Finding the perfect cashmere sweater might take time but it’s worth the effort. Cashmere sweaters are the perfect winter basic. It is lightweight yet warm and luxuriously soft.
When shopping, you can opt for a basic and versatile color like black, tan or gray. But the perfect cashmere sweater for you might be in a different bold hue that makes it more of a special piece. Bright red would be festive for Christmas. A delicate pink can accent your skin tone. Lighter colors are also softer, since the dying process can make cashmere rougher. A darker color sweater, since it has more dye in the fibers, could feel scratchier than the comparable light-colored sweater.
You should also shop for the best quality sweater you can afford. Cashmere is far more common these days and comes in a variety of prices. Thicker knit sweaters are more densely made and have more cashmere in them. Run your hand over the material. High quality cashmere is deliciously soft. It is never mixed with other materials, like lamb’s wool. You can also gently tug at the material and then release it. High quality cashmere will spring back to its original shape. Lesser quality cashmere, perhaps made with the lesser fibers from the goat’s coat, is more easily pulled out of shape.
Always try the sweater on to see how it fits. You can also use the fit of the sweater to judge its quality. Good cashmere will drape and not stick out stiffly. It also should not wrinkle.
Check the label of the sweater. Genuine cashmere must be labeled “100 Percent Cashmere” according to guidelines established by the Federal Trade Commission. A blend with wool or other materials must be stated. If you want the softest and most genuine cashmere experience, don’t go for a blend. If there’s no label at all then there’s no guarantee you’re buying real cashmere.
For that reason, and to guarantee you are getting the true value for your money, you should only buy your cashmere sweaters from a trusted retailer. Buy from a large department store or catalog company. Cashmere of a lesser quality is not made with the long expensive strands. Since it uses shorter fibers, it can pill more easily.
Cheaper sweaters will also likely be made with just one ply, versus the warmer, stronger and thicker two ply method. The ply refers to the method of twisting yarns together. One ply uses a single yarn whereas two ply – or more – uses more than one. You can find four, six and even eight ply cashmere.
Also, check the label to see where the sweater was made. Scotland is the maker of some of the finest cashmere sweaters. However, don’t let that be your only criterion. There can be gorgeous, stylish and high quality cashmere sweaters from other places.
Loro Piana, for instance, is an Italian maker of high-end and expensive cashmere. Their web site says they are the largest cashmere manufacturer in the Western world. However, their high standards of quality and style do not come cheaply. At Nieman Marcus, for instance, a Loro Piana cashmere turtleneck sweater sells for $860. The “Lismore” cashmere cape is listed at $4495.
Many major designers offer their own cashmere sweaters. Shop at a department store for Donna Karan, TSE, Burberry and other lines of cashmere sweaters. For instance, at Nieman Marcus you can buy a knee-length Donna Karan cardigan sweater for $2895. White + Warren is another popular manufacturer of cashmere. This New York based company was founded “with a mission to bring quality cashmere to fashion savvy women everywhere.” Their Cashmere Trapeze Cardigan comes in seven different colors, such as blue, purple and black, and retails on their web site for $220.
For those with more limited funds, there is affordable and high quality cashmere. You should expect to spend between $100 and $200 for a good sweater. Land’s End is a reliable place to buy cashmere sweaters. Their Long Sleeve Cashmere Tee Sweater for women is two-ply and made from real Mongolian cashmere and retails for just $89.50.
J. Crew is another reliable maker of nice cashmere sweaters in an affordable price range. Their V-neck cashmere sweater for women comes in nine different colors, like black, tropical aqua and vivid purple. It retails for $145. A monogram is also available for an extra $10. L.L. Bean also makes cashmere sweaters. Their classic crewneck sweater is made of two-ply construction and retails for just $99. With satisfaction guaranteed, returning an item is always easy.