The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Sweater Weather

d6a8a764356b740786b82a23063f34b0

Until recently, the material of my sweaters didn’t matter to me. As long as they felt good on my skin, looked trendy in pictures, and at the end of the day, I (Blair) could throw them in the dry cleaning bag – I was good to go. Now that I am living on my own and I don’t have the luxury of putting all my dry cleaning on my dad’s dime, I’ve become more aware of the fabrics things are made of before I swipe my card. To get the inside scoop on on the must-dos when it comes to maintaining the perfect sweater, I reached out to a sweater expert, Alec from James Perse.  He had plenty to say on the topic!

There’s no doubt that cashmere is the cream of the crop when it comes to knitwear. After all, what’s better than the fresh and fancy feel of cashmere plus a pumpkin spice latte to welcome the fall season?! Alec and I were on the same page when it came to the perfection of cashmere. “Cashmere is the best, there’s nothing else like it. Especially for the holiday season that’s coming up, this material is incomparable.” One of the great things about cashmere is that it doesn’t only apply to sweaters. It’s so good you can have it on all parts of the body! He goes on, “Cashmere sweatpants? I would love to live in them.” But let’s not forget about all the other yummy materials out there. According to Alec, his sweater material hierarchy goes something like this… “Cashmere at the top, then wool, then cotton.” With that being said, you are definitely paying for the quality because cashmere is not cheap – but it’s worth it. My grandmother always taught me that every woman needs a good cashmere sweater. It may be an investment, but it will never be a regret.

An investment is right. Not only are you spending more than you would like to say on a sweater, you are also paying for the maintenance. You can not simply throw your cashmere sweater in the wash and call it a day. Alec advises us that all cashmere sweaters should be taken to the dry cleaners. “Cashmere is dry clean only because they run the risk of peeling when machine washed. Other sweaters like cotton or twill, I suggest hand washing them, but never washing them in the machine or dryer. Machines are too rough on the material. As for coats and jackets, dry clean only! The inner lining might not mesh well with washer and it is not worth ruining, especially when it costs $400!” But when it comes to cotton, hand wash is still encouraged – but if you prefer to machine wash the piece, washing a light load in cold water and tumbling in dry is key – just remember no heat is advised!

I know this is a nightmare of mine… but WHAT if my precious sweater that I invested in gets a snag or hole? While Alec works for James Perse, he could only speak on behalf of their company’s return policy. If your sweater is James Perse, your best bet is making a James Perse store your first stop. It could be a manufacturing problem – but if it is absolutely your own fault (we have all felt the piercing pain of having your sweater snag), then there are a few options. “If we cause the hole ourselves, hopefully it’s on the seam! That way you can turn the sweater inside out and use a needle and thread to lightly sew it back up. If the hole is not near the seam, this is a little more difficult. You wouldn’t be able to fill that back up, so taking it to a trusted expert is the best option.”

Anywhere in particular you should take your dry clean only or troubled items to? There’s no secret you’ve been missing here. Unfortunately, there isn’t one dry cleaning place in Los Angleles (or your city!) that works miracles. The best way to fix or clean an item is to take it to a company you are comfortable with and trust. Definitely research this! Your prized items are special and we want them to be taken care of… so extensively reading reviews on Yelp or asking your fashionista friends in your city is the best way to go!

I am very thankful for “sweater weather.” As cliche as this phrase has become, I grew up loving everything about autumn. There is something that is so “homey” about the season and everything included with fall. Throwing on a comfy sweater might be one of my top three favorite feelings! What should you do with those lovely sweaters when it is just too warm to wear them? In the off season, sweaters should live in garment bags. Alec advised us to never hang cashmere sweaters for an extensive amount of time, but to fold them and place them in a garment bag since they are so delicate and will stretch out if that are hung for too long. “There are so many sweater material options and because James Perse is located in Southern California, we have materials that are very easy to breathe in. They are easy to wear year round… except those 103 degree summer days!”

Dear sweater season, can you stay all year long?

{image via}

  1. gorgeous!
    kw ladies in navy

  2. I hand wash my cashmere or wash it in a mesh bag in the washing machine. I’ve never had any trouble with it, and actually, my cashmere stays in shape better after washing than most of my merino wool (which tends to shrink).

    • Jen Pinkston

      10/24/2013

      That is so good to know about hand washing cashmere. I have always been so hesitant to do anything except dry clean, but I will have to give that a try. Thanks for the tip!

      Wool as a fiber has a cross link structure which collapses when exposed to water. Sadly it will always shrink in the washing machine!

  3. Not to be rude but please don’t call any clothing “investment” pieces in the future.

    It pains me when I read that, at any time.

    Unless your item spits out $20 bills each day, it is not an investment. It’s just a good purchase for the cost-per-wear, and for the quality.

    That said, you can find great cashmere for cheap if you buy it secondhand. Most of my cashmere sweaters are secondhand at $30 – $40 a piece, you just need to comb the racks until you find something.

    I definitely pay a lot of money for things like good coats and sweaters, they’re just worth it. A coat especially, is the #1 thing people will see in Canada year-round…

    • Jen Pinkston

      10/24/2013

      An investment means that you get added value out of something, not necessarily just in monetary form. For me, the investment in a cashmere sweater means I get an article of clothing that will look very luxe, stand the test of time, and feel amazing against my skin. Those are all things I personally value in a garment so it’s worth the investment, but values vary between different people for sure.

      I envy you for your ability to wear coats year round! In LA, those days are few and far between 🙂

  4. Pingback In the world of Save. Spend. Splurge.