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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Made In Scotland



In the past Scotland had the Hellfire Club which was a nefarious upper class sex and drinking den and today it has 'The Scottish Cashmere Club'   where people dedicate themselves to the promulgation of the  very finest kitten soft knitwear. 

As shop rails become  packed  with cheaper Chinese cashmere  which lasts for months rather than a lifetime and is  more likely to pill and fade, The Scottish Cashmere Club  has been formed  to guarantee that their  cashmere is the very best in the world.  Scottish mills such as  Johnston's of Elgin weave  cobweb fine knits for  Burburry, Hermes, Brora, Louise Vuitton and Mathew Williamson whilst  Hawick Cashmere toil at the loom for  Pringle, Lucien Pellat-Finet, Christopher Kane and Duchamp

        Chanel breathed new  life into The Auld Alliance  when they saved Barrie based in Hawick in the Borders from liquidation this autumn.
Bruno Pavlovsky of Chanel explained:
'Without Barrie, Chanel would not have most of its iconic knitwear range and neither would about 100 other customers. What they do is amazing, which is why we bought them. We couldn't afford to lose that."



Chanel show at Linlinthgow Palace, December 2012 - minus 3, no roof and snowing, oh the joy.





Hermes 

Brora.

So, you have no doubt heard of Skull & Bones, the elite Yale  (ahem not 'Boston Polytechnic' - thanks Gentleman Farmer!)  club where initiates have to lie naked in a coffin and reveal their darkest secret to their 'brothers'? The B&P Club now  asks you to reveal your most heinous fashion faux pas (I've got about 100, it would take all night and a bottle of Veuve to loosen my lips.)

76 comments:

  1. #1 on my shopping list for our visit to Scotland next year is some really good cashmere. After that there probably will be no budget for #2 - 14, but I'm OK with that.

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    1. One piece as a lifelong memento will be perfect.

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  2. That Hermes ad kills me. McDreamy is one of my favorites-right below Clooney on the list of dreamboats.
    Fashion Faux Pas - me??? never! Ha ha...too many to list but the worst has to be the fuchsia taffeta bridesmaid dress circa 1989 featuring all of the least flattering elements on me-boat neck, cap sleeves, enormous pouf of a skirt.

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  3. Julie, I'm living big poufy skirts although I tried on the red Tibi one I was ousting after and it looked ridiculous on me, really huge and costumey.

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  4. Maroon velvet hat with (gasp!) a flower on the side. Paired with a pair of Docs and a long floral skirt, and you've got a gateway to the most painful part of the 90's.

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  5. It's not a single faux pas, it's more a besetting sin or hopeless optimism, whichever is worse in your book: I buy sweaters that have bare-shoulder-necklines, and then can't wear them anywhere because my "girls" need all the help they can get.

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  6. I look back and cringe at my early '80s outfits, especially the white frilly shirts and knickerbockers combo. I thought I was a backing singer for Duran Duran crossed with Lady Di. It hasn't got any better over the years either! That's the worst of trying to follow fashion, there is always some defining look of the era that you look back and can't believe you ever wore!

    Love all the cashmere photos. Walked past Walker Slater in the Grassmarket last Saturday evening. It looked lovely all lit up on a cold winter night.

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  7. DB and La Rona - I had both of those outfits, I think we all looked swell back then.

    Fred - oh I just saw a slumped pic of myself - I long for a neat, elegant b cup so I know exactly what you mean.

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  8. I want the blanket that last girl is sitting on!!!

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  9. So glad the Scottish industries (well cahsmere at least) are surviving. Many Australian companies are going going and well and truely gone.

    Fashion faux pas? ...hmm let me count the ways

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  10. Most heinous? Where do I start? :D

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  11. i cannot wait for the day to visit scotland.

    i wouldn't know where to begin re fashion mistakes. how much time do you have?

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  12. Fashion faux pas? On going and not limited to the dim and dark past.

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  13. Fashion faux pas? Has to be my puff-ball skirt. It was the 80's, I was still in my teens, in New York and Madonna had just burst onto the scene and the fashion mistake was birthed ;-)
    p.s McDreamy looks delicious in that Hermés image x

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  14. Long live The Scottish Cashmere Club. I love the mission, especially since I just had two hideous encounters with Collection (ha!) cashmere.

    As for heinous fashion faux pas, I commit them daily, and perhaps multiple times.

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    1. Oh but collections amazing colours lure us all in

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  15. I feel it's appropriate to mention here that my favourite outfit as a 12 year old was a black dress with a red tartan hat and matching red tartan stockings, with tan laceup shoes. Did you ever watch that show Blossom? She was my fashionspiration. All about the hats. Funny as.

