When it comes to creating a capsule wardrobe of classic, long-lasting pieces, a cashmere sweater is high on the list. The superior wool is warm, soft, and durable as long as you look after it well. Like all these things, cashmere isn’t made equal and knowing what and where to buy is key in securing your perfect piece. Carefully looking after it is also vital in ensuring longevity. Here’s what you need to know plus the brands worth spending your money on.
Often the best bet is feeling the cashmere in real life. While softness is what cashmere is known for, it’s not as simple as choosing the silkiest out there. “Quality is characterized by a more dense and sturdy handfeel, rather than fluffiness. Cashmere has a natural softness so a sturdier handfeel hints at a more durable garment, that will be in equal parts comfortable and last a lifetime,” explains Johan Lassén, a Product Developer at Asket, a sustainable fashion brand who makes cashmere.
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Johan Lassén is a Product Developer at Asket, a sustainable fashion brand who makes cashmere.
Often on cashmere products you will see two reference points: ply and gauge. Knowing these helps you understand what kind of cashmere you’re buying. Ply refers to density. “Ply states how many strings of thread are twisted to build a yarn. The more strings, the denser the fabric,” says Lassén. A classic style is often 2 ply. Gauge identifies the thickness. “Gauge refers to the number of stitches per inch and the lower the gauge, the chunkier the sweater,” he adds.
Luckily, if you take care of your cashmere, there’s no reason it can’t last a lifetime in your closet. Firstly, when it comes to washing, the best approach is less is more. “It may sound strange and unhygienic, but wool has natural anti-bacterial and odor-resistant properties that makes washing largely redundant,” Lassén advises. Instead, after wear, hang your wool garments out to air or give them a gentle steam to freshen them up again.
If you get a stain, the best tactic is to spot clean. “Treat it straight away with the recommended solution for the specific stain and let it air dry,” Lassén adds. “Between wears you can clean your woolen garments using a fabric shaver.” If you need to give it a proper wash, hand washing is the best way. Always use cold water and a mild detergent before lying the item out to dry flat.
How you store clothes can also impact how well they age. The first golden rule? Never hang cashmere but instead lie it flat. Secondly, don’t just stuff it in a drawer. “Make sure that you don’t store them too tightly as it may cause them to wrinkle,” Lassén points out. Dreaded moths can also be a big problem for all natural protein fibers inducing cashmere. “Food stains and body oils attract the moths even more so make sure your garments are clean and dry before packing them away,” he adds. Investing in cedar wood to place in your drawers or closet is also a smart move to help keep moths at bay.
The Best Cashmere Sweaters
Asket The Cashmere Sweater
Asket’s M.O. is creating meaningful essentials. The brand is all about making high-quality basics crafted from conscious fabrics that are built to last. Case in point: their cashmere sweater. It’s crafted from post-consumer recycled cashmere that’s both warm and durable in a classic shape with fine-ribbed cuffs, hems and neckline.
Nadaam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater
When it comes to affordable cashmere, Nadaam takes first prize. Their much loved $75 sweater racks up 5-star reviews daily (over 50,000 so far) and is available in a spoiling rainbow of color choices. Price isn’t at cost of ethics for Nadaam; the brand works directly with herders in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert (one of the best places on the planet for cashmere) to source the highest quality sustainable material out there.
White + Warren Cashmere Jackyblue Icon Sweatshirt
Female founded and with a 90% female team, White + Warren know a thing or two about creating cashmere styles that women love to wear. When Susan White Morrissey set up shop in New York in the ‘90s, she was one of the first to make cashmere an accessible luxury and this is the raison d’etre that still runs true today. Whether you want a classic cashmere sweater, on-trend cardigan or perhaps some indulgent cashmere loungewear, White + Warren fit the bill.
LERET LERET No. 34 Cashmere Sweater
LERET LERET do one thing and they do it really well. The item in question? A cashmere sweater. Reinventing this timeless classic for a modern audience, their sweaters have a relaxed fluid fit and come in an array of playful statement designs meticulously sourced and crafted in Mongolia, the sibling founded brand work closely with the herders and manufacturers who make their sweaters.
Everlane The Cashmere Polo
A trusted go-to for sustainable classic pieces, Everlane preaches Radical Transparency and works hard to partner only with ethical factories around the world. Using primarily recycled Italian cashmere, The ReCashmere® range includes button up cardigans, oversized turtlenecks, and sleeveless vests.
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