Everyone loves and covets cashmere, but we tend to think of it in terms of classic styling. While every wardrobe needs a good, basic cardigan or jumper in that softest of textiles, it doesn't have to be relegated to being just that 'old standby' piece you'd never part with but don't often wear. There are endless ways to make your old cashmere exciting again, and incorporate new cashmere into your daily seasonal outfits while keeping on trend, thus creating your own collection of special future classics.
The crew neck cashmere jumper is a luxe basic that never goes out of style, and it will always look smart worn over a crisp oxford shirt in classic white or contrasting shades for a pop of colour. Spring 2013 is all about the collar and we're going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to shirt options or embellished stand-alone collars we simply tie or snap around our necks (which means we get the cashmere right against our skin!). If your jumper isn't a shade that works today, or the shape isn't particularly flattering to your figure (we've all gone awry with the boxy styles at one time or another), update it by choosing can't-go-wrong black, navy, or baby blue, or hot pink or coral, in a fitted shape. (I have cashmere in a bright coral and baby yellow from about 10 years ago and both still look fresh, current and lovely! But a beige one feels a bit anemic for my liking these days.) For more styling ideas, Pure Collection offers some fashion forward ways to incorporate all kinds of cashmere pieces into your outfit through their Lookbook. And as for those old boxy jumpers that are so soft and cuddly yet do nothing for your shape, you can give them a new life with a little bit of DIY creativity. Ask your friends if they've got any cashmere they're not wearing, and if at least one of you is handy with a sewing machine, you can cut them all up and make new patchwork jumpers and cardies that you'll be excited to wear. Make the most of them by adding vintage decorative buttons and bits of trim to make them truly unique. (And in the end you've each got a timeless keepsake from each other!)
Luxe layering is a great way to wear your cashmere, especially in autumn in lieu of a coat or in harsh winter for extra warmth without sacrficing style, and it's another look that is always current if you wear the right pieces in the right way. You can go eclectic by mixing colours and prints, but be sure to choose carefully and include a least one solid to avoid looking like a random pile of fabric! You can't go wrong with black and shades of grey which may seem safe, but it has that reputation because it's the easiest way to look polished and pulled together. When putting together the layered look, use lighter weight layers underneath and add the heavier ones last so you appear proportioned, and if you get hot you're able to shed one or two pieces and cool down. If you're a hat person (if you're shaking your head 'no', I'll bet you just haven't given them a chance or are yet to find the right one for you), a smart fedora can take your outfit from comfy boho straight to fashionista if you've got the confidence to go for it. Take a good look in a full-length mirror, then choose your footwear. Don't immediately go for your favourite shoes or boots, but try on different styles to see what balances your outfit (something lighter may keep you from looking to wrapped up and heavy) and is appropriate for the weather and the occasion. (I'll never sacrifice comfort over style, especially if it means I'll avoid freezing or becoming crippled an hour into my day. But there are ways to do this, we do have options that aren't torturous!)
Cashmere can also be incorporated into your look as accents, such as sleeves contrasting a silk bodice, or a cashmere felted flower brooch, for example. And of course there's the perenial classic, the pashmina. There are endless clever ways to style a scarf and a simple tutorial online or from someone in the know can instantly make an old but good piece exciting and new again. There's nothing lovelier than having cashmere against your skin, and people do respond well to someone who looks cozy yet well styled, don't they? I know I do. Have fun with your cashmere!