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My favorite chunky knit cardigan is stylish, stretchy and unbelievably cozy

If I could, I'd award it "sweater of the year."
Writer Katie Jackson wearing a brown cardigan outside and indoors from Amazon
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

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The only cardigan I don't like is the one I can't afford. They're my favorite style of sweater. In fact, I don't think I would have minded being forced to wear a school uniform if it had included a cardigan.

Seriously, I get at least one new cardigan every year. Last year, it was this classic style I bought in my mall's H&M. The year before, it was a cool Aztec-themed piece I found in a boutique. This year, I'm not shopping in stores as much. So, I decided to try this chunky knit from Amazon, and it's become an essential part of my fall wardrobe.

MEROKEETY Soft Chunky Knit Cardigan

It's a bestseller

It's not enough to say this cardigan is a bestseller. It's ranked in the top five on Amazon's list of Best-Sellers in Women's Cardigans. What's more, MEROKEETY, the brand that makes it, also has the No. 1 and the No. 2 top-selling sweaters in this category. It also has an impressive 4.5-star average rating from more than 21,000 reviewers. To me, that speaks volumes.

It's $34 and comes in over 30 colors

Can you find cheaper cardigans out there? Yes. Are they bestsellers? Probably not. Even though this sweater cost almost twice as much as last year's H&M cardigan, it's worth it. For starters, it comes in multiple colors, so you could wear a different one every day for almost a month. Second, it has pockets! And these aren't pockets just for show. They're deep enough to fit my iPhone XS, both of my TV remotes and even the water bottle I bring everywhere all at once.

Katie Jackson / TODAY

The fabric is soft yet sturdy

I love my affordable cashmere sweaters, but I hate the time and money it takes to clean them. This sweater, which is made of a 100% polyester "popcorn yarn," is more practical for daily wear. The best way to describe how soft the fabric is would be to compare it to what stuffed animals — the kind meant for babies — are made from.

Also, don't be alarmed by the packaging. This sweater comes in a vacuum-sealed bag and looks incredibly flat, but it expands and reveals its true fluffiness as soon as you open it. However, unlike fuzzy sweaters or cable knit sweaters I've had in the past, this one doesn't shed or pill. To clean it, I just throw it in the washing machine with laundry detergent (that's gentle but hardworking) and cold water. It can't go in the dryer, but it's not a big deal. It air-dries faster than my bath towels. (I don't own a dryer, so I know how fast everything dries!)

Katie Jackson / TODAY

It has the perfect stretch factor

This sweater is so stretchy, I can give myself hugs without worrying about tearing the back. I can also fill up the pockets with real weight because they retain their shape so well. The fit, while definitely a boyfriend-style, is more feminine than other oversized sweaters. I might not dress very feminine, but I certainly feel more fashionable and less lazy when I'm wearing it.

Katie Jackson / TODAY

That said, it's the perfect piece to wear while lazing around the house. Most days, it's the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I take off at night. If that doesn't warrant an award for sweater of the year, then I don't know what does.

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This article was originally published on Oct. 27, 2020.