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Cashmere fans

Hi all, I'm inexperienced with cashmere. I'm thinking of purchasing a cashmere sweater for my trip to Greece in March (and for me all the time). Would it make sense when it isn't something that can be washed in the sink...or washed at all on a 17 day trip? The cashmere sweater would have to replace one of my three packed tops, which usually consists of three tonal long sleeve tee shirts. I wear a tank and a cotton shirt on the plane. I am not one that needs to look different every day. My last trip I had two identical black tops and one navy same style top, and two pairs of identical black jeans, but as I'm going on a tour I'm thinking I can't go in my usual limited mode. Everything I bring is practical. Is a cashmere sweater practical for travel? Does this make sense for my limited packing system? Wray

Posted by
809 posts

I have a black cashmere sweater that I have often taken when traveling in cool weather. I've used it in France and Scotland in October and in Japan in January and been very grateful for it. It's warm but extremely lightweight.

You are right that it cannot be washed in the sink. I wouldn't think you would need to wash it on a trip like yours. I usually Dryel mine once or twice a winter.

But I don't know how cold it's going to be on your March trip to Greece. What temperatures are you expecting?

Posted by
3243 posts

Kathy, Good to know. Thanks. The average low is 48 degrees and the average high is 62 degrees. I was thinking the sweater would either be instead of a jacket or with a jacket. I could wear a tee shirt under it, but not likely unless it is really cold. Thanks, Wray

Posted by
16741 posts

I have come to much prefer merino wool to cashmere---it feels nicer against my skin but is more practical and durable. Smooth finish and not "fuzzy", but just as soft. However, you may find more stylish options in a cashmere sweater---merino can be pretty basic and sporty.

I actually do wash my cashmere, by hand in gentle suds, with minimal disturbance---just soak, squeeze, rinse, squeeze, and press water out between think terry towels. Do not ever wring or twist. I have done this for years with no bad results---no shrinkage, no felting, and no stretching out of shape.

Posted by
14175 posts

I use the same technique with my cashmere that Lola does. I do wash it in the sink, squeeze, roll in a towel and dry flat.

I have a black cashmere cardigan I got several years ago from Lands End and took it to England and France in the Fall of 2015 as I was not coming home until mid-Oct. It was perfect for Paris in the AMs. I did not bother washing it on the trip as I always had on a shirt under it.

The Land's End cashmere is nice altho the product seems to be getting thinner each year. There are some pilling issues but this sweater is probably 3 or 4 years old. If you sign up for Land's End emails you'll get almost daily offers for 30-40% off with an occasional 50% off. I would expect some big coupons over the next couple of weeks if that interests you!

Posted by
3551 posts

I would keep my cashere uses to shawls or wraps only. Washing delicates while away from home is very difficult.

Posted by
5697 posts

Love cashmere for travel -- but I don't expect to wash it on the trip. Black pullover sweater over washable shirts (and I try very hard not to spill anything on myself.) Did a one-month Christmas markets trip without needing to wash it. Took the same sweater along as (very packable) emergency warmth on a 2-month spring trip.
When I wander through thrift shops at home I'm always on the lookout for well-made cashmere and merino wool sweaters, preferably in the under-$20 range.

Posted by
16741 posts

I have 4 cashmere sweaters that were my mother's and are more than 50 years old. And still in perfect condition, and yes I wash them by hand.

Newer cashmere comes from China and while it may come from a goat ( which means true cashmere) it is not the same quality. My newer cashmere sweater from Macy's feel itchy to me. Still, it is cashmere and if you wish to take one traveling, it is a good choice for cold weather.

Posted by
15651 posts

as I'm going on a tour I'm thinking I can't go in my usual limited mode Uh, Wray, you're going on an RS tour. You can certainly go that way. Limited = pack light = RS.

On the other hand, cashmere feels so nice . . .

Posted by
1309 posts

I have a light weight cashmere sweater. And I have two thin cotton long sleeve tee shirts that I wear under it, one at a time, of course.
Unless I spill something on it (and then I have "Tide to Go"), the sweater will not need laundering. It's the shirts that will absorb body odor, and they are easily washed and hung to dry over night.
My particular tee shirts are the cheap ones from Target, nice colors but flimsy for actual top layer wear. But they work for me as an under layer, weigh next to nothing, and roll up very small.
The cashmere might be too warm for the bus and the Greek tour has a lot of walking/hiking. But for walking around in the evening it could be very comfortable.
Let us know what you decide ...
SharYn