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    1. Blossom was one of my favourite shows in ye olden days.

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  16. Critter sweaters. A lesson well learned and one that need not be repeated, thank goodness!

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  17. You're so lucky to be able to get sweaters made in Scotland. On one side of the closet I have my made in China with lots of pills. The other is 2 sweaters from Brora that I adore.
    I've had a few fashion screw ups:
    Spanx- Put a pair on me and if Carrie and Saul show up from Homeland I give it up immediately
    Tube tops -what was I thinking?
    Mary Jane shoes -look horrible on me
    Heels over 3"- I can't walk in 4" and I keep repeating this mistake
    Sexy nightgowns- I tried them and it just not me

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    1. Marsha - how good is Homeland? I keep falling asleep halfway through so it takes me two nights to watch.

      A large box was waiting on my doorstep last night! Who do you think sent that? Now a beautifully wrapped present from you is nestled under my tree, thank you!

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  18. CASHMERE CACHET Thanks for the update Tabs, warms me to the tip of my Corgi socks.
    Worst teen crime, drippy Laura Ashley floral skirt, hacked up, bleach bitten denim jacket and toe-beaten Docs with odd neon laces. Worst early 20s crime, goodwill and oxfaming my nan's collection of mint Brora etc. cashmere because they were pales and pastels, or twee with beading (still kicking self while I wear one enduring cable knit). Worst recent "fright night" fancy dress crime, trying that Carolina Herrera white shirt and footlights skirt combo and getting the proportion and bottom half hue-volume all wrong. Might try again but will remember camera flash make-up and slimmer skirt.

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    1. I've been trying to think, what is my worst crime, and then GetFresh reminded me: my Laura Ashley phase. Oh no it's true. At least I was pregnant during those years, 93-95, that's my excuse.
      Before that I was a grunge girl in men's peacoat, flannel shirt, jeans, only when I wasn't in waitress uniform. I think that was actually a better fashion phase!

      Made In Scotland: after my own heart! My love for Brora is known and never disappoints me, I'm toe to neck in it as we speak. I didn't know Brora kept such good company at their mill though. Interesting. Makes me feel great even though my order this week was a pretty penny (for me at least). Bought that dress you featured up top, it's gorgeous.

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    2. Dani, did Laura Ashley do a maternity version of this jumper?
      http://www.etsy.com/listing/70576637/laura-ashley-light-blue-balloon-overall
      This sort of thing, including with long sleeves and a wide collar, was all the rage for a couple of my adolescent years. HOW I coveted them! My mother had some sense, though, and wouldn't buy or make me one. Somehow I obtained one for an event and was resplendent (so I thought) in it with Sam and Libby flats. Shudder.

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    3. Oh I had my white Lady Di ruffly neck Laura Ashley blouse too.

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    4. Glad to see that my fashion crime was perpetrated by many others. The pie crust collar was a low point I admit, but I was forced to wear it under duress... honest guv.

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    5. Wore Laura Ashley during pregnancy also. But, still not my worst fashion offense.

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    6. Mommy dearest that is hilarious! I'm not even sure if Laura Ashley had a maternity line, I just wore the regular dresses for maternity, high ruffled collars, empire waists, florals. Oh my.

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  19. I remember reading somewhere about a Scottish company making cashmere knitwear for the lies of Hermes and Chanel. Chanel has been buying many specialized ateliers in the hope of preserving their heritage. Fabulous idea. I'm sure it'll pay off in the long run.

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    1. Yes, Barrie would be dead and buried without them, three cheers for Chanel.

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  20. Anyone that has bought cheap cashmere can tell that there is a difference - it doesn't last, pills and gets holes. I'm looking at you JCrew. I'm very glad to read that the Scottish industry continues. I'm going to put a bit of Linoleum down in my house soon - it's coming from Scotland too! Hooray! Sill made where it was invented 150 years ago. Re fashion faux pas, there are many, but probably wearing a lot of my mother's clothes in my late teens early 20's wasn't a good idea. Jackets with large shoulder pads and ferragamo shoes with bows on them were quite an ageing looking for a 19 year old (then again, everyone seemed to be wearing them at the time....). xx

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  21. I am fairly certain that during my childhood and adolescence, I was a walking fashion disaster. In addition to this, my mother experienced an intense 'learning to sew' phase where I am pretty sure I wore clothes made out of curtains! Some curtains may lend themselves to becoming gorgeous clothes, but not the ones we had in our house.

    These days I think I keep it too simple to create any major faux pas (I say this with all of my fingers and toes crossed) but I keep away from trends, so hopefully that helps.

