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.
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