Some time last week, I reached for a sweater for the first time since last spring and made a startling discovery: moths had gone to town on (all of!) my knitwear in a truly unprecedented fashion. It’s not like I didn’t have plenty of cedar and moth traps in that closet either, but those little menaces blithely barreled through somehow. Most of my sweaters are now too hole-ridden for it to make much sense—financially or aesthetically—trying to repair them. So I’m looking for maybe a couple of replacements, cute and easy specimens that aren’t excessively pricey and are pretty versatile. I love the yellow of this turtleneck so much that I’m considering going for it even though I am not typically a turtleneck person.
And the green stripes here are so bright and graphic.
This chunky cardi also comes in a couple of more neutral hues, but I’d like to think I could pull off this poppy red.
A cashmere turtleneck that isn’t cheap but is also very well-priced for what it is.
I feel this oversized cashmere cardigan would go into high closet rotation immediately.
A half-zip sweater that looks a lot like one from Nili Lotan that I coveted a couple of seasons ago.
And this center seam crewneck, which comes in an embarrassment of colors, reminds me of an Isabel Marant sweater I own but will not, alas, be wearing anymore.
This looks like early Donna Karan to me in a really good way.
This oversized alpaca number is a pretty good dupe for this (far pricier) option.
This feels so excellently 80s to me.
I love Vince sweaters—the fit almost always works for me, and I find a lot of them pretty flattering. But they’re not cheap, so I look for them at Nordstrom Rack, where they are plentiful. Right now I’ve got my eye on this cardigan, which is quite similar to one I wear constantly that got eaten.
And finally: how cozy and cute is this hooded cardigan?
Oh, my people are all here. I’m so sorry to hear of our battles against our winged nemeses.
Kim, I sincerely feel your pain. Separately, can we say that COS and Alex Mill are putting out amazing looking sweaters made of what look and read like high-qualify fabrics? The % of natural fibers are putting most of what’s on Net a Porter to shame.
Sorry for your loss.
I just took a workshop on creative visible mending and I’m now planning all kinds of fun darning and embroidery to mask or highlight moth holes and stains in my sweaters.
Is this the one by Celie Pym? I want to do this! A terrific idea
I was just thinking this as well! We had a visiting artist a few years ago on my campus who does performance work related to the garment industry, and we had a creative visible mending workshop that was really fun. I wouldn’t necessarily want to wear creatively-and-visibly-mended garments everywhere, but I love the concept, and it has kept more than a few things out of the landfill, etc.
I’ve never had moths but currently have carpet beetles, and I’ve had them everywhere I’ve lived for years, which may mean I brought them with me, I don’t know. They don’t confine themselves to carpet.
I was told this, but I DO NOT KNOW IF IT’S TRUE so be careful, BUT what I was told to rid oneself of a moth infestation is to put your sweaters (just a couple at a time) into a HOT dryer which will kill any eggs invisible to the bare naked eye. I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS!!!!! I don’t know if it works or if your sweaters will shrink (can they if they aren’t damp) or anything else. At times like these I like to ask Martha Stewart. Otherwise…I love both of those Everlane sweaters. The cardigan comes in a really fetching blue.
Dryer is not hot enough or long enough. Oven, 160-plus, for 3 hours or more.
Eggs can survive the frikkin’ apocalypse; cedar oil and dryers ain’t nuthin’
Just found this article: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-clothes-moths/
I use the sealing plastic tubs from the Container Store that Wirecutter recommends – they definitely work as long as everything is clean going in!
Oh no! I have to say that after having this happen too many times, I now store all my wool items in these big plastic tubs that are probably made for storing files or something. I put cedar blocks in, but I think the main thing is to have the sweaters in airtight containers. Also, the dryer thing is true! They’re often wrinkled when I take them out, and a brief (like 20 min.) spin in a hot dryer restores them and makes them look great—no shrinkage at all, whether wool, cashmere, whatever. Those are my tips; so sorry for your losses!
Now, I’m really afraid to check on my good sweaters. I didn’t pack them away this summer and I’m afraid of what I might find.
Martha does have an answer, but it is NOT a hot dryer––just the opposite––she says to freeze them for several days. Google “Martha Stewart moths” for the complete answer.
Was just about to say this. I used to sell/collect vintage and the best trick is to enclose the garment in a plastic bag and leave it in the freezer for a day of two. Any eggs will be killed with no harm to the garment. Never throw sweaters in the dryer ever.
Kim, so sorry about your sweaters. Those little jerks! I love your suggestions. The half zip sweater made me think of the one by Spanx I just bought. It comes in four colors, including black (wink). $118. It’s so soft!!! It’s more sweatshirt than sweater. The lines on it are great. You can see them best on the palm color. Good luck rebuilding. Let us know what you get.
I have had good luck using those storage bags that compress down to a quarter of the size when you suck the air out with a vacuum. Moths abhor a vacuum.
This is the perfect place to commemorate a recent loss. Friends, a moment of silence, please, for my faded navy blue, Jackie cardigan, purchased in J. Crew in the late aughts. Holes beyond repair have appeared. Purchased for a wedding, it proved to be the Baby Bear of cardigans in terms of appropriateness and warmth-bringing. I even think the fading somehow made it a little better. Never again will we see the likes of this stalwart, inoffensive companion: cardigans are life’s mercy for those of us called the Frozen Chosen. (Can’t remember the last time I saw my rector, but I can tell you when I last wore my favorite cardigan, which is a very Episcopalian thing to say.) Goodbye! Goodbye! Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.
