I’ve written a few times before about my love of cashmere – each season, I can’t resist adding at least a few new items to my closet. Over time, I’ve learned quite a bit through trial and error about selecting the best pieces, and taking care of them. I thought I’d share them with you, as part of my Closet Care series.
Purchasing: I generally recommend that one buy the best quality of cashmere that one can afford. There’s seriously nothing like a high quality, thick ply, super soft cashmere sweater. In my experience, ones manufactured in the UK/Scotland are the best.
That being said, some cashmere prices can be seriously scary, and there’s also the supreme rage that may overcome you when your brand new filmy Cucinelli ends up serving as a delicious snack for an enterprising band of moths. And, expensive doesn’t always equal better (though the best items do usually end up pricier). Make sure to feel each piece that you consider buying – does it feel thick? Is it already pilling? Some luxury brands aren’t known for their knits and I have found myself less than impressed with some quite expensive brands. I wouldn’t necessarily buy cashmere from say, Cavalli.
Some of my favorite brands include Chanel, N. Peal, 360 Sweater, and Uniqlo for cashmere. You can read more about my favorite (and least favorite) labels in this post.
Wear: I generally wear my cashmere with whatever, and whenever I want. However, I do take some basic precautions – if I’m wearing any kind of spiky jewelry that might snag, I’ll be more careful dressing and undressing. Also, if you happen to own any kind of studded handbags that you might carry on your shoulder – be careful! Studs, spikes, can easily grab at delicate knits and either snag them, or cause rubbing/pilling.
By the way – I would recommend trying to cycle through or at least unfold/refold all of your cashmere at least a few times during the fall/winter season. Doing so helps prevent moths and will also shake out any moth babies (aka larvae, ugh) which may have already made their home in your sweater.
Also – I’m sure this is common sense, but if you get your items dirty, especially with food – you have to clean them right away, or dry clean. Otherwise, you run a high risk of a pizza sauce shaped hole in your prized shawl (I’m speaking from experience). Which brings me to the next point…
Cleaning: I almost never wear my cashmere against bare skin – I’ll typically have a layer in between, so I don’t wash my knits every wear, or even every other wear. I will usually wash my cashmere items thoroughly between once to three times per season. I almost exclusively hand wash/dry, but will dry clean if I’m feeling lazy. And for you germaphobes/clean freaks out there – I’m one of you, and I’ve never felt that I needed to clean my cashmere more.
At the end of each cold season, when I’m putting away my cashmere for the year, every single item gets washed if they haven’t already been. That way, I know that they’ll run a lower risk of attracting moths, and plus when I pull them out a year later – I know they’re fresh, clean and ready to go!
Storage: I store the majority of my cashmere either hung in my closet (I use velvet flocked ones), or folded vertically in a dresser (via the KonMari method). I use cedar balls and blocks liberally throughout my closet and drawers. However (and here’s where I’ll demonstrate my cashmere induced lunacy), for especially precious items like Hermes shawls in my favorite discontinued patterns, I go one step further, and store them in secure transparent container boxes.
I love these boxes – they keep me organized, and plus they’re easy to stack and I can view everything that’s inside as long as I don’t overstuff them (which I don’t). I have a few for my shawls, and another for some favorite and more expensive cashmere pieces. Moths are generally lazy and even if you have a severe infestation, they likely won’t be able to make their way into these containers, as long as you keep them sealed.
Of course, that’s assuming that everything in these boxes are clean and don’t have moths on them….otherwise, everything in the box may end up as moth supper. So remember – keep everything clean, clean, clean! Never store an item that has had food spilled on it without cleaning it first.
Wow! Who knew I could write that much about cashmere? I hope this was helpful for my fellow cashmere lovers out there – and please, also share your favorite cashmere brands, and tips and tricks for making sure your items last.