Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cashmere in the Rain

Shameless Request: My daughter and I are finalists in the Rosetta Stone Go Places contest! You can vote once a day for our video until November 21st and be entered to win a Kindle Fire for each vote!! So check it out and help us win!!

My video entry!

And now for the article...

Well, since the weather has been a bit drizzly outside, I thought it might be nice to talk about wearing cashmere in the rain!!

Most important point: Cashmere is not harmed by water. It's what you do after it's wet that causes damage. For example, if you get completely soaked through, take off your sweater and hang it by the shoulders, it will stretch out of shape. If you wash your cashmere in cold water and rinse it in hot water, it will shrink. Just use your common sense and the tips I have for you and you should make it out OK.

Imagine a sweet little cashmere goat in the chilly climate of Inner Mongolia. Do you think that wonderful little miracle-material-making goat never saw a spot of rain? I doubt it. Obviously, they don't sit out in the rain if they have to- they'll go find shelter. Point being: if you wear your cashmere in the rain, it's not the first time it's been wet.

I think the main issue to think about here is whether or not you want to be wearing wet cashmere. You probably don't. Cashmere smells like wet dog (lol) and gets very heavy when wet. So, I wouldn't suggest letting yourself get soaked while only in a sweater. Just do your best to keep out of the rain! Use an umbrella if you have one. Or snuggle by a fire and drink some cocoa instead.

I have worn cashmere in the rain and have not had any problems. If you're worried about it shrinking, keep the sweater on until it dries. It can't get any smaller than you are while you're wearing it, right??

If you are soaked through, just wash your sweater as normal right away. Reshape it and let it dry away from direct sun or heat.

I hope this helps all of you in rainy climates. Please let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy the rain in your cashmere!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cashmere Sweater Coats for Fall

Sweater coats have been a staple in my cashmere wardrobe for a few years now. I cannot tell you how much use I get out of those things!! They are wonderful when you are wanting to snuggle up and read a book and are perfect for going out shopping in the middle of winter. I have even performed in one and was photographed wearing it! (I have a music degree, but I have this secret obsession with cashmere for some reason...)

When shopping for a sweater coat I have a few things for you to consider:

  1. Brand- This may seem judgmental, but brand, in this case, can make or break the purchase of a sweater coat. The best cashmere brands (Loro Piana, Malo, TSE, etc.) all use premium cashmere fibers. They are longer and thinner so they pill less. Cashmere sweater coats are often made from 8-12ply cashmere so the knitting is "wider". When each stitch has a larger surface area, the smaller fibers will pill up more easily than with a tighter-knit sweater. With a tight-knit sweater, the smaller fibers can be spread across 3 stitches. In a thick sweater coat, they might just barely spread over 1 stitch if at all.
  2. Knit Style- When looking for a thick and warm sweater coat, pay attention to the way the sweater was knit. When a sweater is knit with a cable pattern, they use more yarn. Therefore, you get a warmer sweater! A simple stockinette stitch (like you find on normal knit sweaters) will have less yarn per square inch. Also, a tighter knit will last longer. A sweater that is knit loosely may look neat, but you are asking for trouble with pilling and washing.
  3. Color- If you are going to spend upwards of $1000 or more on a new sweater coat of great quality, pick a color that is timeless. A pink sweater coat may be tempting, but in a year, it will be very dated. You are better off spending the "beaucoup bucks" on something classic that will last you 10 years.
Here are some examples of current sweater coats for sale that I think would be great investments:

From Neiman Marcus:Brown Sweater Coat $695
From Neiman Marcus Sale:Rust Sweater Coat $495
From Nordstrom Sale:White Todd and Duncan Sweater Coat $769
From Neiman Marcus:Loro Piana Navy Sweater Coat $2650
From Ralph Lauren:Brown Toggle Sweater Coat $1298
From Neiman Marcus - same as Ralph Lauren but in dark grey:Grey Toggle Sweater Coat $1298
From Kinross:Hand Knit Cable Coat (Boutiques only)
From Neiman Marcus (I own this in black and LOVE it!):Cable Coat $695

So, those are my picks for now! I have the last coat listed from Neiman Marcus (thought it was only for sale last season, but there it is again!), a Ralph Lauren coat, and a Kinross coat. They are so delicious! I must say that my two favorites from the list above are the brown sweater coat from Neiman Marcus and the Ralph Lauren toggle sweater coat. If I could afford the Loro Piana, I would buy that in a heart beat!! You should already know by now how I feel about their cashmere... nothing better!

Well, enjoy the hunt for the next staple in your wardrobe! If I find any others I love, I'll post them. If you know of any others, let me know!!