Posted by
3243 posts

Thank you all so much. I think I will change the style of sweater. The one I was thinking about is more of a one layer top, although modal tees might fit underneath OK. I'll look at more of a cardigan or pullover style, but if I buy cashmere I want to make sure it is a good cashmere. I'll look at merino wool as well... But this would add one more item to my suitcase/body rather than substitute for one: 3 long sleeve tee shirts, one tank, one blouse, and a sweater? I already have a cute quilted reversible vest that always travels with me...worn on the plane. As there is walking involved and I am from New England, maybe I am packing too many warm clothes. I have a light jacket, Lands End, as well. Maybe I'll just buy the sweater for me, at home... Also, now I'm a little worried about being too hot on the bus... Wray

Posted by
14175 posts

OK, now it sounds like I am a complete shill for Lands End...but I love their cotton/modal tee shirts. I did travel with them almost exclusively but added a couple of merino wool tee shirts to the mix last summer/fall. The merino ones are from Cabelas and did well...don't get smelly even in the heat. Back to the cotton/modal ones...they wash and dry overnight and are great layering pieces.

I have not done the Greece tour but you may need 1 or 2 short sleeved shirts altho you might not be able to make that decision until you see how the weather is when it's time to travel.

Posted by
3243 posts

Pam, You are a woman after my own heart...those are my tees! I figured i could always buy a short sleeve shirt in Greece, but I will rethink this right before the trip. I might rather throw in another tank another cotton blouse. I'll check out those merino wool tees. Thanks, Wray

Posted by
489 posts

I bought 3 cashmere sweaters and took one on our tour this year. I absolutely love them for the feel and warmth. Cashmere is also very light weight and has good warmth factor. One hint for cleaning or refreshing is to carry a small spray bottle to have a mixture of vodka and a bit of water. This is what costumers do when they need to freshen up costumes between performances that can not be washed or they don't want to dry clean. I am such a fan now of Cashmere! Remember to take care when storing and for moths.

Posted by
14175 posts

"One hint for cleaning or refreshing is to carry a small spray bottle to have a mixture of vodka and a bit of water."

tgreen, I did not know that!

Posted by
427 posts

Cashmere bought new nowadays is certainly lacking in quality compared with that of my mother's generation. Eric Bompard is the head-and-shoulders above the rest exception, yet not really any more expensive (depending on the exchange rate). Among the Scottish makes even much praised Brora is not what it used to be - garments are much thinner and cardigan fronts curl at the edges. Walking in the Cévennes in June this year I was so glad of my Bompard sweater (worn with a long-sleeved vest underneath it), and needed a cardigan over it as well in the chilly evenings.

Posted by
975 posts

I would find a cashmere sweater very comfortable in Greece in March, especially if it is windy or near the ocean. A sweater is more comfortable than most jackets on a trip. I bought a Talbots cashmere sweater last year and very disappointed in the pilling. Same a few years ago with a Lauren, and a Neimans catalogue black vneck. The old sweaters are better; but I would take it, layer it, and not wash it on the trip. I would be cold enough to want it on the plane, also.
I too would wear a tank and a shirt in the summer- but early spring? Nope.

Posted by
3243 posts

I'm glad to know the quality issues for newer cashmere...I had been looking at Talbots so I will explore further.
It's interesting to see where you are all from as it reflects on whether or not cashmere is too warm or not.
I usually wear a tank, blouse, vest on the plane as I can peel off layers. I was roasting in Heathrow the last time through...

--tgreen: what element does the vodka add to the water?

Posted by
14175 posts

Re the vodka: Maybe the evaporative effects of the alcohol?

When I took the cashmere I also had short sleeved Tee shirts on under it. I would start in the AM with the Tee and the sweater and then be down to short sleeves if the sun came out.

This year I took a smartwool (merino) cardie from Cabelas. This is sportier than the cashmere, which was not really dressy but dressier, I would guess you would say. I traveled at the end of August and ran in to horrible heat so didn't need the smartwool, but I did use it by the last part of my trip at the end of September.

I tend to run hot and live in a cool climate so while others are wearing a coat I can often manage in short sleeves, lol. I do find that both the cashmere and merino tend to ventilate well so I don't overheat as much in either of them but stay warm when I need to.

Posted by
489 posts

The vodka:
It kills the bacteria that causes the BO... smell.

Posted by
1243 posts

Hi. I have a collection of cashmere sweaters and frequently travel with them unless it is June/July. I also launder them though probably would not need to on a brief trip. During that time, an undershirt/tank would help keep the sweater fresh. I mostly dry clean them in my drier with Dryel. My adventures with cashmere began with thrift shops and then moved to some old faves from JJill. I am wearing one now. It is assigned now to house-sweater status because of some moth holes, but I took it to Paris two summers ago.

For me, the key is locating a style that is perennially available - mostly a wide cropped style from Garnet Hill. These are often on sale, though the price is creeping up over the years. Still, by keeping an eye peeled, you can get sweaters from $99-$125. The colors are changed seasonally.

