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I think there might be something to that if we weare talking NATURAL colors, that pure white color ain't found on the goat.
With Cashmere the real difference in quality (and this applies to the high super number woolens as well) is not the 'softness', the real difference is in the LENGTH of fibres.
Short cashmere fibers will feel amazingly soft and pill like crazy. With the high super numbers this is also true. I got to see this at Carlo Barbera last year - they have a Super 160s that costs about twice what their 150's costs (their 150's ain't cheap) and they showed us how it is made - the fibers are freakishly long and very strong in addition to being very very thin. After a year of washing and resting and spinning and resting... it makes a fabric that is not only silky soft but also much more durable.
The whole Super number arms race is a bit of a crock - take very very fine diameter wool whose other properties are not great and you can make a super 150's crap, ...while a super 100's that has been properly worked and whose other properties are right will make you a better suit.
...same exact deal with cashmere. Some of the 'hard' cashmere fabrics (especially from the better English mills) will feel 'rougher' at first but over time the natural abrasion will make it quite soft and 10x more durable.
Please continue to drone. I find it extremely informative. Do you know anything about cashmere made by an Italian company Columbo (sp)? Got a beautiful rust colored overcoat from Saks as a house brand and I think that was on one of the tags.
i posted in a thread here before about a loro piana article on cashmere and it was stated basically two factors, being the finest hairs right at the skin level on the underbelly of the goat along with the finish that is done with those fibres once combed out
loro piana was basically saying that the same fibres taken to their mills in mongolia will come out a lot better and softer than the same fibres taken to mills in china, for example, where a lot of cashmere is being milled - it's all what and how you mill it
and ignore ply count as well, a two ply cashmere sweater of the best hairs from the best mills will be softer then an eight ply sweater from lower grade hairs milled poorly .......
and colour should have nothing to do with it save and except for the possibility of poor dying causing the hairs to absorb or swell with that colour (just as dark dyed towels are less soft than white ones given the fibres have used up their absorption rating by holding the dye rather than water .... or something like that)
Columbo makes some amazing cashmere jackets and sweaters, albeit on the conservative side. I find that if I wear one of their cashmere long sleeve polos, I have to punk it up with some really distressed jeans and crazy Nike hightops and a studded belt to prevent myself from looking like a 50 year old corporate dude out for a weekend stroll.
Darker cashmeres contain much more dye than lighter colors; consequently they feel different from lighter colors, with less dye. Also, when a manufacturing or dying mistake of some sort happens to a lighter sweater it can be corrected by dying it navy or black, to cover up the mistake. This is based on what a saleslady at a local cashmere shop told me some time ago. It seemed true since I could feel the difference between a navy blue sweater and one, let's say, in seafoam green. Next time you're out shopping try a touch test. You'll feel the difference.
Does anyone have any opinions/experience with Harrison cashmere products? I saw a couple of sweaters on bluefly that I'm interested in that could prove to be a pretty good deal (depending on the quality of the cashmere).
I'm sure they aren't up to the level of TSE/RLPL/Loro Piana, but I'd still appreciate any opinions on the quality brand.
Also, any comments on sizing/fit would also be very helpful.
I have a navy v-neck I bought like a year ago, at $80 (they were having a special sale or something.) It's not super fluffy and fuzzy cashmere. I don't know much about how it holds up to wear and tear, because it's my preciousss. (It's one of the few cashmere articles of clothing I have.)
The fit is decent. I fit a small, and it doesn't bag over my shoulders. There's room enough in the body for me to layer a shirt underneath. It's definitely on the fuller-cut end of the spectrum.
Thats definitely helpful. Â I'll probably pick up a sweater and give it a try - especially with bluefly's liberal return policy. Â
I've been hunting for a TSE sweater for a bit but haven't had any luck in my price range. Â Stopped by the TSE outlet in Napa last weekend and found a bright orange cashmere (that felt amazing) but was $350 on sale. Â I really like the colors of the harrison sweaters (bright reds/greens) and figure its not to big of a loss even if it isn't perfect.
Based on Alias' recommendation, I"ll probably try a small as well. Â
I'll be sure to post a comparison to my other cashmere sweaters (RLPL...)....
The color of cashmere does make a difference in quality in that fleece that comes off the goat a dark color must be bleached before it can be dyed. Bleaching tends to make the cashmere brittle. If the cashmere is naturall white or light colored, it can be dyed without bleaching, preserving more of its softness.
You may notice when you flip through the swatch cards in high end suit-makers' custom boxes, you'll frequently see cashmere swatches of any color marked, "Prime White Cashmere." The message is, the cashmere started out white and was not bleached.
I don't mean to supercede any of the previous posters who made valuable observations about fibre length, etc.