Simple and Classic or Modern and Stylish? The Caroline Crew Neck

We don’t believe in “fast fashion” cashmere sweaters that are made with inferior raw materials, cheap construction methods, and underpaid workers.

Our sweaters are made with the best yarns in the world. They are knit and hand finished in Scotland with meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

If you’re building a wardrobe with “fewer, better things,” you’ll need a few versatile, simple basics for a foundation; and the crew neck cashmere sweater is a great place to start.

Our crew neck pullover is a foundation wardrobe piece that can go from weekend casual to office polished to evening dressy. It’s a must have in building a wardrobe with “fewer, better things”.

Now, I sometimes hear that this simple sweater is just too boring; that it’s too old-fashioned and dated to wear today.

Well the crew neck is in fact a classic.

It’s a piece that Audrey Hepburn was often photographed in – but it’s also a look for today: one of Angelina Jolie’s favorite “uniform pieces” is a beige round neck sweater.

audrey-crew-neck angelina-crew-neck

If you are going to master the art of dressing with fewer, better things, you need to start with the basics and use your creativity and imagination.

A simple piece like the crew neck pullover can go from totally casual to red carpet ready. It all depends on the pants or skirt you pair it with and the accessories you add.

Let me walk you through 5 modern looks, with some of the most fashionable women around,  to show you how it works.

For starters, the crew neck pullover is the winter equivalent of your best white tee. You can pair it with jeans for a look that is totally casual, but still stylish.

Below you will find Jessica Alba looking effortlessly pulled together. She wears her crew neck sweater with gray jeans and rain boots. The final style touches are the scarf and cross body purse.

jessica-alba-crew-neck

Angelina Jolie takes her uniform outfit to all black for travel.

The black cashmere sweater and black stretch pants are so simple and stylish, yet comfortable and practical. She adds a few finishing touches – sunglasses and bag – and the look is anything but ordinary.

anglelina-round-neck-travel

If you want  a more polished, dressy look, try your crew neck with a pencil skirt.

Below, Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely pairs her crew neck with a statement asymmetrical print and black heels. It’s a deceptively simple outfit that just about anyone can put together.

rosie-huntington-whiteley-long-sleeve-sweater-with-an-abstract-print-pencil-skirt

Glamour Magazine gives its take on styling the round neck in an article titled What to Wear to Work Tomorrow: A Floral-Print Dress, a Crew Neck Sweater, and Pointy-Toe Pumps.

They say,

Layer a thin crewneck sweater over a short-sleeve floral-print dress to create a look that’s perfect for the temperature both inside and outside the office. Finish with pointy-toe pumps and a sleek structured shoulder bag.

The concept is the same – pair a basic crew neck sweater with a great dress. Add a couple of simple accessories and your look is totally polished.

floral-dress-round-neck

If you want to add a bit of edge to your classic outfits, you can follow Black Lively’s lead.

She pairs her black cashmere round neck with a leather skirt and strappy sandals for a trendy downtown look. Sure, it’s monochrome…but it’s a head-turning look.

blacke-lively-round-neck

And finally, the basic cashmere crew neck is so versatile you can even take it to the red carpet. Below Natalie Portman looks stunning when she pairs her elegant cashmere sweater with a long, metallic gown.

natalie-portman-round-neck-long-skirt

We think our Caroline Cashmere Crew Neck is the perfect starting place for any wardrobe.

The fit of the Caroline is perfectly versatile – snug enough to wear comfortably under a blazer, but not too tight to wear on its own.

Of course, the crew neck design provides cozy warmth, but the 2-ply weight makes it a great layering piece. We knit our Caroline Crew Neck at 21 gauge – much tighter than crew necks of ordinary quality.

This gives our sweaters a silky, smooth drape and helps ensure that they won’t lose their shape over time.

Sure, it’s simple. Sure it’s a classic. But as you’ve seen, the most stylish women in the world are using it as a foundation piece for their most modern, eye-catching looks.

If you are looking for a size and color of our Caroline Crew Neck that’s already sold out, please contact me by phone (888-343-6771) or email (info@isleofskyecashmere.com).

More are on the way from Scotland, and I will hold one for you.

Rita Jones
Founder and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Classic Style and Lasting Quality

In the Fall of 2010, when my store was open, I wrote down my ideas about clothing and style in a document titled “Style Manifesto”. You can read the full text here, but the introductory paragraph describes the basic concept around which I created my store:

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our selection of clothes is based on a personal aesthetic that values classic style and quality over fashion and fad.

Our style sense starts with the idea that a woman’s wardrobe should be built on a foundation of high quality classic pieces. These foundation pieces should be your investment pieces – of lasting quality and the best you can afford.

