A cashmere women's cardigan sweater is the ultimate in cool weather luxury. Cardigans have always been a classic, and it's easy to see why: they're versatile, available in a slew of styles and add instant elegance to a casual or dressy casual outfit. Add cashmere to the mix and you're wrapped in luxurious softness.
Properties of Cashmere
Why is cashmere such a prized, and pricey, material? Unlike plain wool, which is often plentiful, cashmere comes from the soft undercoat of goats. As with anything rare, this lack of widespread availability drives the price of the fabric up. It's also an incredibly soft and warm material, while also being lightweight. You could wear a heavy wool sweater or a lighter cashmere sweater and feel the same amount of warmth, due to cashmere's insulating qualities.
Buying and Wearing a Cashmere Women's Cardigan
Slip into your cashmere cardi anytime a cardigan is called for. They work over a simple white blouse and slacks or skirt, or with a dressier ensemble. They can add instant chic to a jeans and cute tee combo, so long as the jeans are dark and dressy. Preppy women are sure to have a collection of cardigans in their closets.
When looking for a cashmere cardigan, be prepared to spend, especially if 100% cashmere is your heart's desire. These sweaters typically fall into a price range of $100 and up. If you're willing to compromise, you may find less expensive options, but you'll likely have to settle for a cashmere blend -- this is still perfectly fine with many women, as a wool/cashmere blend is still soft and warm.
Ann Taylor, a household name among the well-dressed, offers a classic take in a reasonably priced silk/cotton/cashmere cardigan that fits the fall and winter seasons beautifully. The cashmere makes up only a small percentage of the overall fabric, but this versatile piece -- available in several colors -- will complement a range of outfits with its elegant simplicity.
Women looking for a bargain know sites like Overstock and Bluefly. Check these retailers often and you'll more than likely come across a cashmere cardigan for a fraction of the price you'd pay in a designer store.
Of course, if you live for shops like Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's, you'll find a great selection of cashmere sweaters with the introduction of fall merchandise.
Caring for Cashmere
To keep your gorgeous cashmere women's cardigan in great shape for years to come, proper care is essential. You don't want to spend all your hard-earned money on such a beautiful garment only to have it ruined with the wrong wash cycle. A cashmere cardi will last for years if you're especially careful in two areas: cleaning and storing.
Most sweaters will require dry-cleaning, so be sure to read the care instructions as soon as you get your cardigan. Others, if they're not 100% cashmere, may be fine with hand-washing. Fill a sink or tub with cool water and add a wool-friendly detergent, such as Woolite -- anyone who knits may have other gentle cleansers on hand which are perfect for delicate cashmere, such as Eucalan or Soak. Immerse your cardigan and gently swish; let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing. Do not wring your sweater. Once you squeeze most of the water out, lay it flat on a thick towel and roll it up. Then lay the cardi flat and allow to completely dry. Always wash your sweater before storing.
This isn't a sweater to haphazardly toss in the back of your closet. The best way to store your cashmere cardigan, particularly during warm weather when you don't wear it, is neatly folded and loosely wrapped in tissue paper. Tuck a lavender sachet next to your sweater to keep moths away; it will also keep your cardi smelling fresh.
Cool Weather Chic
Having a collection of cardigans is just good wardrobe planning. Putting one on often adds just the perfect touch to your outfit, whether it's dressed up or down. Wear one made of cashmere and you can instantly wrap yourself in one of the world's finest fabrics - a great way to face a chilly day or evening.