Age-Wise Style: Cashmere, Beyond the Basics
InStyle’s special projects editor Cindy Weber Cleary has been a fashion editor for the past 20-plus years. Needless to say, she’s picked up some tricks along the way. Catch her column here each week for how-to tips and style secrets on her favorite, timeless styles.
At this time of year, something I am grateful for in addition to a roof over my head, fleece-lined snow boots, and a working fireplace is cashmere.
I have cashmere turtlenecks, cardigans, crewnecks, scarves, socks, gloves, a robe … you name it. Yes, I’m spoiled. But nothing keeps you warmer or feels more delicious against your skin than cashmere. Everyone needs a little cozy comfort to get through the dark days of winter.
Among the most exquisite cashmere pieces I have ever seen are those designed by my friend Denis Colomb, whose Instagram (@deniscolomblifestyle) post is pictured above. I have long forgotten who introduced me to Denis and his wife Erica, but I have made it a point to visit them every season in Paris where they present his collection. His signature pieces are ultra-luxurious shawls, blankets, and scarves, but his ready-to-wear is truly out of this world. Many items have a slightly exotic feel, but they are also timeless investments of the highest quality.
The Denis Colomb cream and gray style I found on farfetch.com (pictured above, right) is simply described as a “striped sweater” but it’s more akin to a djellaba—do you know that word? It’s a long, loose garment, usually with a hood, worn in North Africa and the Middle East. I would definitely pack it for air travel as it could either be worn as outerwear or double as a blanket. So chic, but very, very pricey.
A slightly more affordable version is Madeline Thompson’s navy and off-white striped cashmere wrap available on net-a-porter.com (pictured above, left). “Wrap” doesn’t really do it justice as it’s mid-calf length and much more versatile than that word implies. I also found a chic cashmere poncho in charcoal gray on eileenfisher.com, marked down from $598 to $314 (pictured above, center).
Another addition I would like to make to my own wardrobe is a slouchy cashmere tunic, which is longer in the back, providing some much-needed coverage. I found the ultimate one on theline.com: Proenza Schouler’s dreamy asymmetric drop-shoulder crewneck in a pale lavender (pictured above, bottom center). A similar style from Rag & Bone is available in dove grey on eatontradingcompany.com (pictured above, top center).
J. Crew makes fantastic cashmere sweatpants (pictured above, left) in six colors which will give your errand-running an instant upgrade.
And, last, I want to give a shout out to a cropped cardigan with a 3/4 sleeve that I found on rebeccataylor.com called the “easy open cardigan” (pictured above, right) which is available in black and two shades of gray. This is the small, unassuming item that could become one of your “best fashion friends” as it’s the perfect thing to throw on over a sleeveless dress or tank top on a cool evening (or, if you don’t want to show your upper arms—don’t worry, I won’t tell).