Get to know the luxuriously soft, seasonal must-have
Now that fall is in full-swing, It’s time to break out your layers. Since it isn’t quite time for freezing temps, your main fall-fashion focus right now? Sweaters. The sweaters you need? Cashmere. Softness, quality, versatility–there simply isn’t anything better than luxury cashmere. However, not all cashmere is created equal. Before you do any fall shopping, let us teach you the in’s and out’s of cashmere so you can spend your hard-earned money on sumptuously soft cashmere that will last for years.
WHAT IS CASHMERE?
The name “Cashmere” is derived from the word “Kashmir,” the mountainous, northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent that contains Pakistani, Indian and Chinese territories; it is home to the world’s largest population of cashmere goats (aptly named after for their origin) and where the textile, as we know it, was originally woven.
Lighter and about three times more insulating than sheep’s wool, cashmere is an ultra-fine fiber that is obtained from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats, then spun into yarns or woven into fabric. In the 19th Century, a Scottish manufacturer developed the first mechanical method of separating the soft undercoat of a goat’s fleece from the courser outer hairs–a breakthrough which led to our modern era of cashmere knitwear.
While origin is not necessarily a main factor quality, if you are looking for the finest cashmere on the market - look for cashmere originating from Tibet or Mongolia, where the climate conditions allow goats to grow the finest, longest undercoats for collection.
For smart cashmere shopping, there are a few terms you should familiarize yourself with:
Refers to what a garment is made of. Don’t be fooled, some garments may be marketed as cashmere, but when you look at the fabric content (listed on the tag or on its product description page online) it may be a blend that only has a small percentage of cashmere in its makeup. For the best of the best, go for garments with a fabric content of 100% cashmere.
Cashmere, by definition, refers not to fabric but to the fiber that is knit or woven into a fabric. The finer and longer the fiber, the higher the quality. The measurement of how fine a fiber is, is called “microns.” As a reference, the average strand of human hair is about 75 microns thick. The highest-quality cashmere is extraordinarily fine, and will be around 14 microns or even less.
Refers to the number of stitches per inch. For example, a 7gg sweater will have roughly 7 stitches per inch–the lower the number, the chunkier the sweater, conversely, the higher the number the finer the sweater.
The feel of the garment. Cashmere should be luxuriously soft with high-napability and loft (texture and depth), but not fuzzy.
The small “balls” created by rubbing, most often found at the friction point such as the underarm area. They can be removed with a lint brush, cashmere stone or cashmere shaver. Make sure to read and follow the care label on your garment to avoid additional pilling.
Refers to the number of strands of cashmere fiber that have been “plied” together. Classic cashmere is typically 2-ply which produces a high-quality sweater.
Refers to how tightly a sweater is knit. If a garment is knit too loosely, it will be limp and have a tendency to “torque” or twist to one side. A high quality garment is knit on the proper tension and retains its shape.
A must-have for layering, warmth and comfort, cashmere simply needs to be in your wardrobe. At Bluefly, we carry Cynthia Vincent–a line of 100% cashmere pieces in a variety of colors and styles, including crew-neck and V-neck. Even better, we have it for unbelievable, affordable prices so you can fill your closet, or get your holiday shopping done (cashmere is the perfect gift!), with ease that your wallet will thank you for.