CASHMERE SWEATER

7 things to consider when buying cashmere.

Sometimes we forget why we buy what we buy. There's a story behind each item in our home. Where it came from, how it got there, why certain things are designed a certain way. Really though, we ought to take a step back and admire the history and attention given to each thing we own and cherish.

For example, our clothes define how we feel on a daily basis. What makes this t-shirt more important than that t-shirt? What should I know when I go to buy a new sweater? Is this fabric softer than another for any specific reason or is that just how it is? Well, when it comes to cashmere, there's certain things you ought to know.

1. Check the label.

Only pure cashmere sweaters can be labeled 100% cashmere. There's a law (The Wool Products Labeling Act) that actually makes it a crime to mislabel cashmere if it's not legitimate. Since it's such a treasured fabric, Lands' End cashmere sweaters are independently verified by a lab in London. That makes it easier for you to know that you're getting the best possible product.

The label will also let you know what kind of care you need to give your cashmere. While some are able to be dry cleaned, it's not always recommended. Typically, your cashmere will benefit from an at home hand wash. Luckily you won't have to do this after each time you wear it. But remember, with great comfort comes great responsibility.

2. Always buy from a brand you trust.

Now that you know there are cashmere criminals abound, once you find that ideal cashmere sweater take notice to see if that brand is consistent in its supply of cashmere. Ideally somewhere that has been around for some time. Hint, hint: Lands' End has been offering cashmere sweaters since the 1990s. There's a reason they haven't slowed down.

They always use cashmere from Inner Mongolia, prized for the goats it raises. The time and perfectionist attention given to cashmere ensures that the quality is first and foremost. Imagine what one scratchy thread would do to an entire cashmere sweater. That's right, pretty much every thread is measured and determined to be scratch free. It's a humbling thought.

Rather than testing out your hard-earned money on a random brand, sticking with the same crew will make it easier to shop when you know what fits and what colors you're looking for. Soon you'll have a whole section in your wardrobe dedicated to cashmere. It might even look like a shrine.

3. For extra warmth, look for 2-ply yarn. What does that mean?

Having a minimum of two plies means that multiple pieces of yarn are twisted together to make the garment. "Oh sure, right, yep. Um…but what does that mean for me?" That means it's a softer, stronger, and warmer sweater. And believe it or not, it gets softer the more you wear it. Wild.

4. Stick with classic colors.

Cashmere sweaters, if cared for well, will last for years. A classic sweater means your favorite sweater will never go out of style. What do most of us do when we find that one great pair of women's jeans? We buy several pairs and we mix up the colors. Sweaters are the same. Sure, it may take some time to build up your cashmere collection but when you start to feel the need for new color in your life, you'll know exactly where to go.

5. Is it soft to the touch?

Yes, it is very soft. Pure cashmere is one of the softest fibers in the world. So soft you'll want everything you own to be cashmere. People might even walk up to you and comment how soft that sweater is.

While it does get softer over time, it's best to use a cashmere comb to keep the fabric from any potential pilling. The better you take care of your sweater, the longer the investment lasts.

6. Cashmere is a natural fiber.

Like anything natural, your cashmere needs to be cared for accordingly. And don't trust any moths to be its caretaker. When you get your cashmere sweater you will want to tend to it without being overly attentive. Here are a couple tips:

  • Don't use hangers. Fold your sweaters and keep them in a drawer or shelf.
  • When or if you have cashmere that needs to hibernate for the summer, an airtight bag will be the best bet. No moths, no problems.
  • As for cleaning? No washer and dryer. Please. And the dry cleaner can be a hit or miss. Your best bet is to hand wash using cold water and if necessary, a mild detergent. Do not wring out the water; press the fabric to remove excess water. Lay on a towel and air dry.

7. You'll want to wear it everywhere.

Aside from those hot and humid days where the idea of wearing any clothing is an abhorrent thought, you really can enjoy cashmere throughout the seasons. And to think that you can go pretty much anywhere with that sweater means you won't have to think about what to pack. This is going with you. It's guaranteed luggage space.

Related Articles