How to Shop for Cashmere Like a Pro

Shopping for wardrobe essentials that will last for more years to come could be a wise investment. If you’re looking for sweaters and scarves as soft as butter, resort to cashmere as it’s the Cadillac of sweater materials. “Cashmere goat fibers are warmer, lighter, and more durable than sheep’s wool,” says textiles analyst Lexie Sachs. There’s no reason your new sweater shouldn’t last for years. So, keep on reading for our guidelines on how to shop for cashmere like a pro.

Choose 100% cashmere.

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Before investing in a pricey sweater, check the label first. While a blend may cost less, it’s more likely to pill or shed since it twists together fibers of varying lengths, and the shorter fibers can loosen and break off. “Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from a very specific goat called the cashmere goat found in Mongolia and Northern China,” Cormier explained. “Cashmere can go anywhere from $50 a pound down to $40 a pound,” says Sean Cormier, assistant professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. However, if 100% cashmere isn’t an option, try to avoid blends of three or more fibers. Like fashion blogger Kristina Bazan, a chic cashmere sweater can be worn with a classy blazer and skirt, together with a pair of loafers to give you a modern chic style with an edgy twist.

Do a touch test and check the transparency.

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Cashmere may be one of the hardest things to buy online. Weight is important as the more fibers, the sturdier the sweater. If it feels fuzzy, it will likely pill or shed. Longer fibers are higher quality because they are sturdier, longer wearing, and provide a better drape on your body, while shorter fibers tend to rub together more which causes breaks and pilling, and a shorter useful life. Check the transparency of the cashmere you’re buying by inserting your hand in the sweater and hold it up to the light. If you still see your hand, then it’s too thin. One-ply garments are sheer and tend to last for a shorter time than more robust multi-ply garments. They are best used in a layering with other garments, and are ideal for indoor wear. On the other hand, two and three-ply weaves are stronger, but can sometimes be too hot for indoor wear.

Perform a wrinkle test.

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Do the wrinkle test by balling up the sleeve of the sweater then observe if the fabric springs back into shape without creasing. If so, it’s a keeper. This is the reason why you have to store cashmere sweaters folded in a drawer not on a hanger, which can cause dents and sagging. “I fold mine inside out so the outer fabric stays protected,” says Sachs.

Inspect the seams.

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Armholes and necklines should be “fully fashioned” or knitted into each other, not just sewn together. Cashmere sweaters should fit like your best t-shirt which is not too tight. By heeding our tricks, you’ll be able to select a good quality cashmere that can last for years and years.

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