For a long time, I bought clothes that a) suited my shape b) suited my style and c) suited my bank balance. However as I have got older, I have come to realise that there is something else that I like to consider when buying my clothes. What they are made from is becoming increasingly important to me, particularly in the winter months, when I want to feel warm but never sweaty. Because the truth is, synthetic fibres don’t allow our skin to breathe and either cause over-heating or over-cooling because they don’t absorb water or regulate temperature.
When I did my wardrobe switchover this week, the only knitwear that I wanted to hang on to were the ones made from cashmere or merino. Anything else had lost it’s shape and softness and generally looked a bit shabby after a few washes. So this winter, when it comes to knitwear, I am going to resist the temptation to buy anything but natural fibres. It’s part of my new regime of buying less and buying better…
The other day I gave my eldest daughter (who is now able to wear some of my clothes!) an old M&S Autograph cashmere jumper that was a little too snug on me. She spent the whole day stroking her arms, saying ‘mummy I never want to wear any other kind of jumper!’ Of course, we have to be practical when it comes to children who climb trees and have habits of wiping their dirty paws on their clothes, but this winter, I will aim to buy her natural fibres and she can wear cotton hoodies to do her climbing, with one or two investment cashmere jumpers for special occasions.
The dress I am wearing today is 100% cashmere, from last year’s H&M premium range. I think it cost £79.99, and I have to say it is still in excellent condition with very little bobbling. There are high street shops like H&M, Uniqlo and M&S that have good, affordable cashmere, but if your budget allows it is worth saving up that little bit extra and going for a slightly more expensive cashmere. Dare I say, you can feel the difference.
My favourite cashmere brands (in no particular order!) –
Chinti and Parker (but I only buy in the sales or sample sales as otherwise it’s prohibitively expensive!)
Wyse have the most amazing cashmere jumpers with unique and striking features, like this navy jumper with star patches below.
I have this soft cashmere roll neck Jumper and it’s featherlight yet incredibly warm. The way cashmere should be.
It’s a good time to buy cashmere from Boden, as they currently have some special offers.
Beautifully soft cashmere in muted colours. This pure cashmere cardigan would be a real investment piece.
I am a big fan of Hush clothing and they have some beautiful cashmere in this season.
However if you are looking for slightly more affordable options, then take a look below for some high street finds.
So what are the red flag words to watch out for, when buying your clothes? (This does mean looking at the wash label!)
And instead, opt for
So, guess what I have returned once I read the label? The La Redoute Cardigan that I thought was a good buy. It felt SO soft, but when I read the label and saw that it was 82% acrylic, 10% Polyamide and only 5% wool, I had to send it back, because I need to practise what I preach. So that marked the start of me saying YES to natural fibres and NO to synthetic ones! And to anyone that rushed out and bought that cardigan on my recommendation, I am sorry. (Although it is a great cardigan and I know not everyone reading this will share my views on natural fibres!)
And before I go, just a brief word on caring for your cashmere. I machine wash everything on a cool, wool wash cycle, using a special wool detergent. Then I dry flat, on an old baby changing mat and use a cool iron to pat down the fibres once dry. I brush when it’s needed using a comb like this one below.
So here’s to feeling warm and cosy in cashmere this winter! As always, thanks for reading.