CASHMERE SWEATERS

Why are cashmere sweaters so special?

Cashmere is notably the softest and warmest fabric most of us can afford. While it's a luxury yarn that requires a little extra TLC, we love to treat ourselves to a prize of cashmere when we can.

It's a unique item in your wardrobe for a reason. When it's a chilly fall day you're looking at the cashmere sweater. On a brisk winter night you do the same. In the spring when it's not quite warm and not quite cold, you'll opt for cashmere. In the summer, you love the cool nights especially when you get to spend them in the comforts of your cashmere. It's hard to find a wardrobe companion as reliable as that. So what else makes cashmere so special?

What are cashmere sweaters made of?

Cashmere is a fine wool. How is it cultivated? Goats. Cashmere wouldn't be what it is without the light, warm, and strong fibers shorn from the underbelly of goats.

Cashmere has been combed through for coarse hairs extensively, so the price you pay is that extra guarantee that you will be in your most ideal comfort zone.

In theory, you're pretty much capable of climbing any mountain a goat can. (Believe in yourself.)

Where does the wool come from?

Cashmere wool is typically produced in Asia, specifically Inner Mongolia, Nepal, and Kashmir. Unfortunately, not all cashmere is of the highest quality so it's imperative to make sure you know where cashmere comes from. Lands' End gets its wool from Inner Mongolia.

How to care for cashmere sweaters?

Many people assume that cashmere ought to be cleaned at the dry cleaner (which is half-true) but it shouldn't be the go-to option.

  • Rather, hand washing is the best bet when you're looking to maintain that softness. Submerge the cashmere in cold water (never hot water!) to let it soak, and using your palms squeeze the water out.
  • Do not wring out. As far as most clothing goes, unless it's a rag, don't wring it out.
  • The best way to dry cashmere is to initially press out excess water, then let it air dry flat on a towel to avoid sagging.
  • If you have stains, a mild detergent made for cashmere can be your saving grace. Spot clean when you can.
  • Wearing your sweater frequently but it doesn't need to be cleaned just yet? Like wool, you should brush your cashmere to help avoid any shifty food particles from soiling the shirt. Brushing with a cashmere brush can also prevent pilling.
  • As always, check the tag to see if that particular garment has specific recommendations.

Can cashmere sweaters be hand washed?

Yes, in fact the best way to revitalize your cashmere sweater is to hand wash it. When it comes to the washer and dryer, that is a big N-O. Cashmere is delicate and cannot be trusted with the rough and tumble settings of the average washing machine.

On the plus side, you won't have to clean your sweater every time you wear it. As a tip, don't wear cashmere when you know you'll be around mud or other messy situations. I know, it's a bummer, but no cashmere on the dirt bike.

How do I store cashmere sweaters?

Right off the bat, we'll strongly suggest you avoid putting your cashmere garments on hangers. Since it's a delicate fabric the weight of the sweater will stretch out the shoulders.

  • Get that sweater folding skill ready because that's the best way to keep it looking ready for action. Fold the arms back behind the sweater and then fold in half to get that "square" shape. You can place them in a dresser or on a shelf.
  • If you're looking to store your sweater for a season, do a good brushing down before putting it in storage. If you think a hand cleaning will do a better job, that's a great idea too. Both methods will help to keep moths away.
  • If moths have been an issue for you in the past and you don't want to repeat that adventure you can also store it in a reusable airtight storage bag.

How do I protect cashmere sweaters from pilling?

Pilling is one of those pet peeves that shouldn't bother us as much as it does, but for some reason it's just one of those things that gets to us. We can do a number of things to prevent pilling.

  • Don't over wear your cashmere sweater. You love it, you want to show it off, but like all great things your sweater needs to be adored in moderation.
  • Use a cashmere comb to keep the fabric smooth. This will prevent the fibers from clinging to one another and balling up, or pilling.
  • Similar to over wearing, if you are too abrasive when washing your delicate cashmere, that can cause it to pill as well.

How do I pack cashmere sweaters for travel?

We're used to packing sweaters and shirts in our suitcases, but often we're dealing with creases and wrinkles on the other end of the trip. Sometimes an iron or steamer is hard to find when abroad so the best way to pack cashmere for travel is to pack them last on top. Fold them in half with the arms in the back. The less friction they deal with, the better.

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