Consumer Reports offers tips to find top-quality cashmere

Looking for a special gift? Cashmere sweaters are heavily marketed around the
holidays. But how can you find good quality?

If you're picking up a $59.99 cashmere sweater from the bargain bin, Consumer
Reports ShopSmart says you'd better believe it's not 100 percent cashmere, even
though the label may say so.

A couple of quick checks in the store can tell you a lot. Run your hand over the sweater.
If little balls start forming, that's called pilling. That's a sign it's a cheaper sweater, and
it's probably not going to hold up. Another check—whether the sweater holds its shape.
Stretch it side to side. High-quality cashmere won't stretch out of shape.

ShopSmart found that the cheapest you can go in cashmere is about $100. That's how
much some Lands' End cashmere costs. It's a good choice with its simple design and
basic color.

With more styling and richer colors, ShopSmart says expect to pay much more, such
as a Magaschoni sweater for $320. It's a big splurge, but in the long run it can pay off.
You're going to have that sweater for years and years and years.

ShopSmart says a cashmere sweater needs some TLC. Always follow the care
instructions and be sure to clean your sweater before storing it. That's because dirt
attracts moths. And be sure to store it flat, not on a hanger, which can stretch it out.

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