Cashmere Review In The Middle Of August??
Welcome to a long due Review of a few Cashmere pieces by Soft Goat! It is a valid question you ask, but there is always a good explanation! Last week, I had my awesome training at Suitsupply which involves travel and a lot of education.
Spending 5 days in the Netherlands with a small suitcase meant that I needed little, efficient clothing. Not only that, but the Dutch countryside does not really have a reputation for the best weather. After packing the essentials, chinos, jeans and a few shirts I decided to bring with me three sweaters I bought during a sample sale in March this year.
More specifically, today we will look at:
- The super awesome cardigan in the intro picture
- A smashing Bordeaux O-Neck Sweater
- A Sandy Light Brown Turtleneck
We will also discuss Soft Goat as a company, learn a bit more about Cashmere as a fabric and see if it’s worth your money or not. Who am I kidding, of course it is!
A Quick Funny Story
Before we delve into the wonders of Cashmere, I want to quickly share with you a small story. In Suitsupply School I had a few amazing teachers. One of them is a fine Englishman called Paul. During training I was next to him wearing the Bordeaux Sweater. At some point he touches me and says:
“Oh, is that Cashmere?”
It then became an ongoing topic of discussion and sparked my interest into writing this article.
What Is Cashmere & Why Is It So Amazing?
Cashmere is a fabric with incredible qualities. It originates from Cashmere Goats which live mainly in the cold parts of Asia with harsh winters and hot summers. The actual name comes from the Himalayan region of Kashmir. If you follow the world news, Kashmir is in the middle of a strong crisis between India and Pakistan.
As we said, the Cashmere Goats live mainly in China and Mongolia. The latter has reputation for some o the finest Cashmere in the world. These days however, you can encounter them in other places such as Australia.
Interesting Fact: There is not any specific breed. Goats that produce Cashmere Wool are called Cashmere Goats!
Nice! Tell Me About The Process
Extreme temperatures, harsh terrains and often semi-desert conditions means the goats need to adapt. All the magic happens under the exterior layer of wool we visually see. During winter, these cute animals grow a very soft undercoat and shed it during summer. Since it is a natural process people can collect these fibers by combing instead of shearing.
As you collect the soft wool, you wash it and then spin it into a yarn. It is a delicate process and it requires up to four years for one goat to produce enough Cashmere for a single sweater.
Fiber Quality Differs
When it comes to quality, I generally tend to focus on 4 areas:
- Fiber Length: a common way to describe fabrics like wool or Egyptian cotton. Longer fibers have better quality
- Fiber Diameter: Think of it as width. The finer the fiber, the more luxurious and soft Cashmere is. Microns between 14-19 are considered fine Cashmere
- Ply: A Ply is when different threads combine to create a stronger yarn. More plies equal more durable knits
- Stitches/cm (Gauge): While not exactly a quality benchmark, a higher gauge produces a thinner garment
Trivia: The Kashmiri Changthangi goat produces the finest Cashmere in the world.
Qualities Of Cashmere
Due to all the above stories and reasons, Cashmere has extraordinary qualities. It breathes well during warmer days, but will keep you up to 8 times warmer than merino wool during winter. Ultra fine, soft to the touch and has self-cleaning abilities. It might not be as durable as merino however and it takes a long time to dry. Lastly, it is hypo-allergic and does not cause itching to your skin.
Of course, the scarcity of Cashmere goats and the low amount of fiber they produce means that the prices of Cashmere are very high. Well worth the investment though!
Soft Cashmere – Swedish Style
Before you stone me for going overboard with history lessons, we need to talk a bit about Soft Goat. A Swedish company of Stephanie Bergström and Erik Magnuson. Two friends that all the way back in 2010 decided to produce quality Cashmere by skipping the middle man.
This proves to be a rather popular business model these days and for good reasons. With lower costs and overheads, you can keep the prices lower. I essentially use the same model with The Noble Shoe.
Without boring you too much, the sweaters are made in China which is not a bad thing these days. Just take a look at Suitsupply and Yeossal. The collections are for both men and women and range from Scandinavian minimalism to chunky knits and vibrant colors.
The website is exceptional with beautiful, clear content and fast loading times. I did contact them for a possible collaboration before but my email was not great honestly. I also sent them a message to tell them how amazing today’s products are but once more received no reply. While this is not representative of the whole customer experience, it is something I noted.
The Sandy Beige Cardigan
What is there to say about this! I love it!
I simply cannot stop wearing it when I get the chance to. Cardigans used to be a taboo for younger men since it had this old-man stigma attached to them. A classy cardigan will never be out of style and creates a very masculine appearance.
This particular model has 6 buttons which I prefer much more than zippers. It gives the elegant appearance of a waistcoat and is a very good way to layer under your suit. Two-Ply for added durability with a rather high 14 gauge which means it is very lightweight. Minimalist in nature with a discrete collar, long sleeves and no pattern.
I would advise going TTS (True To Size) as this particular model is Medium and fits me very well.
Quality – 9.5/10
As far as quality goes, after almost half a year there is no sign of wear and tear. The cardigan is as soft as ever and often catch myself touch it. This is actually an indication of quality Cashmere.
