Between price points, styles, and how cashmere feels to the touch it’s very likely you’ve noticed that not all cashmere is alike. How come some cashmere sweaters are found on a $29.99 sale rack, and others cost into the thousands? To break things down simply, we will let you know a few tips to take note of when you are making a cashmere purchase.
Cashmere is very soft against your skin, and becomes more soft over time so first and foremost make sure that the garment does not feel scratchy against your skin. Cashmere is a luxurious and incredibly soft yarn but it is also durable which makes it such a valuable piece to have in your wardrobe and with a long lifespan if properly taken care of. If you feel cashmere that is more than just soft but seems to have a mushy very fragile feeling to the touch, there is a high probability the cashmere has been treated with chemicals during manufacturing or overwashed to give it an artificial softness that does not come from the true fibers. This is important to take note of because chemically treated and overwashed cashmere impacts the lifespan of the piece!
High quality cashmere sweaters are made from long, thin cashmere strands whereas lower quality sweaters are more often made from shorter cashmere hair. A quick test when you are making a purchase is to simply run your hand down a sweater, there should be no fibers that come loose in your hand when doing so. While it is natural for Cashmere to pill over time, if the fibers are already detaching from the fabric before a single use that is a clear indication of a lower quality of fiber. For help when pilling does occur, a cashmere comb does the trick! Another simple tip is to just take a look at the fibers and notice if you are able to see right through it, or if the fibers seem loose as an indication of low ply, low quality cashmere.
Speaking of Ply, what is it?
Ply is simply the number of cashmere threads twisted together to make the cashmere yarn. 1-ply cashmere is very fragile and likely to lose shape and develop holes over time so make sure you look for 2-ply cashmere and above! You will commonly see 2 or 3-ply cashmere sweaters but there is no need to assume that the higher the ply the higher the quality. Once you get to 4 and 5-Ply cashmere it is weight and warmth that is increasing, not quality!
The Stretch Test.
Low Quality cashmere sweaters do not spring back to their original shape if you stretch it. If you take the sleeve of a sweater and pull and it does not bounce back to the original shape of the sleeve, this is in indication of a lower quality fiber. Great cashmere holds its shape incredibly well!
At this point you should know the basics of Identifying a quality cashmere sweater and make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck when making a luxurious cashmere purchase!
Written By: Katie Haas