The key to finding a great cashmere piece is to understand what makes a good cashmere sweater good. Cashmere is a soft, non-itchy type of wool that originated in the Kashmir region of India from, you guessed it, the cashmere goat. It’s a strong, soft material and is non-bulky. Good cashmere sweaters are often referred to by the “ply,” which is the thickness of the thread used to weave fabric. For example, three-ply sweaters are made with three single threads wound together, five-ply is made from five single threads, etc. The larger the ply, the better the sweater (although you can find quality, thin cashmere sweaters).
There are other factors that are important in determining the quality of cashmere sweaters. I’ve listed a few below.
The Good Cashmere Test
- Check for Pillage. One way to tell if a sweater is made of good cashmere is to rub the fabric briskly between your pointer finger and thumb. Notice any pillage? If so, then mostly likely it’s not “good” cashmere.
- Feel the Fabric. Also feel the fabric. Does it feel itchy? Good cashmere is very low on the itchy-wool factor.
- Check the Seams. Also check out the seams of the sweater. In more high-quality cashmere sweaters, the seams are knitted together with yarn, not sewn together using regular needle and thread.
So now that you know how to test a cashmere sweater for quality, let’s talk about how to find a quality cashmere sweater on a budget.