Rita in Paris
Rita in Paris near Place Vendome – Repetto Store

Although my store has closed and I am focusing on my online cashmere sweater business, my ideas about this business have not changed.

My goal is to help you look and feel your best in our sweaters. I specialize in selling my own brand of cashmere sweaters knit in Scotland with only the very best yarn. Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters are designed and made to look better, feel better, and last longer than any other sweaters you own. They are knit and hand-finished by the mills that make cashmere sweaters for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes. The cashmere sweaters from our mills stand apart in the runway shows in Paris and Milan because their attention to the details of style, fit, finish, and overall quality make them the best in the world.

I believe in a classic, sophisticated style of dressing that emphasizes beautiful fabrics, impeccable fit, and a foundation of basic colors. Our selection of cashmere sweater styles and colors reflects this point of view.

If you have any questions about Isle of Skye cashmere sweaters, please call our toll free line at 888-343-6771. Most of the time, this is forwarded directly to my cell phone so that I can personally answer your questions and help you in any way. If I am unable to take your call, just leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Rita Jones

 

The High Costs of Cheap Cashmere Sweaters

I started Isle of Skye Cashmere with a simple concept in mind: everyone ought to be able to buy the highest quality cashmere at a reasonable price.

The best cashmere sweaters –almost as a rule– are knit and hand-finished in Scotland, and the same Scottish mills that knit sweaters for Chanel and Hermes knit sweaters for Isle of Skye Cashmere.

This means that the cashmere sweaters at Isle of Skye Cashmere are as well made as any cashmere sweater you’ll find at Chanel.Rita Jones - Isle of Skye Cashmere

But it also means that through direct sourcing and low overheads, I’m able to offer cashmere sweaters of the highest quality at a reasonable price.

My experience shows that you’d be hard pressed to find sweaters made in Scotland priced more attractively than mine.

That being said, there are plenty of cashmere sweaters on the market today that are far less expensive than the cashmere sweaters I offer at Isle of Skye Cashmere.

But here’s the rub:  these lower cost cashmere sweaters –without exception– are mass produced for companies where standards of construction are lackluster at best.

Indeed, companies that mass-produce cashmere sweaters cut costs by making inferior products – cashmere sweaters that sag at the elbows, cashmere sweaters that pill, and cashmere sweaters that are knit at a low gauge.

More alarmingly, the workers that mass-produce these cashmere sweaters often earn only a few dollars per hour.

Conversely, knitters in Scotland –the knitters that knit for Isle of Skye Cashmere– earn a livable wage; they produce sustainable knitwear; and they adhere to environmental and labor regulations that are similar, if not more stringent, than those enforced in the United States.

In short, companies that mass-produce cashmere sweaters make compromises to achieve a lower cost that Isle of Skye Cashmere is not willing to make. The result of these compromises is a compromised, inferior product – a ‘mass-produced’ cashmere sweater in the worst sense of the word.

For mass-produced sweaters, the first area of compromise is often raw materials – the cashmere fibers.

In sourcing cashmere fibers, it’s true that you pay for what you get.

The best, most expensive fibers are thinner, softer and longer. They are therefore less likely to pill. They are also whiter (color purity when dying).

When mass-producers want to save money, they start with inferior fibers. These fibers are thicker, coarser, shorter, and therefore more likely to pill. They are also off-white (muddy dyed color).

Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, inferior cashmere fibers are extremely difficult to detect. Often, it’s only after wearing and cleaning the cashmere that you’ll notice the difference.

The low-quality fiber shows! The sweater looks and feels worn. It has lots of pilling. It’s not as soft as you would like it to be. Nor is it colorful and bright.

The second compromise mass-producers make: quality of construction – and here it’s easy to cut corners.

Scottish mills –the mills that knit sweaters for Chanel, Hermes, and Isle of Skye Cashmere– use a technique called “fully fashioning” when finishing sweaters.

During this process, individual pieces are linked together with cashmere yarn. And this is done by hand.

This process provides our cashmere sweaters a flexible, comfortable fit. It ensures that our sweaters will retain their shape.

Conversely, mass-producers often do anything but “fully fashion” their sweaters.

Mass-producers often sew sweaters together with machine and thread. This creates a less tailored, awkward fit. (Note: Another small area of compromise is the quality of buttons: Isle of Skye Cashmere uses mother of pearl buttons, whereas mass-producers often use plastic buttons, resulting in an inferior product.)

The third compromise mass-producers make: less cashmere in each cashmere sweater.

Mass producers do this by knitting at a lower gauge (density of knitting stitches).

The Scottish mills that knit for Chanel, Hermes, and Isle of Skye Cashmere knit 2-ply sweaters at 21-gauge. This gives each cashmere sweater a silky, soft drape.

