Friday, August 10, 2012

Maximize your ROI: the cashmere twinset

We should all be carefully planning our fall and winter purchases right now...


sweaters - L.L.Bean 
Silk scarf – Hermès, Pearl & gold earrings – Lord & Taylor, crocheted necklace – Lamprini, grey wool skirt – Jil Sander, grey suede shoes – Rupert Sanderson, tweed skirt – Erdem, cashmere eternity scarf – Parker, color-blocked pumps – Pour la Victoire, plaid skirt – Burberry, ankle boots – Rag & Bone

Grey pants – Vanessa Bruno, scarf – wrq.e.d, metallic flats – Rocket Dog, pink wool capris – J. Crew, rose gold stud earrings – Liberty, crocheted rose gold bangles – YooLa, clutch bag – Uroco, boots – Modcloth, mulberry jeans - Topshop

Lace dress – Mango, coral & pearl earrings – Toosis, nude pumps – Dorothy Perkins, print dress – Proenza Schouler, bracelet – Alice Menter, black sandals – Pelle Moda, pink quartz earrings – Toosis, navy dress – Vanessa Bruno, navy suede pumps – John Lewis

Dotted blouse – J. Crew, laptop bag – Kempton & Co., plaid flannel shirt – Isabel Marant, grey tee – Alexander Wang, taupe pants – Very Eickhoff, taupe loafers – B. Makowsky, jeans – Levis, pink chalcedony earrings – Blue Nile, pink scarf – Yuk Okano, grey slippers – Minnetonka Moccasin, sweatpants - Topshop

28 comments:

  1. Fabulous; love all the possibilities!

    S
    xo

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  2. Do you think LL Bean cashmere is worth a second look?

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    1. Some of my friends adore their L.L.Bean cashmere. That said, I'd try it to see if they've degraded their quality at all; I know a lot of companies are selling lower-quality cashmere than they did in the past, in the mistaken idea that we'd rather have "the same price as in 1999" than have the best quality fiber available.

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  3. So lovely; the soft pink...

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  4. I've never seen LLB cashmere in person, so I can't talk about that. Lands End cashmere is very good. Janice is right about the lesser quality cashmere out there. I have 30 year old sweaters that my mother bought at Harrods--THOSE are good quality. Lots is available in vintage shops--check for holes.

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    1. Mmmm... Lands' End cashmere USED to be really good - I have some sweaters from 10 years ago that are still gorgeous. The more recent stuff... has disappointed.
      If I were shopping, I would order from them, but hold the item to a VERY high standard when deciding if I would keep it or not. They're among the real offenders in the "keeping prices at the same level" game. Things often go up in price - especially luxury fabrics that are in limited supply. If a manufacturer isn't charging more for an item, there's got to be an explanation.

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    2. That has been exactly my experience with Lands'End. And while I never worn anything LL Bean, I thought they were about the same level of quality.

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    3. Now that I think of it, all my LE cashmere is from consignment shops, so probably from the good old days. And price is no guarantee--I have thrifted TSE cashmere--junk. I also have a sweater by Dries Van Noten (!!!) and the cashmere is good, but no better than my older LE.

      I see lots of thrift shop cashmere that looks fairly new and is very pilly and sometimes has holes through the elbows.

      Caveat emptor

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    4. Yes, my experience also confirms that LE cashmere from 10 years ago is much better than that of today. Sad, isn't it? I have a twin set almost the same color as this pink you are showing from the old Country Shop at Marshall Fields. But I never wear them together because I get too warm!!

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    5. Alas, I agree about the LE cashmere ... and the Old Country Shop variety. So much is pilling now. I've taken to washing with Eucalan (from the yarn shop -- claims to be no rinse, but I do since a few drops of lavender oil help against moths). I also invested in a really good cashmere comb. Helps, but I didn't have to do this years ago. I thought Pure Collection (from UK) would be good -- pills. Does anyone have experience with Brora (Scottish company)?

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  5. Such a pretty color you've chosen, Janice, and so versatile!

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  6. I used this idea for my summer capsule at work. Always chilly in office a/c, I purchased 4 cardigans and matching t-shirts to layer. This has worked like a charm all season. I can mix and match the cardigans easily or wear them matchy-matchy with a scarf. Brilliant idea to do this with cashmere, I'll get warmth without all the bulk! I've had success with JCrew cashmere in the past, I may give them a try for the winter season. Thanks for the insight! I am purged my closet from over 250 items to under 150 after reading your blog. I had too many clothes that sat unworn. Now I have less and wear them more, a win win! And my unused clothes have gone to better homes where they get worn too.

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  7. I have a hard time putting a cardigan over a dressy dress without it looking a little bit, for lack of a better term, soccer mom, and like I just threw it on without thinking. Any hints on how to make this work? Is it all about the accessories?