I would not think this would replace one of only 3 tops perhaps augment? Wear over a tee into the airport?

As to comparing with merino, I have had that chance today. It is cold and blustery in Philly. When doing errands I wore a newish merino sweater from E. Fisher. It is one I wear to work. On coming home, I was chilly (I keep the house quite cool). Changing the merino for the house-cashmere, I am toasty.

I would love to hear how you made out. Good travels.

Posted by
3243 posts

Pam: I may resort back to my past old reliable, boiled wool. BW adapted well to the temperature so I was never too hot or too cold. Maybe I won't step up my game to cashmere...
Tgreen: that is really interesting. I'll have to try it.
Debbie: I'm going to look up Garnet Hill. Thanks for the info.

Posted by
5697 posts

Wray, I love boiled wool -- looks dressy as a jacket but is comfortable as a sweater. And if you already own some ...

Posted by
16741 posts

Storage: i keep my wool and cashmere sweaters in those plastic boxes that you buy salad greens or spinach in. The large ones hold 3-4 folded sweaters and stack nicely on the closet shelf. I have never seen a moth in our house and never had a moth hole here--but two of my sweaters have holes from previous locations so I am not taking any chances.

Posted by
16894 posts

As for most travel, I recommend versatile, removable layers for this trip. There may be windy periods but also times when you're in the afternoon sun in your shirtsleeves because it feels like 70, or you're hiking up a hill, etc. That was my experience one late Feb - early March on Kos island, for instance.

Posted by
3243 posts

Lola: How creative! Certainly less expensive than The Container Store...
Laura: Thanks for that information. I'll throw in a short sleeve tee as well.

Posted by
3243 posts

MrsEB, That jacket sounds perfect and my color, too... Any hints on where you purchased it? Wray

Posted by
2145 posts

I always travel with a very lightweight zip-front fleece (Edit: LL Bean calls it Fitness Fleece). It's more casual than a sweater but so practical for travel.

Posted by
16741 posts

Travelsmith has a boiled wool jacket with princess seams in navy blue for under $35 ( originally $139).

http://www.travelsmith.com/glasgow-boiled-wool-jacket/827336?SourceCode=EE900003&cm_mmc=ComparisonShopping-_-GooglePLA-_-NA-_-NA&CAWELAID=120245410000027017&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=10439118828&CATCI=pla-72422101831&catargetid=120245410000033543&cadevice=t&gclid=CKCL6_CGxdACFUONfgodtfsCDw

( I am stuck watching football so entertaining myself with Google).

Or maybe it is this one from Bean:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/74359?page=beans-boiled-wool-jacket

Cobalt blue but too warm for Greece!

Posted by
41 posts

Cashmere is a fantastic yarn, you shouldn't need to clean it after just 17 days, like 100% merino wool, it is naturally odour resist .. So unless you're planning to roll around in the mud it should be fine until you get home. Then it may need to be dry cleaned, never wash cashmere.

Posted by
3183 posts

Never wash cashmere? I wash my cashmere sweaters all the time. After all, it gets wet when it is on the goat. Water won't hurt it if you do it properly--no rubbing, wringing or twisting, and no sudden temperature changes. Cool or lukewarm water only.

Posted by
2620 posts

And now I am caving in and buying a cashmere V neck in the most gorgeous shade of deep green from Boden. Bonus points that it is washable.

Posted by
14175 posts

Oooh, Christa, that emerald one is beautiful. I love the color they call Prussian Blue...which is more what I would call cobalt. Trying NOT to look at any cyber-Monday deals.

And why is it after all this time when I see the title of the thread I still instantly think of fan as in hand fan?? And wonder why you would want one of those in cashmere...paper works just fine, lol!! My brain....

Posted by
5697 posts

I blame it all on you guys -- went to my favorite thrift shop and there, on big sale, were TWO boiled wool jackets in my size. So of course I had to buy them since I so recently declared my love. And they were $10 each. Might even make it into my suitcase (along with a cashmere pullover) for a chilly March trip.

Posted by
8293 posts

Never wash cashmere? Of course you can wash cashmere .... I've been doing it for years. Warm water, mild detergent, gentle handling. Carefully wring out and then roll in a large towel and squeeze. Dry flat on a thick towel and keep the cat from walking on it. End of lesson.

Posted by
5837 posts

Real or fake? The test is similar to testing for real silk. Trial by fire.

http://cashmerezone.com.au/real-pashmina-test/

There is only one known way of real pashmina test to determine whether
what you have is a real pashmina or not, and it involves burning.

