Friday, March 21, 2014

Let’s hear it for cheap cashmere!

The only things older than my collection of cashmere sweaters are the pyramids in Egypt.

I’ve got pieces that date back to 1998 – and I still wear them.

But here’s the best part: I paid less than retail for every single one of those sweaters in the photo above. I’m talking rock bottom prices. I’m talking about the kind of price tags that are liable to bring a woman to her knees – with sheer glee, I might add – at the check-out. The sweaters have come from near and far: eBay, Lord & Taylor, Old Navy (the best cheapo cashmere around!), Saks Fifth Avenue, The Limited, Express, and – the holy grails of all cashmere sources – TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Here’s a closer look at my two favorite pieces: A fitted 100% cashmere pullover by Ralph Lauren, which I purchased when I was back in college for $50 at the TJ Maxx near the University ofMichigan campus; a 100% Italian cashmere cable-knit calf-length cardigan by Brooks Brothers, which I purchased in 2011 on eBay for $30:

I maintain that preservation is the name of the game when it comes to keeping cashmere in tip-top shape, and with the warmer months on the horizon, it’s imperative to clean and store cashmere properly. Here are my rules:

*Dry clean only in the event of a hard-to-remove stain. Do NOT try to get the stain out on your own.
*Otherwise, hand wash in cool/warm water with just a dollop of gentle shampoo. If you’ve got a hand-wash setting on your washing machine – and you trust it – then give it a go; mine has never disappointed me.
*Whatever you do, do NOT wring out the item and DON’T put it in the dryer. (Unless you want to resize said item for your Barbie.) Air drying flat is best.
*Ziploc is your friend. I store my cashmere in 1-gallon plastic baggies; the old fashioned kind, not the new fancy version with the zipper-like closure, which tends to snap if you overstuff them. (Living in a wooded area + having a river in our backyard = Moth City. And those creatures would love nothing more than to have one my precious sweaters for dinner.)

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24 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm drooling over that calf-length cardigan! Also, you are so pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay. So I may just put your comment on 3x5 card...you know, as an affirmation of sorts on those days when I feel like crud. Thank you, Sara. Really.

      And, yes, I *still* cannot believe my good fortune about that Brooks Brothers sweater. No lie, right after it arrived, I would periodically go in my closet and just ooh and ahh over it. lol

      It's the little things...

      Delete
  2. Girl....you are just wayyy too pretty! Ahem, back to the cashmere...I have one I got from NY and Company (don't ask me the price) several years back and it held up nicely. I will admit I did place it in the dryer but haven't had a problem with shrinkage. Enjoy your weekend Courtney!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very, VERY much, Louida. (You're easy on the eyes yourself,
      girlfriend. ;-)

      I've never experienced NY and Company cashmere, but based on what you did with it -- and it still held up -- I give it two thumbs up! lol

      You have a nice weekend as well!

      Delete
  3. I JUST gave away the cashmere sweater I'd had since high school. I was in love with it, but when you start to get holes in the armpits, it's a lot harder to pull off as a look. I totally feel you on this.

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    1. Aww, man! My condolences. The bra *and* a beloved cashmere sweater? If I were you, I'd totally be drowning my sorrows with a bag of Reese's peanut butter eggs. :-/

      Delete
  4. Well the long one is back in style (blue) and the Polo, well...it never will go out of style.. It's Polo for GOD's sake.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Angela! I totally agree with you regarding Ralph Lauren. I am a little bit of a Polo whore; I'm like that with Patagonia, too. I can't help myself.

      With regard to my blue sweater, though, I have a little bit of a different take:
      Brooks Brothers + Anything made of Italian cashmere = Always in style.

      But, then, I love me some preppy. ;-)

      Delete
  5. Love the share. Agree about Old Navy, they feel great last long time if you take care of them :)

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    1. Right? I was, frankly, surprised. I didn't even think that they would carry cashmere, and while I do like Old Navy clothes (I've had a lot of success with their maternitywear), I have to admit that my expectations weren't high when it came to their cashmere.