If it helps, I’ve replaced some beloved things on Poshmark! You might be able to find one?
Oh, no, that’s too bad!! … … … Hmm, maybe I need Jackie cardigan. … … … I too often find that navy fabrics are so dark, you can’t tell if it’s black or navy.
I have had one massive moth problem ever, and that is last winter when moths ate several holes in the Nili Lotan cashmere drop crotch sweat pants that (of course) I paid through the nose for and that (of course) I first learned about on this blog. I asked my tailor to just stick a patch across them all because I couldn’t bear to toss them in the garbage. It’s not cute, but there we go.
Oh, that’s too bad, Kim!! I’ve been there. I ditto the MS recommendations. And sometimes I also do a heat treatment – I’ll put an item in a ziploc, press out the extra air, and leave it in a car trunk parked in the sun for a couple days. I might even alternate that with the freezer if it’s something really important. Btw, some people say to do the freezer thing twice. Or just the dry cleaner, that should work too. (I’ll only dry clean if it’s like a suit or something.) … … … Just my two cents, I wouldn’t jump right in with a wool turtleneck. … … … And if you really liked something, I think it’s worth looking online for a secondhand one. I’m stubborn that way. … … … That cardi with the big facing (if that’s what it’s called) also comes in a pretty gobsmacking blue purple … GBGH?
People … I am no expert, but, I don’t think cedar is enough. And I think moth balls are bad for your lungs? Unfortunately this is one of those times when we have to do actual research. I haven’t had anything eat through a ziploc yet. First, you just have to make sure it’s really clean, and dry, before you store it. But above all, don’t feel bad – this can happen to anyone. … … … You know what, since I am already “there” so to speak, um – other things besides moths eat clothes. Anyhoo.
Commiserating about the moth situation. Went through the same several years ago. Since then, I pack away all wool clothing in plastic ziplocks (they make big ones you can buy on Amazon). I’ve read that you’re not supposed to store wool sweaters in plastic but I’ve seen no ill effects – certainly not compared to the alternative. I think as long as you rotate in and out of the bags, you’re okay. It’s kind of pain to deal with putting the stuff in bags every spring but worth it in terms of clothing dollars saved.
I hate to have to suggest this, but if you’ve had a recent infestation I recommend NOT reinvesting in new moth-prone woolens for at least a year. Well, I do think you should get one or two items just to be able to assess the situation, but keep them inexpensive as they’re likely to be destroyed. I had a moth problem and despite doing everything recommended (meticulously clearing my closets, washing down walls, vacuuming thoroughly; moth traps; drying clean items on high heat; bagging my clothes in ziplocks and then placing them in sealed plastic tubs for good measure), it took me at least three to four years to eradicate them. And FYI, cedar is completely useless. It just smells nice.
Yes—years. We had to rip out all the carpet to finally get rid of ours.
Sorry about the moths! That sucks. Have fun purchasing some new items — I love the look of the turtlenecks with the dropped sleeve. They look stylish and laid back. I love how those half-zips with the big collars are back — they remind me of the eighties.
Long term storage in plastic will definitely ruin natural fibers, just beware. To get rid of a moth/carpet beetle infestation call an exterminator because like others note it’s extremely difficult to get rid of eggs. I work with textiles for a living and the way large amounts of fibers are preserved is usually with very harsh chemical treatments, which incidentally is why you should wash your clothes when you get them, even when they’re new. They’re treated to prevent insect, mold, and fungal infestation from the beginning of fiber processing through final garment construction.
Ugh, I am so sorry — that is just the worst! And really hard to combat! Though I have also had some luck with the overnight freezing method, and with finding somewhat affordable replacement sweaters during end-of-season Vince sales, and on Quince. Good luck!
So many of these are Mabel Mora in Only Murders in the Building, whose sweater game in totally on point. Oh, and her coats too. That’s a round about way to say that I love every one of your picks! Still, grr, moths.
OMG – you’re right! Selena Gomez was absolutely adorable (and chic!) in that show.
I feel your pain. I went through this last year and it’s going to involve some serious, thorough cleaning and new storage in order to prevent the moths from ruining your woolens. Moths eat wool, feathers, fur and silk. There are a number of online resources that will lay out what you should do. Sadly, once you have a clothing moth infestation, it never truly goes away. Best of luck!
Oh that is just the pits. It’s never not heartbreaking. I once had it happen to a handknit Bohus cardigan; that was the nadir. I invested in an Amish-made cedar chest years ago when I lived near Lancaster Co. And often I now look for acrylic blends so I don’t have to brace myself every time I unfold a sweater and hold it up to the window to check for holes.
This just happened to me as well! Luckily not all but all of my most frequently worn and basic pieces are destroyed. And I’m allergic to wool and all I wear from october to april are sweaters. So, it’s been an expensive week!
I just invested in cedar and moth protection stuff – this has never been an issue for me before – and am scheduling a reminder on my calendar to refresh them every 2 months or so. Hopefully this will help!