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A stylist shares tips on how to care for a cashmere sweater — plus 17 options to shop

Because nothing says cozy like cashmere.
Portrait of happy young woman enjoying sunlight
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/ Source: TODAY

Forget the itchy and uncomfortable sweaters of your childhood — cashmere is the game changer adults need. In fact, my transitional fall wardrobe would probably consist entirely of cashmere if it weren't for one thing: the triple-digit price tag.

Fortunately, if you know where to look, it's easy to find this favorite fiber for a great price. Not only is cashmere a great option to keep you cozy but also a reliable material for sensitive skin. And if you need a last-minute gift, cashmere is a great timeless piece to surprise anyone.

Shop TODAY talked to an expert stylist for tips on how to care for this soft textile and ways to expand its longevity.

What is the best grade of cashmere?

Usually, the best way to tell the quality of cashmere is by touch. According to stylist expert Amanda Sanders, "cashmere comes in grades A, B and C — A being the best and C being the worst. The grades measure the quality of the softness and micron width per cashmere hair."

"Grade A is the finest. Grade B is intermediate, around 18/19 microns per hair. Grade C measures around 30 microns per hair. Ultimately, the way to tell is by the softness of the touch," she added.

How long does cashmere last?

It all depends on the quality of the cashmere and how well you store it. Sanders recommended storing your cashmere items in a storage bag made of natural materials, such as cotton or linen.

"From my clients' experience, if cashmere is cleaned and stored properly, it can last four to five years," she said.

How to care for cashmere sweaters

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a cashmere sweater is clean it in a washing machine. "Even the finest cashmere will pill or shed its fiber over time. Pilling occurs where there is friction with the cashmere, such as the arm or the shoulder where you might carry a handbag. Cashmere should only be hand washed cold or dry clean," said Sanders.

Though cashmere is more delicate than other fibers, you can extend the wear of your garment by using a gentle baby shampoo.

"After hand washing your cashmere piece, make sure to lay the garment flat so that the fibers do not stretch," added Sanders. In addition, you can also freshen up the fabric after use in a plastic bag in your freezer.

Cashmere sweaters for women under $100

J.Crew Factory Cotton-Cashmere Raglan Crew Neck Sweater

Layer your undergarments with this cashmere-blend sweater which can be considered a low-risk, high-reward investment. It comes in five different colors, including neutrals like dark blue and beige to more playful and rich tones like pink and turquoise.

Naadam The Essential Cashmere Sweater

Naadam prides itself on sustainable cashmere. According to their site, the company pays Mongolian goat farmers 50 percent more than the industry standard and even invests in vaccination programs for their flocks. Naadam's bestselling $75 sweater, which is unisex and available in crew neck and V-neck, comes in 20+ different colors.

M Magaschoni Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater

A good turtleneck is essential to every cozy, layered look! This particular one comes in five colors including beige, burgundy and black, making it easy to pair with your existing wardrobe. Plus, it is made with 100 percent cashmere so you are sure to keep cozy.

Lands' End Women's Cashmere Cardigan Sweater

This cashmere cardigan is perfect to layer with just about anything in your fall wardrobe. The piece offers a waist-hugging construction that lends feminity to your look. Also, it is made with grade A fiber to ensure the softest feel during wear.

The Cashmere Square Turtleneck

Available in colors like key lime and camel, this sweater is perfect for your cold weather wardrobe. With a slightly oversized fit and super soft fabric, it's perfect for tucking into your jeans and heading out the door.

L.L. Bean Cotton/Cashmere Sweater

Cover your wardrobe basics with this cashmere blend sweater. It can be paired with jeans and a cardigan for a casual look or dress pants and a blazer for the office. It comes in neutral and pastel hues to add a foundation to your prints and patterns this fall.

L.L. Bean Classic Cashmere Crew Neck

This crew neck sweater, which comes in a dozen colors including a sable heather, boasts an impressive average rating from almost 2,000 reviews. It's made of 100 percent cashmere from goats in inner Mongolia where, supposedly, the best cashmere comes from.

Oshlen V-Neck Cashmere-Wool Blend Sweater

This sweater combines the best of both worlds thanks to the cashmere-wool blend fabric. The length is made for pairing with high-rise jeans or pants, plus crisp colors like rich red and luscious green are just waiting to be worn over the holidays.

Quince Mongolian Cashmere V-Neck Sweater

This super soft V-neck sweater made out of Grade A 100 percent Mongolian cashmere is everything you need for cooler weather. It comes in 13 different colors and has a near-perfect average from nearly 2,000 Quince shoppers. One reviewer even called it "so perfect in every way."

Best luxury cashmere brands

LilySilk Grade A Basic Style Cashmere Sweater

Elevate your overall appearance with this classic cashmere sweat from LilySilk. The sweater is skin-friendly and made with grade A Mongolian cashmere. With a lightweight feel and soft construction, this will become a must-have for cooler weather.

Charter Club Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater

This upgraded basic from Charter Club is available in 11 different sizes and 14 colors, so you'll easily find a style to work into your wardrobe.

State Cashmere The Crewneck Basic Sweater

Feel relaxed but pull together in this classic sweater from State Cashmere. This sustainable piece has a more fitted construction and is made with 100 percent Inner Mongolian cashmere. The brand recommends sizing up if you expect a loose fit.

Brooks Brothers Silk-Cashmere Shawl-Collar Sweater

The combination of silk and cashmere will add a chic vibe to your ensemble. This is a great option if you need to upgrade your return-to-office wardrobe. The shawl-collar design also adds instant femininity to any look.

Henley Cashmere Blend Sweater

For a more relaxed look, opt for this cashmere sweater featuring a boxy fit and wide sleeves. The piece can be easily paired with leggings, leather pants and trousers. With a 90 percent wool construction and 10 percent cashmere, this is a safe option to keep it warm yet soft.

Uniqlo 3D Knit Cashmere Crew Neck Long-Sleeve Sweater

You can never go wrong with a classic crew neck sweater! There are eight colors to choose from including cream, beige, gray and navy. It's made with a high-quality knitwear that adds elegance to your fall essentials.

C by Bloomingdale's Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater

This Bloomingdale's-exclusive piece is truly a timeless addition to your wardrobe, keeping you cozy (and chic) all season long. It also comes in 18 colors ranging from off-white to a deep purple.

Vineyard Vines Seaspun Cashmere Pop V-Neck Sweater

When it comes to staying warm, this cashmere will add some extra heat. Thanks to the 100 percent cashmere fiber, this sweater will feel ultra soft to the skin. It comes in four different colors and features a V-neck silhouette to pair with some dainty jewelry.