Cashmere vs Cotton, Wool, and Other Fabrics
Table of contents
- Cotton vs Cashmere
- Wool vs Cashmere
- Silk vs Cashmere
- Merino Wool vs Cashmere
- Alpaca Wool vs Cashmere
In the world of garments, one of the most important aspects we always have in mind is: “what is this piece made from?”
And there are a lot of different materials, each with its advantages and disadvantages to consider. But, amongst all of these various fibers, some stand out. They are considered better, more luxurious, and more fashionable than others.
In this article, we’ll look at some of these materials and compare them to the one we love the most – cashmere. Let’s see which fiber will become the king of all fibres!
Cotton vs Cashmere
We’ll start with the only plant-based material on the list – cotton. Cotton is a much more commonplace material, but it’s still held in high regard. So how does it compare to cashmere?
- Softness: There is no contest in this area. Cashmere is so much softer than cotton. Clothes made out of cotton have the tendency to be itchy against the skin, which is a feeling high-quality cashmere never produces.
- Warmth: Both cashmere and cotton can keep you warm in colder weather and chill during hotter days. However, cotton absorbs and retains moisture much more than cashmere. When it absorbs moisture from your skin during winter, it can actually make you feel even colder.
- Durability: Cashmere fibres are by far more durable. They retain their shape for much longer and with proper care, they will last for many more years than cotton.
- Breathability: Despite cotton being a very breathable material, cashmere offers much more breathability than cotton.
- Weight: Cashmere is considerably lighter than cotton.
- Price: Cotton is much cheaper to produce as the process is mechanized. Meanwhile, cashmere needs to be harvested by hand.
Round 1 of our fibre tournament definitely goes to cashmere. It breathes better, keeping you cosier in different temperatures. It’s also lighter and softer. Cotton wins in the pricing department, especially since it weaves well with synthetic fabrics, which makes it a good material for mass manufacturing. But at the same time, we can’t really consider cotton a prestigious material.
Wool vs Cashmere
And now it’s time for a round between sheep and goats. How will the standard sheep wool fare against the quality of the cashmere goat’s undercoat? It’s time to compare wool vs cashmere.
- Softness: Cashmere material is way softer and more delicate than wool. Wool also has the tendency to feel very itchy when put directly against the skin.
- Warmth: Cashmere wool provides more warmth than standard sheep wool.
- Durability: The thicker fibres of sheep wool are more durable than cashmere.
- Breathability: Cashmere breathes exceptionally well. Even though sheep wool is the gold standard of breathable fabrics, cashmere easily takes the prize.
- Weight: Although they are both types of wool, cashmere goat wool is more lightweight than sheep wool.
- Price: Sheep wool is much more widespread, and it reflects on the price. Cashmere is definitely more expensive.
But what about lambswool vs cashmere? After all, wool harvested from adolescent sheep is much more smooth. Yes, but still not enough to win when pitched against the fluffiness of cashmere.
And again, cashmere remains victorious. Although it’s less durable than wool, when cared for properly, it can still last you a lifetime. Wool and cashmere are also often used together in fabrics. Wool increases durability, while cashmere provides a much more silky, luxurious feeling.
Speaking of silky.
Silk vs Cashmere
Silk is also a material harvested from animals, but a different kind. Silk comes from cocoons of silkworms, and is known as one of the most luxurious materials in the world. In fact, it’s so unique, the feeling silk gives has a separate adjective – silky. So which is better, silk or cashmere?
- Softness: Silk and cashmere are both incredibly soft. However, their softness comes with different feelings. Silk feels more like a gentle breeze, while cashmere is like a fluffy cloud.
- Warmth: Both silk and cashmere are great insulators, so they keep you warm and cozy during winter.
- Durability: Although a strong material, silk can be torn much easier than cashmere. It also yellows with age and its unique shine has a tendency to disappear if exposed to sunlight over the years.
- Breathability: Similarly to the warmth they provide, both silk and cashmere are very breathable, with a minimal advantage of cashmere.
- Weight: Silk is more lightweight than cashmere.
- Price: On average, silk is cheaper than cashmere, but it all depends on the quality and manufacturer.
In a way, we could declare this bout a draw, but it wouldn’t be fair. Silk and cashmere are a bit too different from each other to compare them as substitutes. Which one you choose all depends on your personal tastes.
Merino Wool vs Cashmere
Before we start comparing cashmere vs merino, let’s quickly explain what merino wool is. Just like cashmere is harvested from cashmere goats, merino wool is harvested from a specific family of sheep – the merino sheep. It is often described as the perfect replacement for cashmere. But is it? What is better, merino wool or cashmere? Let’s see.
- Softness: Cashmere is the softer material here, although merino wool is definitely softer and less itchy than that of regular sheep.
- Warmth: Cashmere is several times warmer than merino wool.
- Durability: Similarly to normal wool, merino wool is much more durable than cashmere. It’s sturdier and has a higher resistance to pilling.
- Breathability: Both materials are very breathable, but merino pulls ahead slightly. Its superior breathability is part of the reason why it’s often used in high-quality outdoor sports clothing.
- Weight: This is a draw between merino and cashmere.
- Price: Merino wool tends to be cheaper than cashmere.
In a way, we can see why merino is often compared to cashmere. But, if what you’re looking for is a fashionable, warm piece, we have to declare cashmere the winner.
Alpaca Wool vs Cashmere
And now it’s time for yet another animal wool, this time from a camel. That’s right, although they don’t look like it, alpacas belong to the same family as camels. This material is even rarer than cashmere, but is it better? Let’s discover.
- Softness: Cashmere still wins in terms of softness and material-to-skin feeling. The highest quality cashmere has a superior feel to it.
- Warmth: Both materials offer fantastic warmth and insulation, but the alpaca wool pulls slightly ahead in this department.
- Durability: Alpaca wool fibres are much longer which makes them more durable and resistant to pilling. High-quality cashmere and high-quality alpaca wool have similar durability, but even low-quality alpaca is easily tougher than low-quality cashmere
- Breathability: Alpaca wool has a structure that has more microscopic air pockets, providing slightly higher breathability.
- Weight: Again it comes down to quality, but on average, cashmere is a tad bit lighter than alpaca wool.
- Price: Although it’s a much rarer material, alpaca wool tends to be cheaper than the highest-quality cashmere.
The subject of alpaca wool vs cashmere is very divisive. It’s easy to understand the point of view of the admirers of both of these materials. As such, we declare this bout a draw.
To conclude, let’s answer a very common question: “Why is cashmere the best?”
- It offers unparalleled softness, and gives the cosiest, fluffiest feeling, while not irritating the skin.
- It keeps you warm even during winter, while not overheating you in summer.
- Its durability may not be the best there is, but with proper care, it can still last you a lifetime.
- Cashmere breathability is among the highest in clothing materials.
- It’s extremely lightweight.
All of these qualities are reflected in the price of cashmere, but if you’re looking for the highest quality of clothing, you can never go wrong with cashmere. But how do you identify high-quality cashmere? Read our article on testing cashmere next.