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What to Know When Buying Cashmere

It’s all about the weave and the weight.

Naked Cashmere Margaux Turtleneck Sweater, $225
Naked Cashmere Margaux Turtleneck Sweater, $225

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Ah, cashmere. If we could, we’d swaddle ourselves in the stuff — but when it comes to shopping for the right sweater, the options can be overwhelming. So we asked Bruce and Leslie Gifford, the founders of direct-to-consumer brand Naked Cashmere, for some tips.

Bruce, who has more than 20 years of experience in the cashmere industry and wears the fabric every single day, shared his top three things to keep in mind when shopping for top-notch cashmere:

  • Don’t get caught up in the fancy terminology that comes with cashmere. The most important thing to know is that cashmere is priced by weight — and the heavier the piece, the higher the cost.
  • That being said, you can find plenty of high-quality pieces that aren’t heavy. For example, a sexy cashmere dress or off-the-shoulder sweater (à la Kate Moss) is often deliberately made with open, low gauges, resulting in a fluffy, slinky piece that’s surprisingly lightweight.
  • A simple way to test out the quality of a piece is by lifting it up in the light and seeing how much of your hand shows through the fabric. A semi-sheer sweater made with a more open weave will feel nice and airy — but if the material seems lumpy or patchy, don’t buy it. A tighter weave, meanwhile, makes for a chunkier sweater.

For more expert cashmere shopping tips, check out the entire video below: