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cashmere vs. merino wool

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I received a cashmere sweater yesterday that I bought on sale from Polo.com (also using the current discount code). It's a rich ruby red and very soft. When I tried it on and looked in the mirror, though, I could see light spots where my shirt showed through the cable stitching as I moved. So the sweater is too small and is going back.

What is more worrisome, when I carefully picked a small piece of white paper off the sweater, a tiny bit of the fabric came away with the paper. Since I have 2 cashmere sweaters that are pilling where I lean my forearms on the arms of my desk chair after less than half a dozen wearings, I'm thinking that cashmere is just too fragile (one of the pilling sweaters is from Brooks Brothers and made of 3-ply cashmere, so it's presumably good quality). In contrast, I have a merino wool sweater from Jos A Bank that is nearly as soft as cashmere and is holding up well. So I'm thinking that merino wool provides a great balance of softness and durability, whereas cashmere is just too fragile. I think I need to buy merino wool sweaters instead of cashmere. Does anyone else have similar experiences? What are your thoughts?
post #2 of 35
I pretty much agree, though Scottish cashmere seems generally to hold up a lot better than Italian or Chinese cashmere. I'd rather buy lambswool or merino wool. After a wash with Woolite lambswool feels almost as soft as cashmere, seems more durable, and costs what, 1/3-1/6th as much?
post #3 of 35
So it really is okay to throw lambwool in the washing machine in the delicate cycle with woolite? Or do you recommend handwashing it in the sink to soften it up a bit? Can you do the same with Merino wool, or is Merino soft enough as it is and dry cleaning the way to go?
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
Scottish cashmere seems generally to hold up a lot better than Italian or Chinese cashmere.

Scottish is the best, some Italian is almost as good and Chinese is junk. Sweaters made in Scotland are made with cashmere woven in Scotland. Sweaters made in Italy are made with cashmere woven in Scotland, Italy or China(How does one know). Sweaters made in China are made with cashmere woven in China.

The only way to be assured that a sweater is made with Scottish cashmere is to buy one that is Made in Scotland.


http://www.cashmeremadeinscotland.com/#
post #5 of 35
I'm a big fan of merino wool. At its best, it offers very nearly the softness of cashmere with substantially more durability.
post #6 of 35
I like some of the cashmere blends, as they hold up well and remain soft. I have a cashmere/silk blend sweater that has been through a lot, and still looks really, really good.
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alflauren
I like some of the cashmere blends, as they hold up well and remain soft. I have a cashmere/silk blend sweater that has been through a lot, and still looks really, really good.

The cashmere blends seem like a nice idea. I've seen some cashmere/silk sweaters with a polo style collar that I _almost_ bought. I resisted because I wouldn't wear them much because of the need to handwash them.

teddieriley, I've always read that dry cleaning any type of wool is a bad idea as the solvents strip the natural oils, so handwashing is the way to go. I'm afraid to send my sweaters to a drycleaner.

I'm pretty sure my BB sweater is Scottish cashmere, but I'll check the label tonight when I get home.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddieriley
So it really is okay to throw lambwool in the washing machine in the delicate cycle with woolite? Or do you recommend handwashing it in the sink to soften it up a bit? Can you do the same with Merino wool, or is Merino soft enough as it is and dry cleaning the way to go?
I hand wash sweaters in the kitchen sink. It doesn't take very long and they always come out well. Drying is the main problem. If you hang them or lay them anywhere where a part can hang off they will stretch, so you need to use the "burrito method" detailed here: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...urrito+sweater

I should mention that we are supposed to recommend a different soap for hand washing now (can't remember the name) because Woolite apparently damages wool over time. I think used sparingly, you'll be okay.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
I hand wash sweaters in the kitchen sink. It doesn't take very long and they always come out well. Drying is the main problem. If you hang them or lay them anywhere where a part can hang off they will stretch, so you need to use the "burrito method" detailed here: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...urrito+sweater

I should mention that we are supposed to recommend a different soap for hand washing now (can't remember the name) because Woolite apparently damages wool over time. I think used sparingly, you'll be okay.

I must say - recently Air New Zealand got their new uniforms and they were made from pure 100% Merino as Air New Zealand Management wanted the best for durability and wear. You can wash them however you like - it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer - that is what merino wool does. Ask any seamstress and they will tell you so.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
I hand wash sweaters in the kitchen sink. It doesn't take very long and they always come out well. Drying is the main problem. If you hang them or lay them anywhere where a part can hang off they will stretch, so you need to use the "burrito method" detailed here: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...urrito+sweater I should mention that we are supposed to recommend a different soap for hand washing now (can't remember the name) because Woolite apparently damages wool over time. I think used sparingly, you'll be okay.
I must say - recently Air New Zealand got their new uniforms and they were made from pure 100% Merino as Air New Zealand Management wanted the best for durability and wear. You can wash them however you like - it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer - that is what merino wool does. Ask any seamstress and they will tell you so. I sound like I am promoting New Zealand!!!! I forgot to mention that they bought bales of wool equivalent to the weight of an airbus or 747 jet I think.
post #11 of 35
I just bought a single breasted Ermenegildo Zegna cashmere sweater for 20 bucks at a resale shop. I love it, although it's a touch too long.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddly Familiar
single breasted...sweater

What is that?
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpac
What is that?

A cardigan sweater, I presume.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Gent
I'm a big fan of merino wool. At its best, it offers very nearly the softness of cashmere with substantially more durability.

have some cashmere/wool blends from BB that's holding up pretty well, though i haven't worn it much. just bought a cashmere/cotton blue/white melange sweater, rather thin and light but it seems nice.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
I should mention that we are supposed to recommend a different soap for hand washing now (can't remember the name) because Woolite apparently damages wool over time. I think used sparingly, you'll be okay.

I now use Forever New, available at Nordstrom in the lingerie department.
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