There are some pretty important differences between cashmere and wool, and so knowing the properties of each fabric will help you to make a better decision when deciding where to invest your clothing budget.
To begin with, cashmere is much warmer than wool – about eight times warmer in fact! You would think that such an advantage would mean a heavier garment, but if you choose an item that is 100% cashmere, and of decent quality, it will actually be much lighter than wool too.
If an item is labelled ‘all wool,’ that means it I made of yarns comprised of 100% sheep’s wool. You’ll know if a garment is made from other kinds of wool, as the name of the animal will be listed on the tag. Other wool-providing animals include rabbit, mink, alpaca, angora and camel. Even if these other wools are included in the blend, you won’t notice a difference until about 25% of the blend is from one of these other sources.
There is another pretty well-known wool, called Merino. The term used to apply only to wool taken from Merino sheep, but it is used in a wider sense these days, to refer to fine wools only surpassed in softness by good quality cashmere and alpaca.
When it comes to both wool and cashmere, durability depends on the quality, but wool is generally more durable, while cashmere is more comfortable. Wool is also quite a lot cheaper, while cashmere will cost you a lot more.
Both wool and cashmere fibres have scales on them that can be seen using a microscope. Sheep’s wool has larger scales, and the smaller scales of the cashmere fibres means they catch less on the skin, and are therefore much more comfortable and soft. A word of caution though: softer garments will usually pill more, so they require more care.
High-quality wool and cashmere are both excellent products and are well-suited to certain types of garments. Whichever you choose, we recommend spending an amount near the top of your budget, as you will be much happier with the garment and will enjoy it more, for longer.
Here at Italy in Cashmere, we sell fine quality, 100% cashmere clothing.