Q&A: Is All Cashmere Made Equal?

October 30th, 2007

Q:  Is there a difference in cashmere quality across different brands? Or, is cashmere just cashmere?

Cashmere V-Neck SweaterBy Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A:  Not all cashmere is made equal. Cashmere can come in one, two, or four or more ply.  What’s the best?  Two-ply is preferable to one-ply.  But after two ply, any additional ply increases the weight of the garment but not the quality. 

The best cashmere comes from the long strands of hair on the underbelly of a cashmere goat.  Lesser quality cashmere comes from the goat’s back and legs.  Also of importance is the "hand" of the cashmere–or how it feels.  Look for a silky feel, smooth weave, and great softness. 

For reasonably priced cashmere, try Uniqlo, Land’s End, or Banana Republic.  For high quality, more expensive cashmere, check out Brora, who is known for classic Scottish cashmere with a contemporary twist.

Fun cashmere fact? It takes one goat four years to produce enough wool for one sweater.

Pictured: Cashmere V-Neck Sweater | $178 at Banana Republic.

Have a great tip about where to find (or how to wear) cashmere?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Entry Filed under: Men's, Q&A, Women's

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John  |  October 30th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Here’s a tip for the guys: cashmere sweaters are good (I, too, recommend Uniqlo; the only downside is that it’s only in New York), but if you want something a little bit more reasonably priced, check out merino wool (merino is the highest quality wool) sweaters.

    Now, Loro Piana makes arguably the highest quality wool sweaters around (they go for a few hundred dollars on average). It’s not really that well known, but, in an effort to upscale their line, J. Crew actually uses Loro Piana wool, too. So, you can get really high quality wool from Loro Piana through J. Crew, if that makes sense, at a much discounted price.

    I must tell you that some say that J. Crew’s wool isn’t as high quality as Loro Piana, that they use Loro Piana’s name and that’s about it. I can’t verify or dismiss this claim, but I think J. Crew sweaters are pretty comfortable.

    There will be a longer feature on men’s sweaters soon.

  • 2. Deon  |  January 17th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    You can always tell an expert! Thanks for ctnorbiuting.

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