Luxurious Cashmere for Fall and Winter Wear

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From the far regions of the Himalayas comes the most luxurious, cuddly soft fabric for winter warmth and snuggling. Cashmere is one of the world’s natural luxury goods. The goats from the highlands of Kashmir, India, produce a soft undercoat that is super warm and ultra-soft. We know it as the luxury fabric cashmere.

Because of its scarcity and the hand labor needed to process the fibers, cashmere is a true luxury fabric. Cashmere comes in grades A, B and C. Grade A is the finest, with the thinnest fibers measuring as low as 14 microns width per hair, or about six times finer than the human hair!

When selecting a garment of cashmere, look for 2-ply construction of pure 100 percent cashmere. Often manufacturers offer cashmere blends with wool and nylon, which lack the warmth, softness and breathability of pure cashmere. Since the fibers are so delicate, goods made from cashmere must be treated with care throughout their lifespan, but cashmere is surprisingly resilient. It will take a light shower with little harm, but a heavy rainfall should be avoided if possible. You may smell like a wet dog and a soaking may stretch the garment out of shape.

Many cashmere garments will require dry cleaning, but some cashmere goods can be hand washed (never in a washing machine!) and air dried. Garments are often worn as layers, so it is possible to air the garment and not wash it after each wearing. Still, cashmere requires more maintenance than other fabrics Cashmere tends to pill where rubbed. For women, this can mean minding the inner elbow and the shoulder areas where purses are often carried on sweaters or coats.

Coats are one of the most-needed clothing items for those in cold climates. Cashmere is said to be eight times warmer than wool, making it an ideal selection for winter wear. A good cashmere coat can run in the four figures easily, but it will last for years with proper handling. Natural cashmere comes in only black, grey and brown and the shades in between. Yet, it can be dyed.
Jackets are another essential winter piece. The timeless blazer in navy or camel is a piece that will see you through many seasons. For a classic look, see Dolce & Gabbana’s beige blazer with wide peak lapels, English rear vents and patch pockets.

Sweaters are no longer limited to the ubiquitous sweater set. Cashmere sweaters are available in all styles and lengths. Hip length, knee length and even coat styles are favorite style choices of today’s fashion conscious. The softness and lightness of the fabric lend itself to styles that include draping such as off-shoulder styles, cowl neck styles and ruffles. Still, many prefer the classic long-sleeved sweater with a crew or V-neckline that can be layered over a shirt, blouse, underwear or anything else that catches your imagination. Check out Lattelier for a classic V-neck, long-sleeved sweater with a collar in seven classic colors.

Shawls are perfect for when the weather is cool, but warm enough to not need a sweater. Pashmina, made from the goats raised in Tibet, is another beautiful fabric for shawls. Cashmere is warmer than pashmina wool because it’s thicker; however, pashmina is lighter and softer than cashmere, making it an ideal fabric for shawls and scarves.

Winter outfits are not complete without a couple of good scarves to ward off that cold that seeps in around the neck. Too, they look fabulous when draped over a sweater or blouse. Scarves come in a wide range colors and can add the needed pizazz to an otherwise plain look. Burberry styled a B-monogrammed scarf in black and white with a reverse jacquard pattern, highly distinctive, especially if your name begins with B!

The Gentle Herd designed joggers for casual fall and winter wear. They have both wool and cashmere blends as well as 100 percent cashmere pants for cozy winter wear or exercising.
Those who live in a really cold climate may want to investigate boots and gloves lined with cashmere. They will keep your feet and hands warm, but because of the friction in these areas, cashmere socks or gloves will last only two years or so before needing replacement. Fleece is a good option.

Cashmere beanies add welcomed warmth during cold winter months and ski holidays. Beanies are typically found in ribbed styles in neutral colors. They’re frequently sold as blends of wool, viscose, acrylic and cotton with ornaments of other furs, such as rabbit.

By adding cashmere garments to your wardrobe, you’re investing in clothing for several seasons. Cashmere generally comes in classic styles that ignore the fashion fads of the moment. Therefore, you can feel confident that your selections will enhance your wardrobe with understated elegance for years.

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