Cashmere is the luxury fabric of winter (especially here in Shorewood, Wisconsin, where the winters can be teeth-chattering cold). It is impossibly light and yet impossibly warm, doesn’t wrinkle, and feels like silk against the skin. Here’s why:

First, cashmere comes from a goat, not a sheep.

Cashmere is commonly grouped in the wool family, but really, Cashmere is hair from Cashmere goats. These goats inhabit some of the coldest places on earth (Mongolia, for instance), and to battle the bitter climates in which they live, they have two coats: a coarse top coat (called guard hair) and a fine undercoat (down).

Cashmere as we know it, is made from the latter.

It is taken from areas around a goat’s neck and shoulders, via a laborious process of separating the tiny fine hairs from the thick guard hair. Often it is done by hand.

According to the Cashmere Goat Association, the average yield from one goat is about four ounces annually (in other words, not much). You can also look at it another way: it takes one Mongolian goat about four years to naturally shed enough hair to make one cashmere sweater.

The painstaking harvesting process and relatively small yield are also why cashmere tends to be a little pricier, and why 100% cashmere is the priciest of all (often manufacturers will blend cashmere with other fibers, or harvesters will leave in more guard hair, resulting in cashmere that is not as soft). Cashmere is totally worth the price though, in our opinion.

Second, cashmere is a combination of warmth and lightness that only Mother Nature could engineer.

Cashmere fibers are incredibly fine, but also incredibly strong (after all, they keep goats living in Mongolian winters warm), which means you get a lot of insulation (Cashmere can be up to eight times warmer than a sheep’s wool) without a lot of bulk.

This means you can still look sleek and sophisticated when the temperatures drop, if you have a cashmere sweater to wear. You will also feel extremely comfortable with cashmere against your skin.

So, if you want to stay warm this winter without looking like a human sleeping bag, we highly recommend having many items of this top-shelf fabric in your closet. Harleys has a wide selection of cashmere sweaters and scarves for you to choose from, so come on in.

We are located here.

We look forward to seeing you.

December 17, 2014 — D W Haberdasher Limited

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