What is cashmere? Let's start with the what and then move on to the who, the why, and what to wear it with. As a lot of us already know, cashmere is the softest of fibres that can be impossibly fine to middle-of-winter thick. A little more research informs us that cashmere, this supremely fluffy hair from the winter underbelly of specialized breeds of goats, was discovered in the 14th century. It was promptly made into a nice fuzzy pair of socks and given to the King of Kashmir. The rest, as you say, is history.
It's certainly no less regal today, maintaining the purity and understated luxury of its exotic desert origins, pure cashmere is spun into some of our most treasured wardrobe pieces. No longer is a cashmere twinset exclusively preppy, cashmere cardigans are being reinvented by designers in pops of colours and worn with tongue-in-cheek primness. A transatlantic and transeasonal combination is wearing a pair of leather skinnies and swinging a super lush cashmere wrap over one shoulder, which sounds dramatic right up until you try it. In fact cashmere wraps are for a weekend away, as essential as good weather. If you add a sturdy pair of riding boots to the equation you could compete with that Blake Lively brand of perfection. Try a cashmere sweater worn over a swimsuit – an equally indulgent combination. Wearing a big cream cashmere turtleneck sweater sets the basis for an incredibly chic outfit – with a sculpted coat, Audrey Hepburn style, or a Victoria Beckham classic, worn with razor sharp tailored pants. The grey cashmere jumper is as valuable as your favourite pair of jeans. It’s the item you thank kindly on those Monday mornings when no-thought-needed solutions are essential to getting out the door.
And by who, do you ask? An important question! What was once the thing we borrowed from our mothers, is now becoming our season investment. Jardin des Orangers, creators of an exclusive cashmere basics range at mytheresa.com design super feminine cashmere sweaters in gorgeous hues, elevating the everyday jeans and tee combo into something more serene. 81hours, a label that summarizes all that is new about cashmere, has a hyper-minimal aesthetic which has revived the favoured classic, the cashmere top.
Wrap up in luxury
Loro Piana, the Holy Grail of fine fabrics, make cashmere sweaters that are completely incomparable. They only use the very best textiles which are then crafted, in Italy, into the pieces we know and love. It's one of the reasons they have such dedicated clientele worldwide. Loro Piana developed the exclusive use and protection of the Vicuña, an adorable camelid that is sheared carefully for its unique coat, the best in the world. They also work with combed baby cashmere hair from the Hircus goat, which feels just as soft as it sounds. This commitment to developing the world's best cashmere is why their range, with impeccable shapes and classic colour ranges, has little competition. A cashmere top, sweater, coat or dress from Loro Piana is the very essence of luxury, an investment that has immeasurable returns when weighed in time and quality.
Although cashmere has traditionally been a more daytime choice, we have found ourselves, more recently, being very attracted to the idea of a black cashmere jumper and heels, as an outfit option for dinner dates and events on those in-between warm and cold evenings. That is not to say a cashmere hoodie worn the following day on your way to pilates is a bad choice either. The whole point of wearing such a gorgeous fibre is personal indulgence, which certainly doesn't have a timetable or list of uses. Luxury in the end, is a very personal thing. Whether it's a long bath, freshly cut flowers, the newspaper on a Sunday morning or just some peace and quiet, its importance lies in the ritual that uplifts the senses. It makes the harder aspects of the day, much more endurable. If you can inject some of that beauty into a thing as simple as putting on a sweater, it makes you feel like you’ve won half the battle before leaving the house. Add a latte before going to work and you can call yourself a zen master.