    Tabitha, you do share wisdom, as I took the bullet and bought some Lanvins - need plasters badly!

    Fifi xxxx

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  22. My biggest fashion faux pas was probably that poncho hemmed midi dress I wore in the 70's..It was made even more heinous by the coiled braids I pinned at each ear. Princess Leia, anyone? I probably looked very confused - like a Navajo milkmaid?! Just sad. Can't believe I just admitted it...

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  23. My Johnstons scarf has lasted for ages. :) I love the finest wool from Scotland, definitely worth a trip across the pond (you are worth the trip across the pond, too, dearest Tabitha).

    My fashion faux pas is from eighth grade when I wore a horrid acrylic navojo inspired knitted sweater. It was awful. That combined with my perm (80s, thank you so very much), I was a mess.

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  24. It always comes back to quality vs. quantity, no? Cheap and available just never has been a good thing. I remember my gran had very few clothes...yet as more stuff has become available to Americans, the more we've bought. Silly, really silly. All this time we should have demanded better, not more. Interesting to watch how the once great brands have given way to the "more is better" idea....and lost faithful customers in the process. Tip of the hat to the great Scots for maintaining a standard!

    As for fashion disasters....I have plenty...probably something to do with the "more is better" idea :)

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  25. Tabitha you tricky minx--you won't squeak a faux pas out of me so easily! My last two cashmere purchases are from the men's racks at Value Village at $7 each. They don't pill so I wear them at home with pajama bottoms and to work with a jcrew No. 2 Pencil Skirt. I've already gotten my money's worth so China must have been producing decent fibre at some point.

    I have a vintage satin trimmed black cashmere cardigan that is exquisite. That's my party wear with jeans and super high heels.

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  26. I want to raid a scottish cashmere mill, and then just wrap myself in piles of it. Sorry, I know that's weird. But you know what I mean.

    My biggest fashion faux pas was in 8th grade when I went through a "goth" phase. I actually had a black velvet studded dog collar. WOOF.

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    1. JCREW JD - how did I miss this gem of a comment, don't think of any of us will ever forget we've all read it, EVERYONE - J crew JD wore a dog collar with Woof on it!

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  27. In trying on my first kilt I thought it made my ass a bit too large. My lovely wife was kind enough to quietly advise that it was on backwards. I do not usually make such blunders but there you are.

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  28. Skull and Bones is at Yale.

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    1. Yes I'm a fool, my apologies.

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    2. You are not a fool and you know far more about my country than I know of yours. I was just pointing that out.

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  29. Worst fashion? Oh, how to begin. I only allow myself in public on the assumption that nobody around me could know anything at all about what went down before I reached the age of 21. On a happier note, I'm still thinking about that gorgeously lush camel--Max Mara?--coat you posted a while ago, with all the gold. (Tell me, is that greed, lust, or envy?)

    Great cashmere post; I wish we could send it to the gals at J.Crew and fix the quality of their sweaters already. I'm writing this swathed in a blanket from the Johnstons house label, and believe me, nothing can persuade me to come out from under.

    -m

    PS. With your wonderful Scottish insouciance I'm sure you couldn't care less, Tabitha, but it's Yale with the mausoleums, not Harvard. I attended both, and am protective of the latter only... In Boston we are not so crazy as these poorly-judging vampires farther south!

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    1. Magpie - no I am a bleeding idiot - thank you for putting me right!
      You attended both? How wonderful, as you might have guessed I wasn't very good at school.

      Oh I've had that Max Mara camel coat on in London this week, the camel hair is so light, yet so warm.

      Stay snuggly...

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    2. Ah you're lovely, T! Is all that sarcasm? I can't tell and I don't care. :) It's a mystery to me what you were at school (I haven't read far back enough to know!); but certainly you write like a dream. I think that if Brett Ashley blogged, this would be it to the life. How's that for iconic?

      Lightness and warmth! I didn't want to know that! I long enough for that coat. Glad you didn't pick up the other MM camel in London--this one has it beat to embarrassment.

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    3. magpie - that last line is the best blog compliment ever thank you!
      No, I was more or less class dunce, ah well...

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  30. I prefer to recall them as "creative fashion endeavors"!
    Black asymmetrical Tulle skirt over skinny blue jeans tucked into motorcycle boots.
    I thought I rocked the house...then. I'll have a glass or two of wine and come back with some more beauties.
    I do recall wearing a Floor length wool tuxedo coat that had a burgundy lining and the sides opened back like wings to button at my back waist.
    Now you have me going I think there's some real doozies there.
    BTW...I'm getting you an immersion blender for Christmas. Let me know where to post it.

