I have never liked wearing wool. When I wear wool against my bare skin it’s as if it becomes electrified with sparks, hair follicles smarting at the irritation. Scratchy school jumpers and over-tight 70′s polo necks you could barely stretch over your head, memories that reeked of hours of discomfort and clock-watching until you could get home and tear the offending articles off your poor rashed body.
However, those were the days before I discovered cashmere. Ah, cashmere… My first experience of real cashmere was a genuine pashmina. I couldn’t believe how beautifully soft it was, how it enveloped my chilly neck so gently. I waited for the itching to start, but it never did. It was a revelation! I was hooked. Until that point I had always resorted to man-made fibres for softness, but they never provided the warmth I needed.
Cashmere has wonderful properties, but it’s ability to keep you warm while remaining refined and lightweight is it’s ultimate benefit. I trawl many wardrobes that contain drawer upon drawer and shelf upon shelf of well-worn polyester polar fleece jumpers. Their existence is defended rigorously by their owners who cite “comfortable, warm, cosy” as the reasons they keep them. I get it. I understand. If you’re climbing Snowdon as part of the Three Peaks Challenge this kind of garment will show it’s worth. But, when you’re dressing for work, school drop-off or lunch with some friends, they don’t cut the mustard.
A simple cashmere jumper has a sophistication about it and just as much warmth as any knackered old fleece. You can wear pearls or a silk scarf with it. You can wear it like Betty Draper from Mad Men with a pencil skirt, or like Audrey Hepburn as a beatnik with black cigarette pants in “Funny Face”. It can soften a leather jacket and indigo jeans, or provide protection over a flimsy summer dress as the sun goes down. Now be honest, would your fleece be as versatile?…I didn’t think so.
So, which piece should you add as an essential wardrobe item? What about this jumper by Chinti and Parker exclusively at Net a Porter at £285. Classic design that will earn it’s place in your capsule wardrobe. A black cashmere jumper will work no matter what the season and can be dressed up or down whatever the occasion.
If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, what about this gorgeous piece at the Pure Collection. Their Gassato Cashmere Sweater is a perfect item to add to your collection, and at £109 it’s a pretty good price for good quality cashmere. They offer three colour ways that are perfect for a chic understated look.
So will you take a look in that wardrobe of yours and banish those bobbly old fleeces? It’s worth it, I promise you, if you want to go from eek to chic!