      But boy was I wrong!

      I just wore that blue striped number (in the top photos above) yesterday. It's VERY warm too.

      Have an excellent weekend and thank you for commenting!

      Delete
  6. What lovely sweaters! I don't think I have anything cashmere. I have a bunch of angora things...maybe that's a kind of cashmere? Sadly, the dry cleaners in Egypt are untrustworthy. I took a white angora winter-jacket in once and it came out 3 sizes smaller. (Idiots!) I've always believed in buying good quality things though. They last and classic is in style forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lexa! I wholeheartedly admit it: I'm smitten with them all. (Shallow, I know.)

      Were you seriously fit to be tied when you arrived to pick up your angora jacket? When I started to read your comment, I got that pit feeling in my stomach that your story wasn't going to end well. What you experienced is what I like to call A Dry Cleaner Customer's Worst Nightmare. My condolences, seriously. It sucks because those kinds of errors cannot be undone.

      You are so right about buying quality things, though. I look at them as investments, which actually save money in the long run.

      Thank you for commenting and have a fabulous weekend! :-)

      Delete
  7. I love well made clothes that never go out of style! Plus you rock it, girl!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! And I'm with you 100%! I mentioned in an earlier comment that I view them as investment pieces, really, which actually save money in the long run.

      Thank you for commenting. (And for your kind words. :-)

      Delete
  8. I have never liked cashmere - even the most expensive feels scratchy to me, but no one else seems to think so, so I think I must just be a wool wuss. Your photos are great and I love the look of the Ralph Lauren one!

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  9. I'm actually not a fan of many wools either, actually. (RL lambswool, though, is soft and oh-so-warm; Scotty loves his RL lambswool sweaters.) But good 'ol cashmere always makes me weak in the knees...

    Thank you for the nice words about my pics. :-)

    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, love love love your outfits! I've found a few cashmere pieces at the thrift store but don't take care of them the way you do, so thanks for the tips!

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    1. Hi, Dina! You're welcome! Scoring thrift store cashmere is the absolute best!
      (In the top pic above, the bottom two black sweaters are actually thrifted; I think I paid less than $5 for them each.)

      Thank you for commenting. :-)

      Delete
  11. Great tips! I am reorganizing my closet today for the Spring and I will follow your advice. What a timely post. Which reminds me...I should be doing that and not be on the internet:)

    Thank you for a lovely post!
    Maria
    www.musicteachingandparenting.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you, Maria! I'm glad I could be of assistance. (Take good care of your cashmere, and it'll love you back. ;-)

      Thank you for stopping by...

      Did you see the follow-up comment I made under your breakfast cookie post? I did make them that next morning!

      Delete
  12. In the past year, I have ruined almost every single sweater I own :( I am looking forward to restocking next winter and will certainly check out some of your cashmere sources. I love cashmere!

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    1. I love me some cashmere too! Join me in the fight to Save Cashmere Sweaters!!!! lol
      Keep in touch and let me know how your restocking search goes, okay? I love a story about a good bargain.

      Thank you for commenting. :-)

      Delete
  13. Great tips for storage! As an avid knitter, I am careful about my precious hand-knit and fine-fiber sweaters. I dream of knitting my own cashmere one someday (such an indulgence for both the process AND the end product!), but in the meantime, I keep my eye out for cashmere at the thrift stores I frequent and come home with some seriously pet-able items sometimes. I love your blue, long sweater! What a deal you got on it; it's gorgeous. I had never considered scoping out e-bay for cashmere. Fun blog here; glad I found you via SITS!

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    1. You're welcome, Nicole! That is awesome that you have the ability to make your own pieces! That rocks! But until you do create your own masterpiece, yes, do scope out eBay...the selection will amaze you -- especially during the warmer months while the prices are lower because there is not a lot of people buying cashmere...

      I still can't believe my luck with my blue Brooks Brother sweater! I love it!

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Delete

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