Whether you're an expert shopper or the average Joe, the mention of cashmere instantly brings to mind luxury and softness. Across the world, this unique fabric is known as the most premium amongst different types of wool. Even blending it slightly into lambswool or angora can turn a men's sweater from forgettable to extraordinary. Soft to the touch with a silky finish and unusual strength, cashmere is truly a fabric to experience. But, have you ever stopped to wonder why? What is it about cashmere sweaters that make them so distinct? Discover the history of cashmere, its defining qualities and how you can incorporate it into your wardrobe.
Discover where cashmere wool originates, and why it's such a commodity:
Where it comes from - According to the style archives at Cigar Aficionado, cashmere is a knit or woven cloth from the downy undercoat of the cashmere goat, found mainly in Kashmir, Tibet and Mongolia. The hair is "characterized by an exceptional silkiness and strength, so the cloth produced from it is both soft and warm without being either heavy or coarse. The supply of raw cashmere is stable and limited, while demand continues to grow. As a result, cashmere cloth is decidedly expensive."
Advancements in processing - Advancements in processing cashmere have made it more wearable and increased its popularity in recent years. G. Bruce Boyer, a leading fashion writer and editor, describes the process that gives cashmere a smooth, silky finish and ability to absorb both rich and subtle fabric colors. In his essay, "A Cut Above", Boyer explains how advancements in manufacturing and processing makes cashmere lightweight and suitable for everyday wear.
"The latest development along these rather sybaritic lines is worsted cashmere. Up until just a few short years ago, cashmere, like flannel, was always woven with a napped surface. But in the past decade or so there have been successful experiments with worsted-woven cashmere, in which the yarn is combed flat before being woven."
Timeless cashmere pieces that last - Because of its rarity, cashmere sweaters cost more. So, it's understandable to only have a few items of this luxury material. Add cashmere pieces to your menswear in classic styles and colors, and avoid trendy items that will date easily. A black cashmere sweater or navy cashmere vest is a timeless piece that you'll enjoy now and in the future. Choose accessories such as scarves or gloves for subtle luxury, or big ticket items such as a cashmere blend sport coat or bathrobe. Stick with neutral colors such as shades of gray, cream, brown, black or navy. Preserve the life of your cashmere sweaters by hanging them from a smooth hanger when not in use.
Now that you know a brief history of cashmere, and how it has advanced to become a wearable, yet luxurious material, you should be ready to provide insight the next time someone comments on your sweater or scarf. Or, shop for men's cashmere sweaters that offer an added touch of elegance and warmth you've been looking for at an expert men's clothier, like JoS. A. Bank. Find an impressive selection of quality made menswear to meet your business dress or business casual needs and more online today.