Putting the Cash in Cashmere

There is really nothing better than the look and feel of cashmere. I ADORE cashmere ANYTHING. Cashmere is one of those fibers that will last you a lifetime if  you keep a few of these Glamour Girl tips in mind:

First a little background…..

Cashmere is a soft luxury fiber. In order to be considered true cashmere, the fiber must come from the hairs of the Cashmere goat, an animal originally introduced to Westerners by the area of Asia known as Kashmir. When the British took control of Kashmir in the 1800s, the fiber began to be exported to Europe, creating intense demand which continues to this day. In addition to being beautiful, cashmere is also infamous for being very expensive, due to the labor intense process used to create cashmere garments.

The majority of the world’s cashmere today comes from China and Mongolia, which raise cashmere goats in the Gobi Desert. These cashmere goats are bred specifically for their extremely soft, pale hair that can be dyed to any color, and are therefore highly sought after. The harsh conditions in the Gobi Desert severely restrict the number of goats that can be raised, however, meaning that the hand harvested and often hand spun fiber commands a high price when it reaches the market: and this is before the notoriously difficult yarn has been knitted or woven!(****info courtesy of wiseGeek.com )

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If you’re just starting to build a wardrobe and want to add a cashmere item the most important tip to remember is: Buy well …Buy once. In other words put the CASH in cashmere.

What cashmere item should I buy first? First and foremost look for classic pieces that you can wear year after year. Think BASIC: V-neck, crew neck, cowl neck or cardigan sweater. If you want to really be adventurous try a beautiful classic sweater dress like the one pictured below from shopbop.com.

A word about Fit:  It goes without saying that fit is key.

What if I can’t afford a cashmere item right now? When in doubt, wait for the clearance sales or special promotions to purchase higher quality cashmere than you could usually afford. It is worth the wait. (Last year during the February Winter Clearance: I purchased a Donna Karan Cashmere V-neck sweater for $120.00 marked down from $695.00. It is HEAVEN!

How do I clean cashmere?  If your Cashmere sweater says Gentle Hand Wash …BELIEVE the instructions. Cashmere is a fragile fiber and won’t fare well in the “gentle cycle”  of your machine with a dolop of detergent.Some cashmere items are marked Dry Clean. Always check the labels and follow accordingly.

What if I really can’t afford cashmere now or 6 months from now? If your budget is not allowing any cashmere this year there are some pretty nice blends available. The Victoria’s Secret Catalog and Nordstrom’s have viable options for the look of cashmere at a much reduced price.  

Only Mine 2 ply Cashmere $79.00 @Nordstrom.com

Michael Kors Featherwieght Cahmere $595.00

Kate Spade New York "Cherilyn" Cardigan $285.00

Nica Cashmere Dress $245.00 at www.shopbop.com

Cashmere and Silk blend Cardigan at www.victoriassecret.com $79.50

Donna Karan Collection Sparkle Cashmere Cozy

Orig: $2195.00 Sale: $1314.00 (40 per cent off) at Nordstrom

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