Cashmere Confusion...Please Clarfiy


Hermes Only
Jan 18, 2006
I'm no cashmere expert or collector, however my ultra sensitive dermatitis prone skin can only handle cashmere (w/ tee underneath) or cotton. So I have quite a few J.Crew cashmere sweaters. I was searching for and found several posts on how to care for cashmere. I see that opinions vary on if pilling should or should not occur, amount of pilling based on quality etc.

I'm confused on what cashmere should appear like after normal use. Let me clarify. To me a "pill" is a ball that is hanging on to the sweater. However, should the sweater be "fuzzy" looking - no balls just fuzz? When I comb or shave the sweater it tends to look the same, fuzzy yet smooth with no pill (balls). I hope this makes sense. I hope someone can clarify.

My J. Crew sweaters tend to pill exclusively in the under arm area. However, my Ralph Lauren Black Label pilled everywhere. This just adds more confusion to the quality debate. I look at the J.Crew cashmere as time frame pieces, meaning they will only last a certain time frame and not forever.

Here are some pics of a 2 year old cashmere sweater worn regularly. I know it's hard to see the "fuzzy-ness" but there are no pills.


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Sophie ^o^
Feb 13, 2007
Cashmere is confusing to me too, so I like to know too. The thing I learned about cashmere, from this and other boards, is that don't go for the lesser quality ones. Someone say $250 at retail usually mean better quality. My high quality ones (Chanel, Tse, Burberry) don't pill much and if they do, I can gently use my hand to take the pills out. On the other hand, the ones I buy at Macys pill under the arms and places that get rub a lot. My Burberry scarf and majority of my sweaters got fuzzy after handwashing, probably because I wring them. Everyone tells me not to wring so I'm not going to wring from now on.
Aug 29, 2008
It all depends on the quality of the cashmere. It is normal for cashmere to get fuzzy, possibly very fuzzy, and it is normal for it to pill in areas where there is a lot of rubbing (like the armpit area, or for me I sometimes wear a vest over a longer sweater and the sweater will pill at the waistband of the vest). But the better the cashmere, the less it should pill. I think you just have to be willing to do some maintenance in any case.