Far from being the winter fabric that many people think it is, cashmere is in fact an all-year-round friend.
Can you wear cashmere in the summer? Of course you can use cashmere in the summer. If the moment takes you, you can wear a fur coat and thermals… although neither are likely to be quite so comfortable as cashmere.
Thanks to its almost magical (and no, we don’t use the term loosely) properties, cashmere has as much of a place in your summer wardrobe as it does your winter one. Look closely, and you’ll find the market buzzing with featherweight cashmere T-shirts, tank tops, dresses, and more besides… all perfectly designed to see you through even the hottest days of summer.
We’ll look more into the whys and wherefores of how cashmere transcends seasons shortly, but for now, let’s keep it short and sweet. If you want to wear cashmere in summer, you can. Will you be a hot, sweating mess at the end of it? No. Will your friends be laughing at you for wearing wool in summer? Probably, but only because they’re jealous.
Remember those ‘magical properties’ we mentioned a few seconds ago? We weren’t lying… after all, how many fabrics have the ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer?
Cashmere is just such a fabric. Like several other fabrics made from natural fibers, cashmere has that rare (and yes, we’ll say it again, magical) ability to regulate temperature. In winter, it’ll hold in your body heat to keep you snug and cozy; in summer, it does the opposite, helping you keep your cool even as the temperatures soar.
If you intend on buying a cashmere garment that’ll see you through the warmer months, it does, however, pay to check the ply-count. Typically speaking, a two-ply cashmere will keep you as warm as toast- a single-ply, on the other hand, is lighter, eminently breathable, and more suited to warm summer days.
For too many years to count, cashmere has been marketed as the kind of warm, snug fabric that’s perfect for the cooler days of fall and winter. But let’s face it… cashmere ain’t cheap. If you’re going to fork out several hundred dollars for a garment that, at best, you’ll only be able to wear for half the year, you have to question just how worthwhile your investment is.
Fortunately (and despite popular opinion), cashmere is NOT something you have to reserve for cold weather. Providing we’re not talking about a thick, lined coat, cashmere is as suitable for the summer months as it is the winter ones– as anyone who’s worn a superbly breathable, light as a breeze cashmere t-shirt will attest.
All that being said, it pays to invest in a high-end cashmere (as opposed to the cheaper, slightly inferior cashmere's that have started flooding the market in recent years) if you intend to wear the garment over several seasons.
Items from the cheaper end of the spectrum tend to show signs of wear and pilling after just a few outings, making them more of a ‘one-season wonder’ than you’d perhaps like. And of course, summer comes with some unique challenges all of its own– unless you want your clothes to start looking (and smelling) slightly worse for wear, make sure you wash your cashmere frequently to avoid it becoming too sweaty or deodorant stained.
Thought cashmere was a one-season wonder? Think again. Cashmere will see you through spring as well as any other time of the year, so why wait till winter to enjoy that luxurious cashmere touch?
On the cool mornings and chilly evenings of early spring, a cashmere cardigan or sweater will keep you warm and cozy. And then, when the sun starts to warm your skin, it’ll keep your body temperature at an even keel.
Warm when the occasion calls, and cool when needed, cashmere is the perfect fabric for spring, whether it’s worn as a scarf, a sweater, a dress, or anything in between.
But it’s not only cashmere’s amazing temperature regulating qualities that make it such a spring-time essential. Thanks to the fact it takes to dye like a duck to water, it’ll add a splash of fresh, spring-worthy color to your wardrobe... and who’d say no to that?
Cashmere might not be cheap (to put it mildly) but thanks to its all-year-round wearability, it offers an immense amount of bang for your buck. As one of the most hard-working fabrics in your wardrobe, it’ll take you from winter to summer (and then all the way back around again) effortlessly.
Not only is cashmere beautiful, but it’s also wonderfully practical thanks to its natural ability to balance body temperature. As light as a cloud and with the almost supernatural ability to keep you warm in winter but cool in summer, cashmere is an investment that pays for itself.
As soon as the warm weather arrives, it’s time to put away your scarves, right? Wrong. Or at least it is if we’re talking about cashmere scarves. Cashmere might be technically a ‘wool’, but it's a wool unlike any other.
