Pricing the Pashmina: Finding the Affordable Yet Fabulous Cover-Up

May 11, 2007 • Magazine

Pricing the Pashmina: Finding the Affordable Yet Fabulous Cover-Up

Pricing the Pashmina: Finding the Affordable Yet Fabulous Cover-Up

Sat, 2007-05-12 09:00

Rachel Yeomans

Over the past five years or so, the shawl has become as much a staple in a woman’s wardrobe as the cardigan. And stemming from Oprah’s big pashmina give-away back in the early millennium, it has also become the luxury item to own — meaning you better be prepared to shell out quite a few dollar bills for it.

Luckily as many heavily-marketed items go, the price range has widened over the years. You can find pashmina scarves for as low as $35, or wraps for as expensive as $500. The difference in the cost depends on the size of the item and on the mixture of textiles.

Pashmina shawls (36″ x 80″), wraps (28″ x 80″), and scarves (12″ x 60″) are constructed from “pashmâ€?, a type of cashmere wool thinner than pure cashmere wool, that is found on the underbelly of the Himalayan Capra-Hircus goat. The commercially distributed pashminas are most often blended with silk. You will mostly find cashmere/silk blends of 80/20, 70/30 or even 50/50. The more pashmina in the item, the more open the weave and gauzy the feel. The 70/30 blend is the most popular because it features a tighter weave while maintaining the ‘softer than cashmere’ feel.

Granted, to own a pashmina, or any type of cashmere shawl for that matter, you will still have to pay more than standard for the quality of purchase. Luckily due to the cover-up’s popularity, you can find many styles and weaves on the designer sale websites like Bluefly or ShopBop. You also have the option to wait for sales at department stores and boutiques, or to choose a style and weave that’s more affable towards your checkbook. One example is the brand Kashmere, which sells for the average retail price in the mid-$100 range. The most affordable option is to find the store-brand pashmina wraps in department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s, Saks, Barney’s and Neiman Marcus. These items can sell for sometimes less than $100 on sale. And if you are really penny-pinching, go for the scarf. The less material, the lower the price-point.

No matter how you work the system, you too can opt for the luxury of the wrap over the casualness of the cardigan — and hopefully with a few dollar bills left over in your pocketbook.

The Finds

1. Bloomingdale’s Pashmina Sale: $55.30 – $59.99

2. Loro Piana Cashmere-Blend Scarf Retail: $495, Bluefly: $396

3. Kashmere Ivory Cashmere-Blend Shawl Retail: $120, Bluefly: $69

4. Etro Cashmere Silk Wrap Retail: $395, Bluefly: $316

5. Bajra 100% Cashmere Wrap $398

6. Nordstrom Pashmina Scarf $44

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