A Turtleneck Sweater Is Your New Winter Staple
When I started my full time job last year, I was depending a lot on Merino Wool Crew-Neck Sweaters to keep me warm. They did the job just fine but this year it was time to step it up. And you are going to step up alongside me with the Altea Cashmere Turtleneck Review!
If you were one of those people that thought that turtlenecks are used just to hide hickeys then it is time to reconsider because they will add a whole lot of flair to your outfits.
You can dress up your more casual outfit, or look sophisticated and more masculine with a suit. We will talk all about that later.
This review has been the product of my collaboration with Mr. Porter, one of the most prestigious stores in the UK for luxury men’s clothing.
Without further ado, let’s dive into this review!
Altea Milano – The Perennial Flower
Althea Officinalis is a perennially blossoming beautiful plant with healing qualities, a characteristic that gave birth to the company on today’s spotlight: Altea Milano.
Altea Milano is a label that dates back to 1892 when Giuseppe Sartori started a small workshop in the area between Via Verri and Via Montenapoleone. These streets would later become the cornerstones of international fashion.
Giuseppe was the first of the Sartoris to helm the brand, which suffered numerous setbacks during that unfortunate events of World War II. The brand was reborn in 1946 with the name Altea, also known as the goddess of healing and the perennial blossoming plant with healing capabilities.
Using high quality silks, brocades, wool and cashmere, Altea is now run by the fourth generation of Sartoris. Back in the 70’s, brothers Luca and Michele took over the business and have expanded it to a well-known respected brand with famous ties and luxury goods for both men and women.
I always like supporting family businesses, so choosing one of their Cashmere Turtleneck Sweaters was an easy choice. It also allowed me to experience what it’s like purchasing from Mr.Porter.
Now that we know who we are dealing with, let’s dive deep into the details of this review.
- Shop: Mr.Porter
- Brand: Altea Milano
- Type: Roll-Neck
- Product Code: 1098506
- Colour: Light Grey (Also in Black/Burgundy/Navy)
- Material: 100% Cashmere
- Source: Todd & Duncan Scotland
- Made In: Italy
- Details: Ribbed Trims
- Care: Hand Wash
- Fit: Regular (True to Size)
- Price: 290 €/2,977.37 SEK/330 $/260 £
Ordering & Delivery – 8/10
Mr. Porter has a great website. It is easy, intuitive to navigate and loads up very fast while at the same time being aesthetically pleasing.
As an improvement I would suggest a few more filters such as fit and price range. I would also like the option to filter more than one type of clothing at the same time like viewing blazers and dress shirts together.
Needless to say, I chose Cashmere and Roll-Neck Sweaters and from there it was quite straightforward. Size selection was based on the recommendations and I proceeded to check out.
I would like to see more information about each piece of clothing though, which is especially important for fabrics like Cashmere. Is it 1-ply or 2-ply? Why do I have to change colour with a different description to find out the Cashmere comes from Scotland?
Shipment to Sweden costs 8 Euros, which was slightly annoying due to the fact that the next day a mail popped up in my inbox offering free shipping for a few days.
In their very informative FAQ, Mr.Porter has a tracking system for your country where you can even input your post code and it calculates the arrival time. In my case it was 4-5 business days, which is exactly how long it took.
Considering everything and with very few minor blemishes, I am very satisfied with my ordering experience. Easy navigation, safe checkout and accurate delivery times warrant a high grade.
Unboxing – 10/10
This is by far the most luxurious package I have seen, well worth the delivery price and matching the high price tag.
Initially, your packet is in a protective cardboard box and arrived in pristine condition. It is inside that the magic happens though. When you open it up you are greeted with a high quality white box with Mr.Porter’s initials. You know that something good lies in there.
Inside you will find:
- Your Invoice
- A Return Invoice if you do not like your item
- A Shipping Tag from DHL for the Return
- One Instruction Manual for Returns
- An Envelope with Vintage Drawings and Social Media Information
- Your Purchased Item
- A Quality of Excellence Tag
Your Sweater will be wrapped in protective black paper which has a white seal with your name in Italics. A very small detail but it really feels personal and I like it very much.
Pro Tip: If you plan on returning the item, do NOT remove the clothing tag. It clearly states on it that if you do remove it they do not accept returns.
Fit – 9.5/10
I weight 73 kg (~160 pounds) and am 178 cm tall (5.84 ft) and choosing Small was the best option. It fits great as you can see in the pictures below in all areas such as the sleeves, the roll-neck but also the waist and length.
It is a regular fit and while I would love to see this in a slim cut, I feel it works perfect for me and gives me good freedom of movement. That is the only reason I give it 9.5/10 but it should not deter you from buying it.
Good job Altea.
