Let’s help this reader understand how to identify types of cashmere & replace her best cashmere sweater with something fresh.
Dear Sharon: I visited your video on cashmere. I would like to add a cashmere piece to my wardrobe each year.
I have a very favorite turtleneck that I purchased in a cashmere specialty store in Manhattan about 15 years ago. I bought it on sale and I cannot find anything like it again.
The more I wash it the softer it gets.
If I can at least identify the type and ply perhaps I would know what to shop for. Can I send it to you for your advice on what it is exactly and where I may acquire one like it in the future? Or, can you direct me to someone who will be able to help me?
Many thanks in advance for your time and consideration. (J.H. via Fashion Advice)
>>READ: Stylist Advice: Your Classic Uniform, My Way!
Ahhh, you found my old cashmere shopping tips series! The video quality may leave something to be desired, but the cashmere quality tips remain timeless.
As I mentioned in the How To Shop For Cashmere video, the finer the gauge cashmere comes from the soft under-fleece in certain types of goats. That type of hair is harder to come by and therefore costs more money than a mass cashmere where the rougher hairs are woven into the cashmere. The ply is the weight of cashmere, and most sweaters that we wear indoors are 2-ply.
The best test is feeling the sweater & trying it on. Cheap cashmere will be rougher, but somethimes that isn’t so bad either as it is still fairly soft.
That said, it’s necessary to send me your sweater to check… if it’s so special, I may never want to send it back (wink, wink). But, I also think that the energy spent trying to recreate a a 15-year-old sweater that has softened from a lot of care, akin to washing a pair of well-worn jeans to perfection, will be like going on a wild goat chase (bad pun, I know).
It’s sad giving up an old fashion friend. I still have a soft spot for some sweaters that the moths had a field day with and I can never replace. But, there will be more fabulous pieces that come into your life.
I LOVE a chic black cashmere, or wool turtleneck, like the C by Bloomingdale’s Cashmere Turtleneck featured in the photo at the top, or a comfy oversized one like the Vince Cozy Mulberry, pictured right. As a matter of fact, I have several different cuts and styles of black turtlenecks, including vintage ones. The styling may appear basic but there really are nuances in design from each turtleneck to the next.
What I would also consider is the cut of the sweater. As much as I covet some vintage, a lot of cashmere sweaters from the 90s have rather ample armholes and full sleeves which look dated today, beside making you appear heavier. The more modern cut has a tighter, more slenderizing armhole and leaner, less baggy sleeve. That alone, is worth buying something new.
I had so much fun pulling these cashmere sweaters for you to think about that I may just want some for myself:
JUST ASK: Do you need some quick stylist help to amp up your style? Email us for Fashion Advice.Published on November 20, 2013