We love sweater weather – there’s nothing like a soft knit to throw on when summer finally leaves us and the cold weather sets in.
And for a garment that’s so classic, the variations are endless. Chunky and oversized, turtleneck, hooded – we could go on all day. But the holy grail, however, is definitely quintessential cashmere. If quality, comfort and versatility are the major components of the perfect sweater, any cashmere-blended knit will always be the winner.
It’s prized the world over as a symbol of luxury, but it definitely works hard for it. Here we look into why these pieces are such a must-have for any closet, how they’re made, and how to care for them.
How it’s better
There’s no point investing in a sweater that will lose shape or disintegrate within a season if you intend on getting a whole lot of use out of it, and your cashmere-blended sweater will see you through so many more seasons than others. If properly cared for, it will last a lifetime – but the benefits to having this timeless piece in your wardrobe stretch way past its durability.
Quality cashmere can be three times warmer than sheep’s wool, but it’s lighter in weight. Amino acids and its moisture content mean that while it’s insulating during the winter, it will also keep you cool when the days are warmer. With this sumptuous knit wrapped around your body, you’ll still be able to breathe. This makes it fantastic for trans-seasonal wear or unpredictable climates. All natural, it’s easy to dye and the yarn itself can be spun in so many different ways – this is why the range of cashmere sweater styles out there are endless. It drapes well, too, so it’s flattering on the body.
Why is it different?
The wool itself is found in the soft undercoat of goats that live below freezing temperatures, which is what gives them the thick, downy fleece. These soft fibres are shed in springtime, and need to be separated from the goats’ coarser top coat. This usually involves combing and sorting them by hand. Only about 0.33% of the same volume of sheep’s wool produced globally per year is created in cashmere wool – that’s about 6,500 tonnes as opposed to 2 million, so you can see why cashmere is seen as the height of luxury wool!
How to style it
Slimmer fit sweaters tend to have more styling versatility than chunky, loose or oversized ones, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all have their unique benefits. The second best thing (after its luxurious feel, of course) about a more fitted sweater is that you can wear it to casual and dressier occasions – it looks just as good paired with tailored trousers and heels as it does with jeans and flats.
How to care for it
Fallen in love with your new sweater but not quite sure how to care for it? It’s not as hard as you think. Good for a few wears before needing to be washed, the biggest thing to be wary of are those pesky moths. And don’t let it darken that door of the dry-cleaner, either. It needs to be washed not cleaned, or it will come back from the cleaners as stiff as cardboard. Pop it in a delicates bag and set your machine to its most gentle cycle, or as we prefer, wash it by hand in the tub. Soak it in cool water (make sure there isn’t too much detergent) and gently agitate with your fingers, then remove excess water with a towel. Lastly, lay it flat to ensure it dries properly. Hanging your sweaters will cause gravity to warp it out of shape and create those horrible shoulder dimples.
If you want to get the absolute best out laundering this gorgeous knit, there are special shampoos you can purchase, and they can ward off moths as well. Store your cashmere sweater by folding it in thirds inward, to avoid a fold line down the middle.