Friday, November 26, 2010

Affordable cashmere and silk/cotton cardis

Earlier this month I mentioned that in my Great Wardrobe Cleanout I was replacing some awful synthetic stuff (that didn't even fit nicely if the truth be known) with cashmere and silk blend cardigans from a company called Woolovers. I did promise to post a review when the goodies arrived. I'm still waiting on one which is on backorder and should be here next week, but can happily say that the cashmere/mrerino blend and silk/cotton blend cardigans are just lovely.

When the parcel arrived - only a week to come from the UK with a very reasonable postage cost to Oz of 14 quid/$20 - my husband was home and asked me what it was.

"Cardigans," I replied happily, impatience almost making me rip the plastic postpak with my teeth.

"Of course it is. It's coming on summer." He shook his head. This is a man who owns four pairs of shoes. He doesn't understand the female clothing gene. Which is probably lucky or we'd really be fighting for wardrobe space.

These lovely cardigans are transeasonal, however. Certainly the cashmere/merino is too hot for summer, except for those nights when the cool change has come and you're sitting outside actually getting cold when the temperature suddenly drops from 35 to 22.

So... the cashmere/merino blend cardi, which is pictured at left:  I ordered this in lilac and black. Unfortunately because the site uses Flash to let you have a look at selected colours I can't show you it in the colours I chose. I wear quite a lot of purple and lilac shades, and had an awful hand me down puce-ish cardigan which did transeasonal duty for my purples. It's now gone to charity and the lovely lilac one will take its place. And as for black - a girl can't have too many black cardigans. This one replaces another cheapie.

The fabric is soft, and has a reasonable cashmere feel but not as soft as 100% (and unaffordable) cashmere: it's 30% cashmere and 70% merino, and machine washable on a gentle cycle.

The fit is gorgeous. It's a fitted cardigan so if you have a waist, it shows it off. I chose the v-neck version rather than the round neck as it does a bit more for my body shape; I have big boobs, to my despair. If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em I suppose. The v-neck at least makes me look like I have two separate boobs whereas roundneck cardigans can give one that 'monoboob' look.

The sleeves aren't TOO long, either. I hate sleeves around my wrists unless it's perishing cold. 3/4 sleeves are my friends for a lot of the year and while this isn't a 3/4 sleeve it's not a nuisance length either.

On to the silk/cotton cardigan now. I ordered this in black (again? you ask) and blueberry which is a deep purple. This fabric is much finer and lighter. It's the perfect summer cardi, and the attention to detail with the frilly edges and faux pearl buttons is a delight. Sadly it's not a v-neck but the neck is low enough that it highlights your assets :-).

Once again a superb fit. I've worn this one already to a business meeting and it accentuates my waist without pulling at the buttons and causing gaps. The sleeves in the pic look a little long, and perhaps they are, but they push back and stay back readily.

The fabric is machine washable on a gentle cycle - although I'll be putting this delicate little cardigan into a lingerie bag if I machine wash it. I tend to do my wools by hand but modern woollens are more able to be gently machine washed I've found.

Both cardigan styles come with extra buttons and on the silk/cotton one extra matching thread, which is a nice touch.

The Woolovers site claims it uses British wool but only has one line called British Wool. I suspect that despite badging itself as fine British knitwear the garments themselves are made in China. Nowhere on the garments does it state the country of manufacture but there's a little inspection tag on the inside with Chinese characters, so you can make up your own mind about that. It would explain the affordability of the cardigans. The quality, however, looks good. No loose threads, buttons sewed on tightly.

In short, I'm impressed. I've tried on several affordable/similarly priced cardigans here in chain stores, and haven't liked the fabric or the fit. To get the same blends of cashmere and silk I'd have to pay a lot more in a high street or department store. And the fit is perfect; fit is what I'm happy to pay for, and these cardigans make me feel like I look good.

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