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Best deep freeze winter cardigan ever?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Reevolving, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Buying cashmere anything from a mid-tier brand such as J Crew, IMO, is a bad idea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  2. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Yes, but how many of the poor creatures must die in order to make just one sweater? Oh, wait...

    [​IMG]



    It's ribbed for YOUR pleasure, Re. The ribbing and the high collar are key factors in making it warm and cozy.

    Then again, if you're just trying to stay warm in the privacy of your own home, why even bother with a sweater?


    [​IMG]
     
  3. gsugsu

    gsugsu Senior member

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    ^ easy to shear but rounding up enough of them is the problem
     
  4. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    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.
     
  5. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    The latter. J Crew cashmere leaves a lot to the imagination from a wear-and-tear standpoint. 100% of the cashmere sweaters I had from J Crew (all 15 of them-- used to date a SA there) became insanely baggy and shabby looking within a year. I actually resorted to trying to wash and dry them in a washing machine to get them to shrink back into proportion. I would definitely avoid their knitwear. Even at $35 a pop (which was what I paid), the pain of knowing something fits like shit trumps the deal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  6. johnnyletrois

    johnnyletrois Senior member

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    Would you say this is true of their wool sweaters as well? How much better/worse than Banana Republic or another equivalent?
     
  7. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    Only have experience with their cashmere, cotton and cash/cotton sweaters, so I cannot definitively say that all of them act like this (the blanket statement might have been a bit too harsh). However, seeing as how it's a trend with 3/4 of their standard offerings, I wouldn't think it's a stretch to make the assumption. YMMV.
     
  8. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  9. KObalto

    KObalto Senior member

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    Evolve already, please? :facepalm:

    Here's mine from Black Sheep Ltd. :

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  10. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  11. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I just want to add, Reevolving - perceptions aside on whether these seem feminine or not to you, if you get a chance, I encourage you to try to get your hands on one and try it on. The real deal ones, not the thin cotton ones. Chunky, multi-ply, made from lambswool, camelhair, or cashmere. Scottish born. Wait till you have a very cold early morning, and put it on for ten minutes. You'll see what I mean by how warm it is. You could save yourself some money by just not having to heat your home as much during the winter (may take a few years to make back what you pay for the cardigan, but point remains ...)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  12. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    No pun intended ?
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    I paid $250 for the JCrew cardigan I ordered today. It is 100% cashmere. I decided it was the only one that was sleek enough to wear in a business attire setting. In terms of justifying the cost, this non-chunky cardigan can be worn at the office, out socially, in bed, or while watching a movie at home. B/c of the versatility of this particular article, I can justify $250. As far as it being "junk", I find my experiences do not match those of SF regulars. They talk of exploding shoes after 2 wears and such. They say Banana Republic is "total crap", etc.

    In fact, my last cardigan was from BR. I paid $100 for 85% cotton & 15% cashmere. This was in 2007. It was more than I typically spent on clothes at that age. I have worn the living shit out of this garment, and it's still going strong. I've worn it on dates, to work, at home, in bed, and even at the gym. The sleeves stretched after 4 years, but I slimmed them down myself. Took a few minutes, and good as new. I could not be more thrilled with this product. Meanwhile, most here would immediately dismiss it as "crap". If JCrew quality can even come close to BR, I will be more than a happy customer.


    I wonder if they make the same margins on all products. Don't overlook the possibility that certain items may be loss leaders or low margin items. Once you've got free shipping, you order other stuff. I also ordered a shirt and jeans in the same order. 2 things that are guaranteed high margin items. I will report back if this $250 cardigan is unsatisfactory to a "regular guy" (vs. an SF type)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  14. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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    Sorry, but the above left just looks terrible to me, in every way.
    Baggy Walmart fit and it looks like he's wearing his wife's sweater. No, his mother's.
    I'm glad it works for you, but the JCrew look on the right is what I'm going for.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  15. acridsheep

    acridsheep Senior member

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    This will provide less warmth than long underwear. This post is really about the selection of a fashionable Autumn cardigan.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  16. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Wait, you smell that?
    "I have worn the living shit out of this garment, and it's still going strong. I've worn it on dates, to work, at home, in bed, and even at the gym."

    What a slob. How often do you clean your garments? And why are you too cheap to pay for heat?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  17. bubba04

    bubba04 Senior member

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    Edit: LOL, beat me to it ^^^

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  18. thinman

    thinman Senior member

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    +1

    I own a zip-front, 8-ply Scottish cashmere cardigan by Johnstons of Elgin that I wear daily in the winter for exactly this purpose, to cut my heating bill. It has a micro-cable knit look that would probably make it too feminine for Reevolving and it's not especially soft, but neither is it scratchy. It's also exceptionally durable and shows no signs of pilling after 2-3 years of constant winter wear. IIRC, I paid about $350 for it from STP, discounted from the claimed retail price of ~$850. IMO, it's the best sweater I own, better than Brooks Brothers or RL Purple Label, and one of the best clothing buys I've ever made. I highly recommend monitoring STP for sweaters, since they always have cashmere sweaters of various styles by Johnstons (cardigans by Johnstons seem to be rare, though).
     
  19. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    I didn't understand the SF fixation on "only buy good cashmere" until I scored a fabulous cable knit Brooks Brothers piece for a song on Ebay. It's amazingly warm, soft, hasn't pilled in the two years I've had it thus far and gets more wear than all my other low rent cashmere sweaters by far.

    I've picked up a couple others from Johnstons, Loro Piana, and some of the other high quality brands and I can really tell the difference between them and the rest of the flock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

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