When you see a cashmere jumper or other cashmere item – and then you see the price tag – you may be asking yourself if that particular item is worth the money. To some degree, that depends on how deep your pockets are and how much you like it, but there are some tips to make sure what you are getting is a quality garment, and not a cheap one being passed off as something better.
The first thing to look at is Fibre Length. The longer each fibre is, the better the spinner is able to make it into threads for weaving into fabric. Longer fibres also mean fewer ends, so less pilling and an overall softer, longer-lasting product.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a long-fibre cashmere product that uses the coarser, outer hair though. It must be not only long, but thin – which brings us to the next tip.
Check the Fibre Diameter. Normally, cashmere used in quality garments should be 15.5 to 16.5 microns in diameter. It is very rare to get lamb’s wool that thin. One specialist company provides lamb’s wool that is around 12 microns, but it is the only one doing so, and it is not as popular as cashmere, despite being about as soft. Most wool is around 18 or more microns, which makes it scratchy and less comfortable than cashmere – by a long shot.
To check for this, look closely at the fibres. You should not see any thick ones among the thin ones – these are the coarse guard hairs and reveal that the manufacturer took some shortcuts.
It is also important to check the Knitting. Loose knits use less material per square metre, and so are cheaper to produce. They also pill more, shrink more, and wear more quickly. Some garments use a looser knit in order to allow more intricate designs – like cable knits, for example. Some beautiful products have looser knits, but are still high-quality garments. They will wear out more quickly than plainer styles, but since the point is the fancy design, that’s the price we pay. For the most part though, a tighter knit means a higher quality product.
There is one final factor to consider, and that is the purpose of the garment, and how you will use it – we’ll call that your Lifestyle. If the garment is to be worn under a coat, or indoors, or other protected environments, you are safe to get a more fragile piece. If, however, it serves as your outer layer, coming in contact with seatbelts and other polyester items, wind and even rain, then you’ll want something a little harder-wearing – maybe a slightly thicker fibre, or a blend with silk or cotton.
Here at Italy in Cashmere, we use only the finest 100% cashmere threads, which represent premium but very high quality clothing that you will love.