I love wearing sweaters in the colder months. They are easy to layer under coats, and I'm partial to quality fabrics and solid colours that transition well from outdoors to the workplace to a dinner restaurant. Many are cut to leave room for long sleeve shirts and base layers underneath, or extra loose to be more cozy. On my body type, this translates to baggy and shapeless, so I was happy to discover that Lord and Taylor carry both cashmere and merino sweaters in petite sizing and classic colours.
I tried both in shades of blue for comparison, and at first glance, they look strikingly similar. Feeling these in the store, I was fairly convinced that the much softer cashmere would be my favourite. Not so!
I'm loving the merino because I don't find it too stuffy indoors and it feels warmer in the outdoors than the cashmere. It's also the cheaper of the two, and a better fit. It is not skin tight but still skims my shape. The shoulder width fits great, and sleeve length is a tad long but not too noticeable. It's such an easy piece to wear and perfect for in-a-hurry mornings. It will look chic and polished thrown on with black pants or jeans, and can be styled up with jewelry for more formal occasions.
Despite both sized XS petite, the cashmere is a little wider, with sleeves and torso also longer than the merino. My shape is a bit lost in it, and the sleeves are extremely wrinkled from all the extra fabric bunching up. The material feels very delicate and I don't think it will hold up well over time. While it was certainly softer, it did not feel particularly warm.
The cashmere would be a great choice for loungey days and weekends, but the cheaper, warmer, and better fitting merino is more versatile. The sweaters look so similar on the surface, but it's those subtle differences that can help elevate an outfit to work better for petites.
If you like one of the fabrics but aren't such a fan of the crewneck sweater, or want a second one that's not an exact copy, there are options! Lord and Taylor tends to make several variations of the same sweater. The merino and cashmere also come in turtleneck (here and here) and button-up cardigan (here and here), petite sizes included! Bonus: lots of sales right now. Find Lord and Taylor in store at Hudson's Bay in Canada and at their self-titled store in the US, or directly online at lordandtaylor.com.