly forever. I think that this is a wardrobe element that’s essential enough that you should look for the best.

But where do you get the good stuff? I wrote a quick guide to finding quality cashmere, but I’ll summarize (OK, probably expand) here.

There’s plenty of passable cashmere on the market today - far more than ever before. You can buy cashmere sweaters for $80 at Costco, $150 at Lands’ End or $198 at J. Crew. That Lands’ End sweater is decent quality, but it’s still expensive, and it’s not the good stuff. It won’t last, look as nice, or feel as good.

As the cashmere market has exploded over the past fifteen years or so, the breadth of quality available has expanded dramatically. All cashmere is not created equal. Cashmere’s quality depends on the quality of the fiber, the quality of the milling, and the quality of the garment’s construction. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that there’s no difference.

Good cashmere is made from the longest fibers. It is dense, resilient and lightweight (though it may be offered in multiple layers, or plys). The texture should almost approach a cotton jersey. It will also (new) be a little less soft than the cheap stuff. The short fibers in cheap cashmere are loose right from the start, so they feel soft to the touch. They’ll pill and tear. The best cashmere feels smooth as much as it feels soft. Go to a super-fancy store, and touch some Loro Piana branded cashmere, and you’ll get a feeling for what I’m talking about.

Of course, great cashmere has become surpassingly expensive. A Loro Piana cashmere sweater can cost as much as $1500, and one by a less-well-advertised maker like Drumohr can still go for $500 or more. Perhaps you can swing this, in which case more power to you, but for most of us, that’s cost-prohibitive.

There is good news, however. Because good cashmere wears so well, and because almost all cashmere was top-of-the-line until fifteen or so years ago, used is a tremendous option.

For $30-60, you can buy a pristine Scottish cashmere sweater (Scottish cashmere, by the way, is what you want), from a luxury maker. Look for something from the 1980s or earlier, with a smooth, tight hand. It should be made in Scotland, either for a fancy store (Saks, Nordstrom, Brooks, Wilkes, Niemans, that kind of thing) or by one of the big Scottish cashmere brands (Pringle, Drumohr, etc.). Look for something sized by chest size, not S-M-L-XL. Focus on the basic colors we’ve identified above. If it’s pilling, has holes or stains, leave it be.

When you’re shopping, take your time. The perfect piece may not come along right away, but it will come. These are basics, after all.

Once you’ve got your sweater - or sweaters - care for them gently. Hand-wash them only when they really need it (once a year or so). They’ll actually get softer with age. If you wear through the elbows, add patches. If you get a snag, have it rewoven. Take care of them, and they’ll keep you warm and stylish for a healthy chunk of the rest of your life.

It’s On eBay 
Vintage Pringle Cashmere Sweater (42)
I’ve said it before, but there is no better second-hand target than high-quality cashmere. If its in good shape and of good quality, it will be better than new. An older Pringle or other Scottish-made cashmere will be of a quality that is tough to buy in stores for less than four or five hundred dollars. Choose v-necks in staple solids like navy, burgundy and gray.
Buy It Now $39.99

It’s On eBay

Vintage Pringle Cashmere Sweater (42)

I’ve said it before, but there is no better second-hand target than high-quality cashmere. If its in good shape and of good quality, it will be better than new. An older Pringle or other Scottish-made cashmere will be of a quality that is tough to buy in stores for less than four or five hundred dollars. Choose v-necks in staple solids like navy, burgundy and gray.

Buy It Now $39.99

I just bought two cashmere turtlenecks on eBay. One is gray, by Black Fleece. The other is cream, by Pringle (and old). I’m pretty sure I can wear them. Pretty sure.

I just bought two cashmere turtlenecks on eBay. One is gray, by Black Fleece. The other is cream, by Pringle (and old). I’m pretty sure I can wear them. Pretty sure.