Originally Posted by Reevolving
Is buying cashmere from JCrew a bad idea as in "not the optimal SF nitpicky" idea,
or more like it's a "really stupid and idiotic and you're getting ripped off blind" idea ?
I already ordered it, but can return it if it's a disaster.
To be fair, it really depends on how much you pay for cheap cashmere, and how often you plan to wear it. If someone bought a low-quality cashmere sweater for something like $75, and only planned to wear it a couple times a year, it wouldn't be such a bad deal. Especially if it were a design or color they were unsure of. Hard to justify spending $500 on a cream colored cable knit cashmere sweater if you don't know if you don't know you'll actually ever wear the thing.
But if you're sure you're going to wear it, and want it to last a long time, I would avoid cashmere from any low to mid-tier brands. The fibers are short and likely to pill, and the knitting isn't very dense, so it'll lose its shape more easily. Better to get something made from merino or lambswool, which are better at the kind of price points you'll pay. Lambswool can edge out here cause it's harder wearing, all things being equal, than merino.
Good cashmere from a non-fashion brand already runs about $350. Add all the marketing and retail hype that J Crew invests in, and you'd be looking at a bit more. J Crew can't justify selling at that price point, so it sells something for half that price and cuts a lot of corners, assuming that the consumer won't know any better anyway.
This kind of trick is perhaps most evident when you see how cashmere is marketed. Cashmere-cotton blends are marketed as cashmere. Cucinelli I think recently started doing this (or at least I've never noticed it before). It may have to do with its IPO. In any case, I recently saw some of their sweaters marketed as "Brunello Cucinelli CASHMERE" - with the cashmere written very boldly on the label. One peek inside, however, and you find that it's 95% merino and 5% cashmere. Prettty amazing. Shows how cashmere now is just a buzzword to get consumers to think something is better than it is, and it preys on people's ignorance.
For what it's worth, every sweater I've bought from J Crew over the last 17 years or so I've been unhappy with. This includes everything from cotton to merino to cashmere to whatever blend in between. I just don't think they make very good sweaters. I've mentioned this to other highly informed people on this board, however, such as shoreman, and they've had much different experiences (theirs are positive). So who knows.