I came for the goat but went home with the sheep: high-quality merino wool sweaters at a bargain basement price.
BIG DEAL | On the hunt for inexpensive cashmere, I trekked out to Costco last month to see whether their most recent shipment of Kirkland brand cashmere sweaters included the V-neck version in navy I’d been pining for. Sadly, it didn’t, and I was resigned to returning home without new apparel when I spotted a display table piled high with shockingly inexpensive V-neck sweaters in 100 percent merino wool.
“Can you believe the price of these?” the stylishly dressed woman standing next asked out loud as we gazed out at the sea of merino. Fine Australian merino wool sweaters for $16.99—you can’t pick up a t-shirt at the Gap for that little.
These tops can’t be that well made, I suggested. “That’s what I thought,” she replied, “so I bought one a few weeks ago to wash and wear a few times, and you know what? It really stood up.” My new shopping buddy then asked if I were familiar with Icebreaker, the New Zealand clothing brand considered by many to be the crème de la fine merino wool clothing. “I own Icebreaker merino wool tops and love them, but except for these being a little pricklier at first than the Icebreaker ones, I can’t see a whole lot of difference other than price,” she said. “I can get five of these from Costco for the price of one from Icebreaker.”
The Costco fine merino wool tops are made by Seg’ments, a division of C&O Apparel in Burnaby, a Canadian manufacturer that produces high-quality versions of already popular clothing brands like Lululemon Athletica workout wear and Icebreaker’s outdoor/leisure lines.
One of the things I like best about my new Seg’ments sweaters—apart from their warmth (without overheating the way cashmere can do), solid construction and machine-washability—is that they’re made in Canada.—Annabel Lee