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The Basics of Cashmere
For centuries, cashmere has been a symbol of refinement. Cashmere evokes an image of rich textures and luxury. But why? Learn more about the basics of men’s cashmere to get an idea of what makes the wool special and how to shop for quality items. Read further for the distinct characteristics of cashmere and how to blend men’s cashmere sweaters, scarves and even socks into your existing wardrobe.
The origins of cashmere
Cashmere wool is sheared from the undercoat of Cashmere goats raised primarily in Kashmir, Tibet and Mongolia. Supplies of raw cashmere are limited, making it more expensive and highly desirable. For commercial-grade products, the downy undercoat hair must be noticeably softer than the rest of the coarse outer coat. Fibers need to meet requirements of a certain length, color and luster; usually, the longer the fiber, the better the fabric. These stringent restrictions distinguish the difference between the exceptional silky texture of cashmere versus regular wool.
What to look for when purchasing men’s cashmere sweaters
Shopping around for the best value for the highest quality cashmere can seem challenging. To distinguish the good from the bad, you need to assess the fabric’s give, texture, weight and blend. Read on to learn more.
• Cashmere’s give: A higher quality men’s cashmere sweater will spring back into shape when you gently pull on the sides of the garment. Loosely knitted garments do not retain their shape once pulled upon, and this will be very apparent after your first dry cleaning.
• Cashmere’s weight: The fabric increases in value when two yarns are twisted together to produce a two-ply weave. The ply refers to the fibers being twisted together to give the knitted sweater more weight. The more substantial the weight, the more likely the sweater is to last.
• Cashmere’s blend: Look at the label to see if it’s 100 percent cashmere; however, this isn’t a foolproof assessment. Some manufacturers will say the garment is 100 percent cashmere even if some poorer quality wool is blended into it. You can also tell if a men’s cashmere sweater is cheaper by rubbing the fabric in between your fingers: If there is an oily texture, that’s the remnants of dyes or other chemicals used to make the fabric artificially soft. You should avoid a sweater of this type because, over time, it will become more coarse.
Wearing men’s cashmere
Cashmere instantly adds style and sophistication to your wardrobe. Brightly colored cashmere can be a strong accent to your outfit, but be careful not to purchase trendy colors. You want pieces that will remain soft and stylish year after year. Instead, go for neutral colors like light beige, light grey or white; these colors are close to the natural color of the fibers and will remain softer.
Choose men’s cashmere sweaters in traditional styles such as crewneck, long-sleeve polo, v-neck or sweater vests. You can preserve the life of your cashmere sweaters by hanging items on a smooth wooden hanger when not in use. JoS. A. Bank takes cashmere to the next level with our stain-resistant and wrinkle-resistant Traveler cashmere sweaters. Their durability will keep you looking fresh and prolong the life of the garment.
To add a dash of excitement to your wardrobe without committing to the look or cost of a sweater, consider an accessory like a cashmere scarf, sportcoat or men’s topcoat. You can also be more subtle and add style and comfort with cashmere socks. No matter the garment you choose, wearing cashmere will make you look and feel like a million bucks.