Cashmere: A fine, soft, downy wool undergrowth produced by the cashmere goat, which is raised in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan and parts of Northern India, Tibet, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, China, Iran and Iraq. Similar goats can now be raised in the United States.
I've never owned a piece of cashmere before now. And this piece I virtually got for free through my job (consider it a benefit for driving up and down the 710 freeway on a daily basis). I have to say that while it's nice and soft, I don't know if I'd spend my own money to get another piece of cashmere. I've always heard ladies talk longingly about cashmere sweaters and cashmere gloves and even cashmere socks. And to own a piece of TSE, well that would be the dream of all dreams. But for me it's always been meh, take it or leave it. I guess I'm too much of a spend-thrift to ever have invested in a good quality sweater, and with the limited access to actually wear a cashmere sweater for long periods of time here in Southern California, it never seemed worth my investment.
With that being said, I can see why women would fall in love with cashmere. It's a natural fiber, so it is breathable, even in warm weather. If you get good quality cashmere, it is softer beyond belief, and again, because it is a natural fiber, it has the ability to hold onto dye extremely well, lending itself to a rich and saturated color palette that won't fade after multiple washings.
In terms of quality, there is a difference. Now is about the time you will find plenty of cashmere on sale at department stores that are trying to clear out old Christmas inventory. Cashmere will vary in softness, density and some will be more prone to pilling than others. Pilling happens when the shorter fibers separate from the longer fibers in the yarn, and is a natural component of all knits including cotton and wool. However, quality cashmere is made with only the longest fibers, therefore pilling is minimum. And then there is the whole issue of 2 ply cashmere versus 4 ply cashmere. It can get your head spinning trying to decipher what is what.
In terms of quality and price, with cashmere there is a direct correlation, so be aware up front that you get what you pay for and the clearance $39 cashmere sweater from your favorite department store may not stand the test of time. Chances are if your salesperson can't speak to the quality, than you may want to move on.
While I cannot attest to the J. Crew cashmere quality, I'm hoping that at the price, there is some level of quality. Here are a few cute pieces that I thought 'might' be worth the investment. Or perhaps just waiting until they go on super duper final slashed price clearance (that is a term I just made up, not a real retail term). I've got the budget to consider, right?
I love the cowl neckline and the side button detail at the hip.
This is a fun and sporty boatneck sweater. I love all the different necklines in fact.
This color has me intrigued more than anything.
So what TSE you, do you own any cashmere? Would you invest in a piece or would you rather just save for your kid's college tuition, or payoff some of your own student loans?