compulsive shopping

I Can’t Stop Buying Cashmere Pants

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

I began dreaming about owning cashmere pants in 2017, after a frequent-traveler friend bragged about hers — they allowed her, she said, to step off the plane feeling polished. I wanted them desperately (glamorous pajamas! Cashmere, but pants!), but couldn’t justify the purchase: On Shopbop, they started at $400. Even Everlane’s $140 version felt too steep for fancy PJs.

A year passed, and I confessed my still-very-much-alive dream of owning a pair to a friend, who told me that they’d just noticed an on-sale pair at a store called Pas Mal in Greenpoint. She pulled them up online, and I was surprised to find they looked more or less like regular work pants: dark gray, culotte-shaped, with a seam down the front. Plus, the model wearing them was wearing boots and a sweater, not a holey T-shirt and socks. The idea that I could wear them to work pushed me over the edge: I ordered them. And when they arrived, I found they were everything I’d dreamed of: elegant, warm (but not too warm), thick enough to be worn in public. I began wearing them to work frequently, at home even more frequently, and yearning, unfortunately, for a second pair.

It didn’t help that ads for cashmere pants started following me everywhere (my own fault: if you type “cashmere pants” into Google and Gmail and Gchat enough times, you’re going to get ads for cashmere pants). Eventually I broke and bought a pair from Naadam, a start-up whose slightly unhinged branding urges you to join their “cult” of sustainably sourced and “affordable” cashmere. Despite myself, I loved those, too — so much that I bought a pair for my partner, then a pair for my friend. I’ve now purchased six pairs of cashmere pants (including some from Everlane, which I deemed slightly too scratchy and sent back). Below, my absolute favorites.

An important note: PETA recently released an exposé into the cashmere industry in China and Mongolia, the world’s top cashmere exporters (revealing cruelty to and the violent killing of cashmere goats). I reached out to Everlane about its sourcing, but haven’t heard back. Naadam and Pure Cashmere both say their process is cruelty-free; they collect their fleece by hand-combing rather than shearing (PETA asserts that no process is cruelty-free, even hand-combing). Nadaam also adds that they provide veterinary care to their goats. [We’ve updated this article to reflect PETA’s objection to hand-combing, along with shearing.]

If you have any ultra-ultrawealthy friends, you know they all seem to own mysterious but extremely-high-quality cashmere made by brands with names so generic they’re impossible to remember. Pure Collection has that owned-by-a-very-very-rich-person feel, but the prices are accessible. If you can afford it, I highly recommend buying two pairs, because then you can come home from work, remove your day-cashmere pants, and put on your night-cashmere pants, so your leg skin only has to be exposed to the elements for a few seconds.

My second pair of cashmere pants. These are too thin, too overtly sweatpant-y to wear to work. But they’re so, so comfortable, and I enjoy few things more than sleeping in them. After several months of nightly wear, they did pill a bit — but I didn’t care, because they are my home pants, only my partner and parents and very dear friends ever see them.

My favorite of the bunch. I haven’t worn these out in public yet, but feel that with a long enough shirt or sweater, I absolutely could. I’ve worn them (actually) about 300 times, and they haven’t stretched or pilled at all. Exceptional cashmere pants.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

I Can’t Stop Buying Cashmere Pants