I’m pretty sure all of us have a classic cashmere piece in our wardrobes. Whether a simple patterned scarf, that go-to sweater, a classic coat, or a luxurious pair of socks, we’ve all been grateful at one point or another for the warmth and comfort that cashmere provides.
Before we complain about the price of cashmere, let’s learn a bit more about it first. What is cashmere? I hear you all ask. Well, cashmere is in fact rare fibers found in the undercoat of wool from a cashmere goat. This wool keeps the animal warm during extremely low temperatures and, according to this site all about cashmere, it can take up to four years for one goat to grow enough wool for a sweater. This may put the price of cashmere goods in perspective.
The History of Cashmere
Another factor adding to the value of cashmere is the long and rich history behind it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief! Cashmere has been produced for thousands of years in places like Mongolia, Afghanistan and Kashmir. The 18th century marked the beginning of the exportation of cashmere to the West, where it was used as lavish scarves for the upper class. It wasn’t until the 20th century that cashmere was used for the sweaters and cardigans that we’re familiar with today.
Shopping for Cashmere
Like everything, there is of course good quality and bad quality cashmere products. The first thing to look out for is 100% cashmere but unfortunately this can oftentimes be slightly misleading, as there are different quality cashmeres. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Good quality fibers should be long and thick, two-ply where possible, and should ideally come from Mongolian goats.
Luckily, with every winter season there are lots of in-store and online promotions. Many stores do a special edition cashmere section such as this “I Love Cashmere” series. With such selections it’s easier to find out more about the quality of the cashmere used.
The Benefits of Cashmere
There are many benefits to the luxurious material that you should bear in mind before purchasing your next polo neck.
- It doesn’t ball up in parts where there is more friction.
- It’s extremely warm.
- It is quite lightweight and less clumpy than wool.
- Good quality cashmere can last for a lifetime.
- It doesn’t itch like wool does, it’s smooth and soft to the touch.
So let’s face it, one of the most exciting things about the wintery months is getting to show off our favourite knitwear and our best wool pieces! For those who were on the fence about the wool that never goes out of fashion, hesitate no more and stock your wardrobe with a few quality staple items. You won’t regret it!