The intelligent consumer: Cashmerey separatists: the twin-set made in heaven
Investment buy or pure self-indulgence? The cropped, cashmere twin-set from TSE, pounds 338
Sunday 05 October 1997
In other words, there is a proper reason why cashmere is so mind-blowingly expensive. But the Mongolian goats don't entirely explain why a grey cashmere cardi by TSE (the "t" is silent) costs pounds 199 and one by Marks and Spencer weighs in at pounds 99. (To contextualise: a "designer" cashmere cardi by Clements and Ribeiro will set you back by pounds 320, so TSE aren't doing too badly). With the addition of a crew neck, the totals were pounds 338 and pounds 198 respectively.
It's a more than academic question since a little cropped twin-set, while a wardrobe staple, can be surprisingly hard to find. So, I broadened my scope a bit this week and also called in twin-sets by N Peal (total cost pounds 330) and Brora (pounds 248). All felt deliciously soft and luxurious: not surprising since all sourced their cashmere yarn from Chinese Mongolia (although not all were spun in Scotland). M&S assured me that they use only white cashmere (from a white beast) to ensure pureness of colour. They also pointed out that the vastness of their operation means they can keep prices low by buying in bulk. For their part, TSE argue that they produce a number of different styles in 25 new colours a season, on top of their eight basics - far more than M&S.
With quality so even, the choice came down to styling. I'll admit right away that we still don't have the perfect twin-set. Although neat on the shoulder, the TSE neckline is unforgivingly tight and both items are too long and too roomy to count as cropped. N Peal is certainly short enough, but fuller sleeves add unnecessary bulk. The Brora has a prettier neckline and a nice, snug fit, but a wider rib and generally more rustic quality make it unsuitable for evening wear. The M&S, finally, was never intended to be cropped. On the plus side, both M&S items have a flattering neckline.
As it happens I'm a massive fan of M&S, but even I can see that their colours for women's clothes are not good (why, when their knitwear for men comes in jewel hues?). They can do neutrals, but for anything more adventurous you'll want to go to the more expensive ranges.
So, with TSE you are paying for choice of colour, the exclusivity of a small company and a stylish label and I don't think that's worth the pounds 140 price difference. Ditto N Peal. Head to M&S if you don't mind the longer line. But for the closest approximation to that perfect twin-set at a very reasonable price, it has to be Brora.
For Brora stockists, call 0171 736 9944.
Life & Style blogs
The Last of Us Remastered: Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Ebola virus: UK health officials issue warning to doctors as experts admit the outbreak 'is not under control'
Ebola outbreak: Why has a disease that's only ever killed 2,000 people captivated the darkest side of our imagination?
Government backs massive new £300m gene sequencing project
National Orgasm Day: Don't get caught up on climaxing
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...
£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...