Tips on how to Choose a Cashmere Sweater
A fine cashmere sweater is essential to any man’s wardrobe. Not only does cashmere keep you warm during colder months, but it’s also perfectly suitable for cool summer months. However, a lot of people are turned off by their high price – but these simple tips will help you find and choose cashmere garments which suits your needs.
Check the label on your sweater
One of the first things you should consider when buying any garment – not just cashmere sweaters – is its material. When you examine the labels on your clothes, it will state its composition. If you want a pure cashmere sweater, then only buy one that’s labelled “100 Percent Cashmere”.
This is not to say a cashmere blend is inferior – it just means has other materials in it. Sometimes a cashmere blend consists of other quality fabrics like silk, which can make the fabric more suited to warmer weather. If you want a cashmere sweater for colder seasons, stick to 100 percent cashmere.
Conduct the ‘Pull Test’ When Choosing Cashmere
If you’re in a store and want to make sure the cashmere sweater in front of you is of good quality, grasp each side of the sweater and pull them in opposite sides. If it returns to its original shape, then you’ve found a quality cashmere sweater. If the sweater doesn’t do that, then it means the weaving of the fabric was poorly done and is inferior quality.
Look at the Cashmere’s fibre length
The fibre length, also known as staple, is often used to determine the quality of cashmere. Essentially, the longer the fibre length, be the better the quality of the fabric. As these two studies (1, 2) on the relationship between yarn property and cashmere piling show, consumers should choose cashmere sweaters with a longer fibre length since it can better prevent pilling.
When Choosing Cashmere, look out for the ply count
Most cashmere sweaters will come in either one-ply or two-ply. Ply refers to the number of yarn strands twisted together. The more ply, the thicker and warmer it is.
Usually, a cashmere garment will state whether it’s single-ply or double-ply on the label, but if it doesn’t, you can feel the difference. A single-ply cashmere yarn won’t feel as thick or bulky as a double-ply. Cashmere can also come in more than two-ply, but that might be excessive unless you live in really cold places – in which case you’re better off buying down jackets.
Some believe you should always choose a cashmere sweater that’s two-ply, but that’s untrue. A two-ply sweater might keep you warmer, but a single-ply sweater is lighter, breathable and perfect for cool summer evenings.
Touch the fabric
Touching and feeling a cashmere sweater is often the simplest way to determine its quality. Cashmere is meant to be soft and fluffy, and this is what you should look for. According to Jerry Ooms, Founder of Hommard, “Cashmere should be soft, if it doesn’t feel as soft as you think it should feel, it’s probably because the cashmere yarns and fibres used are not high grade”.
How to Wash and Take Care of Cashmere
Taking care of cashmere can be a chore, but well maintained cashmere will last for many years, so it’s important to know how to wash and store it.
“When you wash a cashmere sweater, you should wash it by hand, or if you have a new generation washing machine, wash it on ‘Delicate’. When drying cashmere, lay it flat on a towel to dry and never wring the sweater. Instead, you should gently press out any surplus water,” said Mr Ooms.
“When it comes to storing your cashmere sweater, store it flat, not hanging. Do not wear your cashmere sweater several days in a row, give them a break every other day, to give the cashmere a chance to recover. Another tip is to hang it outside in a dry night or in a humid bathroom for a night – this lets refreshes the cashmere without washing.”