Yes, seriously. That would be a Kashmir goat. We’re talking about #8 on the list of essentials, the cashmere sweater.
I have to admit that I have never had the luxury of owning a cashmere sweater, but I’m thinking of investing in one this year. Our friend, Tim, recommends this item be part of any woman’s outfit, and you hear celebrities talking about them as staples all the time. However, they can be very pricey for the average person. So is it worth it? You be the judge.
Goat hair, really!
Cashmere fiber comes from the Kashmir goat (also known as pashmina) that lives in the mountains of Asia. All goat hair is cashmere, but the highest quality fiber is made of the down of the underbelly of the goat that is shed during molting season. The down is collected, cleaned, spun and knit into garments.
- It doesn’t wrinkle, so is an excellent choice for travel.
- Cashmere has very good, light-weight insulation without adding bulk (so it’s warm in winter, cool in spring).
- It’s durable. Take good care of your sweater, and you should have it for many years to come.
- Good quality cashmere doesn’t pill.
- Cashmere becomes softer with age.
How to buy
The main thing to consider when buying cashmere is the quality or authenticity of the fiber. Here are a few tips to consider when selecting your purchase.
- Stick to larger stores and online outlets that you recognize. You have less of a chance of getting a fake at a store with an established reputation.
- Read the label. There are laws in place that require manufacturers to include the fiber content of the garment. Only pure cashmere can be listed as 100%, but another fiber blended with the cashmere (such as wool or silk) is common. Just remember that the higher content of the non-cashmere fiber, the more it will affect the durability of the garment. If there is no label, or if the label doesn’t list the fiber content, you’re taking a risk!
- Look for 2-ply yarn (instead of 1-ply)
- Put your hand inside the sweater and hold up to light. If you can see the color of your skin through the sweater, you’re better off passing up that garment, because it won’t hold up.
- Avoid surface fuzz. This could indicate a large percentage of another fiber (probably wool) or a lower quality cashmere.
- Dry clean or hand wash, lay flat to dry.
- Store folded on a shelf, not on hanger.
So, do you have experience with cashmere? We would love to hear!