Stitching is excellent all over the garment with ribbed edges and no visible inconsistencies.
I could not find something bad to say, apart from maybe the buttons. While they have a beautiful almost green-like iridescent color they do feel kind of cheap. Very lightweight to the touch. Understandable of course to keep the cost down and honestly they work rather well.
Pilling is a part of knitwear and this is no exception. However, with a little bit of combing everything is gone and is less frequent than the one in my Altea Milano Review. I picked this one up for less than 100$ for 50% off which makes it a steal like the other ones.
The second item in store is this incredibly attractive wine red o-neck sweater. I am not such a huge fan of red because I find it a bit too “aggressive”. Burgundy shades though are different and much more pleasing to the eye. This is my go-to casual sweater when it is cold or I want to look stylish.
It is also a very minimalist plain knit with ribbed edges and a rather slim fit. It drapes very well over the body without being too tight which is something I really like. Once again Medium in size in an amazing acquisition for less than 90$ in the sample sale.
Unfortunately, this color is not available any more although I hope it comes back in the future. They seem to favor more earth tones right now with a little bit of light blue here and there.
If you intend to use it with a shirt and tie I would recommend going for something with a V-Neck instead.
My favorite way to pair this is with chinos or dark denim and suede shoes.
Quality – 9/10
I love consistency. Buying multiple products and seeing the same level of detail and construction all over the board. The same applies here.
The fit is excellent and so is the overall feeling when you touch the garment. It is really very soft and you will not want to go back to regular wool after trying. Wearing this often for 6 months now I am very satisfied with the quality and the ability of the Cashmere to not hold smells.
Apart from the stitching there are not many details that I need to look out for. The stitching is excellent and tight while the garment feels pretty durable. I am not afraid it will break or rip as I am confident in its strength.
Due to the frequent use it does pile a bit more than but certainly not in a way that makes me uncomfortable or itchy.
A Sandy Beige Turtleneck To Complete
Another fantastic way to effortlessly look stylish and masculine is a turtleneck sweater. It keeps you very warm too by protecting your neck. Definitely a more winter choice but I do secretly look forward to wearing it again in the following months.
This one is very similar to the cardigan in color but just a little more towards light brown. I enjoy earth tones very much and they pair well with everything. Personally I feel as comfortable with this under a suit as with a pair of jeans.
Again a more plain knit with ribbed edges but I know I will wear it with suits often so texture was not ideal. During the sale there was no Medium so this one is Large, but fits surprisingly slim and well. Nonetheless I would recommend choosing your usual size.
Quality – 8/10
Almost everything is perfect once more. The stitching, the feel of the Cashmere and the durability after months of use. Tensile strength, breathability and warmth during winter add to the advantages.
Then why just 8/10? Piling is not that bad actually, very comparable to the previous two and less than the Altea turtleneck.
One thing I dislike about this model is the neck. There is just too much fabric which bunches up on the top and often needs adjustment or looks sloppy and wide. My Altea one on the other hand fits perfect around the neck with no excessive space.
Call it however you want but if the rest of the silhouette is slim I would also prefer the neck to be similar.
Are They Really So Warm?
There is a misconception that you will wear Cashmere and you won’t have to worry about anything. This depends on so many variables and is generally partly true. You cannot expect to wear this light cardigan when it is -25 Degrees outside with just a shirt and be warm.
As part of the overall outfits though, the Soft Goat sweaters do an excellent job. Sweden is a cold country and requires good clothing with insulation. Especially the turtleneck is superb for such occasions.
What I mean by this is that Cashmere is not a panacea but part of the solution. Unless of course you go for chunky, heavier knits which we do not cover today.
Suggestion: For interesting info, read our Cashmere Overcoat Review.
Value – 10/10
In a world where you can buy everything you want online and in often better prices than regular retail, Soft Goat has something great here.
All three pieces costed around 100$ or less, trumping the Altea version that costs 3 times more. Of course, this was during a sale but the original cost would not exceed 200$. The colors are versatile and pair with many outfits which creates a lot of value without sacrificing quality.
Once you feel quality Cashmere you will be able to understand it by touch. I cannot describe how soft it is and can only imagine the ultra fine luxury versions that are out there.
As with all knits, wear them well and take good care of them and they will last for a long time. Stay away from the moths and store correctly.
Soft Goat in particular has at least a bi-annual sale and a physical sample sale if you live in Stockholm. You can grab some awesome deals for your or your partner. She will love you for it.
Soft Goat Cashmere Review – Affordable Luxury
What started as a compact article ended up big as usual. Not a surprise though huh?! Nonetheless, this brings us to the end of the my “Soft Goat Cashmere Review“. Three clothes I bought with my own money. Each has its own benefits and perks but all of them have excellent quality, luxury soft feeling and amazing value for the price. I feel they are on par with much more expensive items although time will tell about durability.
It is a good company with very good prices when you think about Cashmere. I am a bit skeptical about the customer service, but I sure hope my fellow countrymen will do great.
So far the signs are very encouraging and I look forward to knitwear season! In the meantime, don’t forget to Subscribe and check out The Noble Shoe since we just launched our Premium Belts! We got a lot of upcoming content.
Thank you for reading,