Thanks to cashmere’s lightweight, temperature-regulating qualities, a cashmere scarf won’t make you sweat or get hot around the collar. What it will do, effortlessly and stylishly, is add an elegant statement piece to your outfit… and, of course, keep you snug on those chilly summer evenings.
Layers CAN add warmth, sure, but providing you layer up with the right fabrics, you don’t have to spend your summer in a sweaty mess.
A cashmere blazer adds a dash of sartorial elegance to any outfit… and it needn’t be reserved for winter either.
Unless you want to look buttoned up to the nines, skip the tie and keep things casual. Wear your cashmere blazer open on warmer days for a relaxed, laid back style that’s perfect for date night – just be sure to pair it with a lightweight button-down, a polo, or a t-shirt to keep things suitably summery.
And don’t worry about getting too snug for comfort… thanks to cashmere’s ability to keep you warm when needed and cool when not, you’ll look and feel as cool as the proverbial.
Wearing cashmere in summer is certainly not something you need to avoid. Despite being a woolen fabric, its temperature regulating properties make it an easy choice for when you want to look and feel your best, no matter what the season.
That said, there are a few little tips and tricks to make sure neither you, nor your cashmere, start to wilt under the summer sun.
DON’T wear the same cashmere piece too many days in a row. Preserve the life of your precious cashmere (and save it from picking up too many deodorant stains) by allowing at least 2 days between wears.
DON’T wear it next to any rough ’n’ ready garments or accessories. Metal jewelry and belts can create friction, resulting in all kinds of upsetting things to happen to your beloved cashmere. Likewise, rough leather bags and jackets are best avoided…. unless you’re happy to deal with the dreaded pilling, that is. If the worst happens, make sure you simply pick off the pills, rather than trying to rub or brush them away.
DO wash properly. Cashmere might be all kinds of wonderful, but it’s no more resistant to deodorant stains than any other fabric. Keep your cashmere looking it’s best by making sure to wash it carefully and regularly, as per the care instructions.
If you have certain cashmere garments that won’t be seeing the light of day come summer, getting to grips with the proper storage methods now is crucial if you want to avoid tears come winter.
If you’re planning on storing the cashmere somewhere other than your bedroom closet (the attic or basement, perhaps?) make sure to check the room for any problems beforehand. Are there any leaks you need to steer clear off? Any signs of dampness to avoid? Perhaps some areas receive too much direct sunlight for comfort?
Once you’ve decided on which room to turn into your storage facility, get the cabinet or drawer you’ll be using well and truly clean. Remove any last traces of dust, lint, or insect residue before moth-proofing it with some fresh moth-repellent liner paper – if you prefer, you could add cedar blocks or chips instead.
Never store cashmere that’s not been properly cleaned first. Moths love cooking oils and food proteins, so any food stains should be whisked away before you even think about storing the garment away. If there are any pills, gently puck them away from the garment by hand – it may take a little time now, but you’ll thank yourself for it down the line.
If you’d rather avoid any hefty dry-cleaning bills, wash your cashmere garments by hand using some mild shampoo or soap and the following method:
Cashmere should be stored properly folded and wrapped. To fold a cashmere garment (and no, it’s not as self-explanatory as you think), lay it on a flat surface, front side facing down. Fold each side inward by around a third, before folding the hem up to the shoulders. Wrap the garment in acid-free tissue paper before storing it away.
No matter how careful you are, moths will sometimes find a way of getting into your storage unit. Regularly check on your stored items and act swiftly if you notice any signs of trouble.
If you notice your garments are under attack, seal your cashmere items in a zip-top plastic bag before freezing for three weeks (or, in other words, the entire life cycle of a moth). The freezing process will kill any eggs and prevent any chance of a repeat infestation.
While your garments are chilling in the freezer, take the opportunity to thoroughly clean the drawer or cabinet where you’ve been storing them up to now. Make sure to remove any last traces of eggs or moth residue from the cabinet and surrounding areas, before relining the drawers with moth-repellent liner paper (or cedar chips, if you'd prefer). If you’ve any concerns about the moths returning without you noticing, try placing a moth trap nearby and keep checking back regularly.