There’s nothing quite like cozy cashmere sweaters for luxurious style when it comes to warmth and comfort. Featherlight, durable and timeless, cashmere wool, combed from Kashmir goats, is three times more insulating than sheep’s wool. It’s much rarer too.
Until recently, the cost of cashmere put it out of the reach of many of us. By eliminating the middleman and selling direct to customers, online merchants like Pura Cashmere can sell sweaters and accessories for more affordable prices. Some of the best cashmere sweaters around are less than $300.
Can Affordable Cashmere Be Real Cashmere?
Yes, it can be. Before you buy, though, you should know a little more. Manufacturers keep cashmere sweaters and accessories affordable by:
- Blending –- Mixing cashmere with other natural fibers strengthens certain styles. Pura adds fine wool to its lovely range of Cashmere wool sweaters, for example. Gentleherd.com is another online manufacturer that includes blends in some sweaters. But beware of cheap cashmere blended with synthetics.
- Recycling –- Sometimes known as post-consumer cashmere, this is yarn made from fabric shredded and re-spun. GQ reports that Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher are among the designers who use it. Pre-consumer textile waste, an Italian specialty, can also be recycled. Outerknown’s beanies and accessories are made from this kind of yarn.
- Direct-to-consumer selling is probably the most important factor in keeping prices low.
What to Look For in Affordable Cashmere Sweaters and Accessories
- Style and fit are always important. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice them for affordability.
- Composition. If a sweater is 100% cashmere, it should say so in the description. Sometimes there’s a good reason for blending wools, but sellers should be upfront about it.
- Timeless classics. Even affordable cashmere is an investment. Look for heirloom quality materials and shapes.
- Lightweight. Check the shipping weight of garments in their product descriptions. The magic of cashmere is that it’s virtually weightless yet warm at the same time. That’s why cashmere sweaters are so great for layering.
Ethical, Sustainable, and Affordable
The average sheep produces about three kilos of fiber a year. Compare that to the 200 grams of fiber from a Kashmir goat, and you can see why some budget producers are tempted to cut corners.
You can enjoy the luxury of cashmere in good conscience by looking for companies who encourage herders to use sustainable and cruelty-free practices by paying fair market prices and investing in their communities. Several industry organizations certify good practice. Pura, for example, holds The Good Cashmere Standard from the Aid by Trade Foundation, whose aim is to help people help themselves through trade. The foundation uses independent inspectors to audit cashmere producers.
Indulge Yourself in the Luxury of Cashmere Without Costing the Earth
Check the FAQs and About Us pages of cashmere websites, you shop with. The best ones are transparent and ethical. The more you know, the easier it is to make smart purchases of good quality affordable, sustainably-sourced, and super cozy cashmere sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, and socks.
Featured Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels