Q. Dear Umbra,

Disposable clothes are driving me nuts. In particular, as we come into fall, I’m thinking about sweaters. These days, when I buy a new sweater, it starts to pill on the first wear and ends up looking terrible after just a few outings. If I want a sweater that lasts for decades instead of days, what materials should I be looking for? Wool? Cotton? Cashmere? Should I make sure it has no synthetic material at all? I do buy from thrift stores when I can, but I can’t always find good used options.

Ginger A.
St. Louis, Missouri