To perfom the real pashmina test , get a small portion or even a
fringe of the supposed pashmina fabric, light it, and wait for it to
burn. Then you smell and touch it. Since pashmina or cashmere is made
from real natural hair, it should also smell like burnt hair, not like
a burning plastic. Moreover, despite being burned, the material should
still feel matte or very similar to the way it was. Otherwise, if it
feels viscose, then you know that it’s fake.

This real pashmina test tactic is now being used by many shawl vendors
in Nepal and India to convince buyers, and you can do the same as
well. Just buy a fabric with tassels or fringes.

http://www.wikihow.com/Identify-Pure-Cashmere-Pashmina-Shawls

Go for the burn test. This is a tough one, as you’d not like to spoil
your shawl but you can always pick one thread out of the fringes, it
won’t harm the material nor will ruin the design and at the same time
you’ll be able to conduct the purity test. Now you’ll simply have to
place the fabric piece on some ceramic or steel pot without covering
it with lid, you can also use a microwave safe plate for the purpose.
Once you have placed the fabric piece on the plate, simply light a
match and let it burn. You’ll have to see it burn and smell the odor
as well as check the ashes with your finger tips. If you get a
burnt-hair kind of odor and the ash turns out to be a powdery
material, it is more likely to be pure. But in case it smells the way
burnt leaves would do and there are bigger flames consuming it up,
oops you’ve been cheated, it is viscose. Again, if it gives a vinegary
odor or smell like burning plastic, with the ashes forming small lump,
it too is the wrong stuff. It can be acrylic or polyester.

Posted by
3243 posts

LOL. This is getting way to technical... I'm hoping for some serendipity like Laura had...at this point. Thanks for all your input.

Posted by
16741 posts

That information Edgar posted concerns pashminas ( woven shawls, mainly from India), not knitted cashmere sweaters. No need to go setting fire to your sweaters.

Posted by
16741 posts

More on the washing question:

I just pulled out one of my mother's cashmere sweaters to try on for an evening event coming up. The sweater has an I. Magnin label ( anyone remember them?) and also one saying Made in Italy. She would have bought it in the 1950's or possibly the 1960's. It is still in perfect condition.

The fabric tag says on the front "100% Cashmere" and "Dry Clean Only". Then on the reverse it says " Lukewarm water very soft iron do not wrinkle dry in shadow." So take your pick. But if you choose to wash your cashmere ( which I will), be sure to heed Norma's caution about the cat, above.

Posted by
66 posts

So I just have to pop in and agree with previous posters.

Cotton/modal t-shirts from Lands End are fabulous and pretty much all I take for tops. I also like the LE swim shirts for regular wear.

And LL Bean fitness fleece is just perfect for travel: lightweight, packs small and warm!

I would never take cashmere, it is too hot for me. I like to have silk long underwear and camisole, which doubles as pajamas. I wear the camisole under a cotton/modal long sleeve t, then the fitness fleece over that, then a LE rain jacket, and I am set for chilly weather. And I can take things off when it gets warm.

Posted by
450 posts

Due to all the recommendations, I checked out the Lands' End t-shirts. Hopefully I am looking at the right ones, but several are on sale for $9.99. I will have to check these out! I can never find t-shirts that I like and have been really disappointed by the ones from Gap, which used to be my go-to shirts.

Posted by
3243 posts

Meg, Thanks for the heads up. Nice sale at Landsend. I ordered a few as well. Those are the tee shirts that have been mentioned. I usually get fitted or shaped, both are nice although I notice the only sale option was shaped.

Posted by
1420 posts

I helped backstage w a professional ballet comapny that sprtized their costumes w vodka water after the dancers turned them in.
I vote for cardigan, very easy to button, un botton, pull off as the environment changes. Here in iowa during the last cold blast, i was using a "sonoma jean co" one from a thrift store as a layering piece, it is 40% silk, 30% nylon, 14%ramie, 8%angora, 5%wool & 3%"other" (love that!!!)....is lightweight, soft, and says its hand washable & came from China .

Posted by
3183 posts

Has anyone ever used Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile soap for washing wool or cashmere? I know peppermint is a natural moth repellent, and the liquid Castile soap is very gentile. I might give it a try!

Posted by
2145 posts

Hi Wray, I take a cashmere sweater on every trip. It looks nice with a scarf or necklace and black slacks and makes me feel a bit dressed up. I wash it in Woolite and roll out the excess moisture with a towel. Usually dries overnight. I buy sweaters from Lands End. I tried one from LL Bean this year but found the material to be a little itchy.

Posted by
208 posts

Doric8 (or anyone else) - could you please share what ratio of vodka to water is recommended? Thanks!

Cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
1420 posts

I googled " vodka water clothes spray" and came up w 1 part vodka, 3 parts water....and some cautions about what fabrics to use it on. (when i helped w the ballet co, the bottle was already mixed)