Conversely, you’ll find inferior sweaters are often knit at 15-gauge. This saves money because the lower the gauge, the less cashmere.

Low gauge results in cashmere sweaters that are loose and gauzy. These cashmere sweaters lose shape over time. They bag at the shoulders and elbow.

The fourth compromise mass-producers always make: they knit cashmere sweaters in developing countries, often paying workers only a couple of dollars on the hour.

Isle of Skye Cashmere sources cashmere sweaters from Scotland – primarily from a family-owned company that pays skilled workers a living wage. Further, Scotland has environmental regulations similar, if not more stringent, to those in the US. The steps required to keep the water and air clean are costly.

Many developing countries fail to impose environmental regulations on mass-producers. Accordingly, there are few costs incurred to mitigate the impact of production processes on the environment.

It is an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless.

So the next time you’re looking to buy a cashmere sweater, I hope you’ll keep the information above in mind.

Look at the label. Does it say “Made in China” or “Made in Scotland”?

I have no problem trying to save money on cashmere sweaters; but I do want to provide a clear and transparent alternative to consumers who value craftsmanship and lasting quality. I want to provide cashmere sweaters to consumers who are concerned about the impact of production on workers and the environment. (I have grandchildren!)

These are the values Isle of Skye Cashmere is all about.

Rita Jones
Founder and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

 

Isle of Skye Cashmere Summertime Style

Rita – Lunch at Galley Beach Restaurant – Nantucket Cashmere Cardigan by Isle of Skye Cashmere
Rita – Lunch at Galley Beach Restaurant – Nantucket
Cashmere Cardigan by Isle of Skye Cashmere

Summertime…

And cashmere cardigans make living easy. For those cool nights on the Cape, nothing quite compares. Likewise with cashmere shawls: they’ll keep you comfortable, chic. Warm but never too warm, our sweaters and shawls –made with pure Scottish Cashmere– are perfect for those balmy island nights, for those late evening walks down shore. So say you’re fogged in on the Grey Lady –‘Sconset, Nantucket– or maybe you’ve gone out west –the Bay Area– to visit an ambitious, adventurous son (this August mine is married a year!): a sweater or shawl ensures you won’t miss out on Surfside clambakes, on late afternoon rambles through Golden Gate Park. Lightweight, whisper soft: Isle of Skye Cashmere is clothing to wear with any kind of weather – no matter the coast. It makes comfort and style easy; it gives shelter from the fog. Summertime with family and friends! If only things were always this good!

Store Sale for 2 Days only : Sept 30 – Oct 1

Dear Friends:Rita

As many of you know, I have closed the Isle of Skye Retail Store while I continue my rehabilitation for my broken femur. My surgeons have told me it will take a full year to rehab, and I take them at their word.

During this time, I continue to have the Isle of Skye Cashmere website open.

I know my Cincinnati customers prefer to come to the store, so I have decided to open for my valued customers. My store will be open for a Special Sale , Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 from 11am – 5:30pm. All Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters will be on sale at 40% off. My other merchandise will be on sale at 50% off.

This will be a great opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts!

In addition, I have invited ThRedheads and Girl with Pearl ( from
Cleveland) to join in this sale.

ThRedHeads offers “Men’s formalwear with Flair. Tux shirts with a
Twist and gorgeous cumberbund sets.” All ThRedHeads merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

Girl with Pearl offers “Luxe pearls, pendants, gemstones, lizard
purses, buckles and more.” All Girl with Pearl merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! I miss you all!

Rita Jones

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45243

Tailoring Is the Secret of a Well-Dressed Woman

tailored blazer cashmere isle of skye sweatersAlterations have the power to turn an okay garment and transform it into something that looks like it was made just for you. In this time of “fast fashion” and disposable clothing, many women don’t want to invest the money in a high-quality garment that doesn’t fit them correctly. One of the fantastic things that we do here at Isle of Skye Cashmere is offer free alterations on garments bought in the store.

I highly recommend taking the time to tailor your clothes so they fit you like a glove. Although proper fit is the primary reason for tailoring, alterations can also help to modernize your clothes or update them to line up with your evolving sense of style. One of the most common garments that need to be tailored to ensure a correct fit are blazers. Our blazers that are made with Loro Piana cashmere are beautiful – but with proper tailoring, they become extraordinary! Our seamstress, Chanta, has many years of experience working with these fantastic blazers.

Tailoring your clothes can help you cultivate a wardrobe filled with things that you love to wear! We tailor clothes bought in the store as well as clothes bought elsewhere. We’d love to help you perfect your wardrobe.

Bree
Isle of Skye Cashmere
(513) 271-2589
Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm
Sat: 10am-4pm