Cashmere may well be the finest material in the world with which to make a jumper, shawl or scarf. There is nothing so comforting as pulling on that super-soft, luxurious jumper and knowing that it doesn’t just feel fantastic – it looks it too.

What makes cashmere so much better than off-the-rack cotton clothing is the raw material from which it’s made: the cashmere wool itself.

Cashmere is made up of the softest hairs from the undercoat of Kashmir goats. The best fibres are long and thin and the microscopic scales on the fibres are finer than those on cotton or other wools, which means that cashmere is softer to the touch and won’t irritate the skin (unless the wearer has allergies of hypersensitivity).

Cashmere jumpers stacked

The fibres develop to protect the goats from the cold temperatures of life in the Himalayan mountains, and once they are properly harvested and processed, those same great insulating properties become a feature of the clothing. Unlike cotton or wool jumpers, the insulation doesn’t come at the cost of a bulky garment either; fine cashmere clothing is thin and light, looks amazing, and is so soft to the touch you might find yourself stroking your arms with pleasure as you would a kitten or puppy. Such garments are truly a joy to wear.

There are differences in the quality of cashmere garments though, so for the best results you’ll want to find one that has a dense knit and is not blended with more than 20% silk or cotton – if any at all – and you’ll also want to avoid cashmere knits that include the denser, outer hairs, as these are likely to irritate skin if in direct contact.

Cashmere takes some extra effort to wash, but if that little care is taken, cashmere jumpers will retain their shape better than cotton ones, and will last longer, looking great the whole time.

Cashmere is among the most desirable fabrics in the world, for scarves, shawls and jumpers especially. If you are lucky enough to have been given one – or wise enough to invest in one – you already know this to be true.