Quality – 8/10
I am having trouble grading this one properly because during the first two days I wore this at work I stumbled upon two issues.
The first one is that I noticed pilling inside the neck-roll and on the stomach area. Pilling is known to happen even in the highest quality of Cashmere but I did not expect it from the first day. They say that pilling will go away after the first wash so I am reserving judgement.
Secondly I noticed a brown light stain under one of the arms, which looked like colour from my wooden desk had leeched into the fabric. I feel I have to be very careful wearing it.
I should also say that it was really easy to clean though.
Other than that, everything looks to be in order which is great. The seams, stitching and the ribbed edges or all well made and I did not notice any loose threads.
Lastly, the sweater returns to its original shape after stretching out and for me that is a sign of good construction. I will then give this an original grade reflective of my experience and will update it in the future accordingly.
Pro Tip: If you stain your Cashmere do not panic. Carefully fill a bowl with cold water and a little baby shampoo and soak/press the sweater until the stain comes out. Then proceed to change the water and soak the sweater once more there. Squeeze as much water as you can out of it and lay it on a towel and stretch it to its original shape. It really helps if you make some tape measurements before washing. Also, it will take up to half a day to dry properly so do not worry if the sweater smells like a wet dog!
Softness – 8.5/10
There is no doubt that the Altea Turtleneck is made with super soft Cashmere and you can feel it when you touch it. It is soft and smooth and your hand glides over. I must admit that I caught myself doing that multiple times for no reasons during the first days.
By far the softest Sweater I own and while I was uncertain in the beginning I did a comparison touch test with both my Merino Wool Sweaters and the Suitsupply version. In both cases the Altea one was softer and felt more luxurious.
Additionally, it is not itchy at all and the first time I wore this to work I paired it with a suit and boots and wore no other undershirt. Perfect around the neck, but a small issue was a small tag that was tingling me around the left shoulder blade.
However, as I said I encountered a problem with pilling in the stomach area which creates a texture feel when you run your hand over it. It is rather annoying at times and I look forward to see if it will go after the first wash.
I am sure that there is softer Cashmere out there for higher prices and until I can update this section with the first wash findings I will leave this at 8.5/10.
Update 04/01/2021: The Altea sweater is even softer now and compared to my other cashmere pieces pills MUCH less.
Warmth – 9.5/10
For more practical information I have tried this in various temperatures ranging from -5°C to +20°C.
During the warmer temperatures between +2°C to+7°C it is breathable enough to not make you sweat and suffer but you should remove your scarf indoors.
When the temperature drops below 0°C though it really starts to shine. If you live in such temperatures it is a fantastic investment.
Lastly, I wore it inside a pub with a lot of people with my suit at room temperature and I had absolutely no problem.
Once more, great performance with half a point reserved for future updates.
Final Grade – 9/10
When I was eating dinner with my best friends, they asked me how much it cost. When I told them 330$ they gasped and said they would never invest so much in something like that.
But as I always try to advocate in this blog, quality is better than quantity. A great Sweater like this will not only be timeless and elegant, but will also be durable for years and maybe decades with proper care. It is a great return on investment.
That being said, If you live in a warm climate with only a couple of days of cold it is probably not worth the price and you can get away with wool or other fabrics. However, If you are willing to spend a little extra for a really elegant Turtleneck, I can only recommend Altea’s clothes.
5 Small Tips – Caring For Your Cashmere
Here are a few tips you should always have in mind when dealing with luxurious fabrics:
- Always fold your Sweaters instead of hanging.
- Hand wash if needed, otherwise air dry.
- When washing, squeeze as much water as possible and let it dry in its original shape on a clean towel.
- Use a Cashmere comb to clean from pilling.
- Get some mothballs to protect them.
Once more, I am pretty glad I made a smart purchase. Since I personally buy my clothes I need to make sure that I get good quality items rather than waste my money. However, reviews of bad purchases such as the atrocious Vincero Watch help YOU avoid making bad buys.
I must admit I was reluctant about the Altea Turtleneck because of the pilling and buying first time from a brand unknown to me, but I found a new staple for my wardrobe that will last for a very long time and keep me ultra warm in the process.
You can wear this with denim or with a suit and it will look equally great. I suggest you add a turtleneck this season to your wardrobe. If you have the budget to try Cashmere, please do by all means. There is no way you will regret it.
This brings us to the close of the “Altea Cashmere Turtleneck Review” and I can conclude that both the experience of dealing with Mr.Porter and trying Altea Milano has been phenomenal.
PS: I do feel obliged to report though that I emailed customer support for the pilling and after the initial reply where they requested some photos, I received no other message by Mr.Porter. Christmas or not, I expected one.
Stay tuned for more product reviews and another exciting interview and don’t forget to subscribe!
Thank you for reading,