Why Is Cashmere So Expensive?
So as not to lose the interest of those of you who may have already made up your minds that cashmere is simply too expensive, we will address the price point first.
It’s no secret that here at BU we are predisposed to the ‘finer things’ – fine watches, fine shoes, fine cigars… The list goes on. And yet, it is not an elevated price tag that makes these desirable. Instead, it is the quality and durability which we pursue and which generally comes with a higher costs.
In the case of cashmere, there is a long and arduous process between goat and garment which inevitably adds to the cost. But consider the advantages of cashmere, most notably its durability and premium feel. Soon enough you too, like us, may find it more than reasonable.
So, for which reasons is cashmere a superior fabric, and what makes it worth the price?
Why Wear Cashmere?
As alluded to above, cashmere garments are simply more durable than, say, a cheaper wool counterpart. Naturally, there are grades (A, B, & C) of cashmere that further delineate the best cashmere fibers from the rest. Grade A is considered the best and strongest.
Dark Cashmere vs. Merino Wool vs. Light Cashmere
When cleaned and cared for properly, cashmere of any grade can provide velvety smooth warmth for decades. How many pieces of clothing have you lost to the washing or drying machine? How many have you had to part with because the color faded or holes developed with average wear? These issues are mostly mitigated with cashmere items.
Moving on to cashmere’s ‘hand’ or ‘feel’. Cashmere is likely one of the softest and most comfortable fabrics you’ll ever wear. The difference between it and cotton or even wool is significant. It’s much warmer and lighter, too, while also being elastic and therefore wrinkle-resistant.
Lastly, cashmere has a discernible look, not only of luxury but also of texture, which can make it the centrepiece of an outfit. The “fuzzy” surface texture of a cashmere sweater, for example, can be what takes an otherwise dull or lacklustre ensemble to a new level.
What Is Cashmere?
Cashmere clothing is made from cashmere yarn which is obtained by spinning the fibres of the undercoat of Kashmir (“cashmere”) goats.
Kashmir goats originate from the Kashmir region of India but in the present-day are mostly found in Mongolia and China where they are raised for cashmere production. The Kashmir goat grows a “double coat” of sorts, though only the soft and fine undercoat fibres are used to create cashmere yarn.
The fibres must be hand-combed from the animal exclusively during the spring when it is moulting. These extracted fibres are then hand-sorted; the longest and thinnest fibres being the most desirable as they make for stronger and softer ‘Grade A’ yarn.
In some cases, the coat of the animal is sheared off, though this method is widely regarded as producing worse quality yarn even though it may shave time off the entire process. Once the yarn has been spun, and as with most other types of wool fabric, it can then be used to create all types of garments.
Typical Cashmere Garments
Thanks to its characteristics outlined above, it’s no surprise that cashmere is used to produce a variety of garments. It’s no surprise that the most common garments are usually relatively small accessories due to its costs. Nevertheless, it can be used in anything from a suit to pair of socks.
Benefits Of Cashmere Suits
Indeed, cashmere suits use the same fibres as other garments. However, it’s spun differently. The fibres in, for example, a sweater are woollen. Meanwhile, cashmere is usually worsted when made for a suit.
Needless to say, pure cashmere suits are quite rare. However, they are exceedingly comfortable! When 100% grade A cashmere is used, the result is an unbelievably lightweight fabric of only 8.5 Oz (240 grams) per metre.
Similarly, a cashmere suit is very comfortable and the fabric is supple. An added advantage is that the fibres don’t crease, which is quite useful for professionals who will often drive to work or sit at a desk.
Usually, cashmere is woven into a blend, which allows the wearer to benefit from its properties while maintaining a more reasonable budget. Of course, it’s not the same as pure cashmere. Still, but some blends can be pretty close and offer excellent value for money.
Cashmere sweaters and jumpers can be very expensive. However, converts swear by them. As mentioned on several occasions, they’re thin and lightweight yet offer excellent thermal insulation. Given that they fibre is also naturally hard-wearing, it’s also an investment that provides excellent long-term value.
Unfortunately, it’s become an expectation for cashmere sweaters to be cheap. This is largely because most “cashmere” sweaters use cheaper grades, blend it with wool or find other ways to reduce costs.
Indeed, authentic cashmere sweaters are rarely less than $200 or much more. There are exceptions, though. For instance, State Cashmere’s sweaters can retail for as little as $135.
Like suits and sweaters, the benefits of cashmere overcoats are quite clear. Woollen overcoats can be particularly heavy to wear and cumbersome to lug around when it gets slightly too warm to wear one.
Meanwhile, cashmere overcoats and lightweight and can simply be thrown over your shoulder. Additionally, they can take a lot of punishment before beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
For instance, if you were to leave it crumpled in a pile, it would unlikely show any creases. Similarly, overcoats tend to get dragged around and caught in things because they’re quite long. Fortunately, a cashmere overcoat is quite resistant to such mistreatment.
Finally, cashmere overcoats are multi-seasonal. While thick and heavy wool coats can be too warm for the early winter and spring, cashmere ones breathe so well that they can still easily be worn.
Cashmere Scarves, Socks, & Hats
More affordable than sweaters and suits thanks to their smaller size, cashmere woollen accessories are very popular during winter. For those that don’t like the burdensome weight of wool, cashmere is a much lighter alternative.
For instance, cashmere scarves provide excellent insulation but are lightweight enough to not feel like you’re being smothered. Similarly, cashmere hats are light enough to forget that you’re wearing one!
With regards to gloves, cashmere’s thinness offers another benefit. Most winter gloves are quite thick and the wearer loses dexterity in their hands. If you’re driving, using your phone or simply holding for dear life on a subway railing, you know that gloves can be a menace.
With slim and lightweight cashmere gloves, your fingers remain nimble and you can still play Candy Crush while wearing them. Do people still play that game?
Cashmere can sometimes be used to produce the whole glove. Yet, another popular approach is to use the thin material to line leather gloves, which improves insulation without thickening the profile.
Yes, cashmere socks exist. While not as popular as Merino wool due to the cost, they do have some alluring advantages. Since cashmere is very thin, socks made from this material will be as sleek and lightweight as cotton socks.
This is particularly beneficial if you wear dress shoes to the office. Rather than suffer from cold feet during the winter because woollen socks are too thick, cashmere socks will offer superior insulation without you feeling uncomfortable.
Best Cashmere Blend Suits To Buy Online
As mentioned above, we’ve sampled a selection of our favourite cashmere suits to buy online. They are listed in no particular order of preference but each provide an insight into the pattern’s characteristics.
Bear in mind that we’ve only found blended cashmere suits from our favourite retailers. However, we’re always looking for pure alternatives to present to you too!
- Black Lapel The Savoy Line Cobalt Blue Cashmere Blend Suit
- Indochino Harrogate Cashmere Blend Suit
- Suitsupply Sienna Cashmere & Mohair Blend Suit
You can use the menu above to jump ahead or scroll down to discover them all.