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  8. Thanks for the layering examples! Ah, I love that pretty pink color with the plaid and the polka dots.

    (Incidentally, I was thinking more about layering, and I hit upon an older idea that I think you were playing with a while back: start with enough bottoms for 1 week, then add 2 tops for each bottom. Except, I think of it as not two top options but two top layers. Ideally each top combo is remixable with different bottoms, and then you can remix the layers of tops with each other too. Theoretically that's up to 343 outfits from just 21 garments. Whoa! Anyway, I thought I would pass that along, as it seemed a useful way of adapting your approach to the way that I already dress--just a more effective starting place in this particular case than the 4's.)

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  9. I have had trouble finding cardigans that will fit over long sleeved shells. The arms look bunched up and there is way too much bulk in the under arm area. Anyone else have this problem? Know of any sets that the cardigan is cut to fit over the long sleeved bottom layer?

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    1. I have the same problem and I get around it by simply throwing the cardigan over my shoulders (the old European way). My arms never are as cold as my shoulders anyway.

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    2. And it's fun to look for vintage 50's-60's sweater guards (aka sweater clips) on eBay for those shoulder-tossed cardigans.

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  10. So where does one go to find quality cashmere?

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  11. Hello, I've recently discovered your blog and am busily catching up on the archived posts. You have another fan!
    In several posts I've noticed your great leather cross-body bag (as in "Packing the last-minute suitcase" and other posts). It's just what I've been searching for, for an upcoming trip to France. Would you mind identifying it, on the off chance that this classic is still available? Thank you for all the great info in the blog -- Sister

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    1. My bag is from Osgoode Marley - available through Amazon. No logos, well-made in the US, beautiful quality leather in a classic design, and NOT terribly expensive.

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    2. Thank you for the swift reply. I'm familiar with that brand and had actually checked their website. I don't think I saw that bag; i see now that it's not in the "handbag" section on the O-M website. It's in the "men's business" category. Wouldn't you know! Thanks again, Sister

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  12. I have bought a few pieces from Brora and they are wonderful. They are definitely not cheap but the sale can be good. Supposedly the Scottish cashmere is a little itchy to start but I have very sensitive skin and have never had a problem.

    They have a cashmere care kit that is well worth the money.

    I haven't had very much pilling with their sweaters, but I think all cashmere pills, depending on how it fits. But I won't buy inexpensive cashmere anymore as it seems so flimsy and doesn't last long, at least on me.

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  13. I have one in lilac, and I've nver worn it. Why? I don't have anything to go with it. I can sense your BP rising!

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  14. It's hard to go wrong with cashmere! I wish my climate was more cashmere-friendly.

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  15. This seemed like a good place to ask -- how do you cope when one of your favorites starts to show wear?

    Jora

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  16. Here's a couple of great articles about cashmere, pilling, how to care for etc. BTW, never dry clean and never use Woolite!!

    http://www.simplycashmere.co.uk/cashmeretruths

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204262304577068440402932330.html

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I went into the first one, simplycashmere, and it looks like a good site; always good to have more "knowledge."

      I did work with a woman once who had the most beautiful clothes; I felt as if I'd never seen her wear the same outfit twice. She told me it wasn't how it appeared...that it was all in the recycling of her accessories and planning her outfits. We had a conversation about it. Helpfully, her size had never changed for the whole of her adult life; she was now in the 40s. She told me she'd had the same clothes for years and years; she'd rotate items in her closet according to the year's trends, updating occasionally but not excessively. Also, she said she meticulously took good care of her clothes, dry cleaning what was appropriate despite the expense; handwashing where needed; always inspecting for wear & soil; storing out-of-season or temporarily-out-of-trend clothing in appropriate bags or bins, etc. She was very dedicated to her appearance and wardrobe and gave it high maintenance. She invested in fairly-expensive clothes, and protected her investment. It was a serious subject to her. I can attest; she always looked seriously fab, too. Yet I never heard her go on and on about shopping or buying, so I don't think it was an obsession. She had a very responsible job in the company, a husband and kids, a home and pets. I think in the long run, she was just brain-smart which helped her be clothes-smart.

      I'm glad I was prompted to remember Dierdre...she did wear cashmere sweaters beautifully, often with a gorgeous silk scarf; between her and Janice, I think I may yet get on top of my own tangled closet, facing each day with a dilemma of What To Wear. I have seen photos more than once of Caroline Kennedy throwing what appears to be a cashmere cardigan over a sheath. She didn't look "soccer mom"...rather, it spoke to me of casual, understated, well-tended chic, maybe even elegance. Wow, it just hit me...not unlike her mother...

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  17. I think Martha Stewart has a feature on her website about caring for cashmere, and that includes hand washing. And she swears that dry clean only doesn't always mean that. Yes, for actual suits, no for most knits and silks.

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