Cashmere sweaters are often considered the ultimate sweater. Cashmere is unarguable one of the finest fibers on the earth, adding an element of luxury and decadence to any outfit. Cashmere comes from a very distinct part of a goat (underneath the chin), and is produced mostly in China, Mongolia, Iran and Afghanistan. The value of cashmere (and thus, why some cashmere sweaters are relatively affordable, while others are very expensive) is influenced by the fineness of the fibers, the length of the fiber and the vibrancy of the color.

Chinese cashmere is usually the priciest, as they harvest only pure white goats. This makes it easy for manufacturers to dye the fiber any color they choose, so Chinese fiber is in high demand. While you should always follow the washing directions on the tag of any sweater or garment, you might find that most cashmere tags will advise you to hand-wash. This is the most gentle, and will give your cashmere sweater the longevity and wearability it deserves. What is especially nice about cashmere is that it becomes softer with every wash, allowing the fibers to really bloom. To correctly hand wash your cashmere sweater...

• Fill the sink with lukewarm to cool water and a good quality, (preferably natural) detergent or soap. Soak the cashmere in the water. Rinse with water of the same temperature until all the bubbles are rinsed out.

• Do not wring or twist the garment. Press excess water from the cashmere, then lift out of sink, supporting the sweater from below.

• Lay on a flat, dry towel. Roll the towel up and press out the water. Unroll the towel, and shape the cashmere sweater with your hands into it's normal shape.

• Allow the sweater to dry overnight, or until completely dry.

• Never hang cashmere. Fold the sweater, avoiding a center crease, and keep in a cool, dry place, like a closet she.

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