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    1. Well Styled Life - you were on the cutting edge of fashion, I used to envy girls dressed like you!

      The blender - oh no, we have different electricity points whatsies here, maybe I should move then? This is the poke I've been needing!

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  31. You all seem to be a good 10 or more years younger than me but I'll throw my hat in the ring... In the 70s I had low slung (my hip blades are protruding) elephant pants that were so wide homeless people camped under them, worn with buffalo sandals and a tube top, topped off with a wide brim floppy hat, and a woven belt that looked like guitar strap webbing and of course huge hoop earings. We thought we were stylin.... And this was just one of my 'outfits', did I mention I grew up around Woodstock, NY? Now you get my screen name....

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  32. my shot silk green formal dress with gigantic shoulder pads comes to mind. the 80s were so cruel to us all.

    And don't get me started on the dullness of the 90s when no one even bovvered with accessories....

    Love cashmeer but so do my moths. Curses. x

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    1. My sister had a dress like you describe FF, but it was Electric Blue, and had a tiered ra-ra skirt, and puffed sleeves. We all thought it was the last word in sophistication.

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    2. FF: I think we should all send you our 80's pictures and you should run them, my hair was huge, oh and Heidi, I loved rar ra skirts, I could tuck all of my fat underneath and no one was any the wiser.

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    3. FF, put your woolies/cashmere in airtight bags and drop them in the freezer for a week. Kills the eggs. No more moths. Strong smells disrupt their breeding cycle, so you can use aromatic oils in your wardrobe which smell nice like geranium or lavender. Don't use those horrid moth balls, they stink to high heaven.

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  33. Um, my darling Tabitha, the Skull and Bones is a Yale University society, not a Harvard one, promise. I love the ever so slight “come hither” smile of the Barrie model, priceless. As far as fashion faux pas, growing up a child of the seventies gave me more than one opportunity…

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    1. NOOOOOOOO? Well that will teach me to talk about a country I don't live in! Thank you for politely outting me right!

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    2. Fixed and thank you, I will never write a post on the train again!

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    3. No worries and I am glad to help you out, in some small way, with your musings/writings. I guess that kind of makes me one of your research assistants, a distinct honor and pleasure, I assure you. Regardless, of all the impressive achievements you manage to accomplish via your page, composing and writing while traveling by train must surely rank way up there.

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  34. I will not linger at my Laura Ashley phase but go right to great 6 , where I once wore a brown bra under a sheer white turtleneck... Sigh...

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  35. I am a huge fan of Scottish cashmere - it is totally worth the investment. Interesting to know that the Scottish mills supply all these big fashion brands.

    I admit to a pathetic attempt at goth fashion when I was in my early 20s. I was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails and other industrial bands that all seem a bit ridiculous now.

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    1. Louise - thank you for the beautifully vintage card!

      I'm glad we all had our mad phases, if only we had pics of all of the daft outfits we used to think were the bees knees.

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  36. Faux-pas, eh ? Well, for example, choosing to wear a very light-weight skirt to go to work (in a high-school) ; you know, the one you don't feel you have on, it's so light .. So you don't notice it's actually hitched up in your knickers at the back while you're crossing the school-yard. Shouldn't hurriedly go to the loo on those short breaks between lessons ...

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  37. A grey cashmere twin set that i wore to dinner and the maitre d asked me if I was the local Queen impersonator...
    stingingly acute observation and to this day I wince when I recall that comment...
    needless to say my dinner was a blurr ruined by the comment and I got sloshed.
    Honest truth Tabs....
    I have a few more but that takes the cake.

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    1. Hostess - I really like twinsets, a few weeks ago I went out with mum and when we we took off our coats we were both wearing a twinset and pearls.

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    2. Hostess, I cannot believe a person made a comment like that. I'm with Tabitha. A server once massaged my husband's shoulders. I'm not kidding! Another told us there was a time limit on our table. We had just started dinner. We have never been back to the second place.

      Sheree

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  38. As a teenager in the eighties, I think that my fashion disasters are too many and are at this moment even thinking about them are causing palpitations. My cashmere love is Johnston's of Elgin even though recently my purchases have been throws and fabric. I love their long V neck.

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  39. My worst fashion faux-pas ever ever ever...an A-line maxi skirt in orange, brown and white pseudo paisley to school céilidh. It won't be featuring in the Kaiser's repertoire any time soon.

    Have you been to Stella's gaff in Edrom? It's fab, natch.

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  40. Wedding dresses, although not traditional ones, were all excruciatingly ugly. For my wedding to David, I didn't even try on the dress. Ran into Morgan Le Fay in NY, bought it and wore it. A hideous celadon green.

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  41. I am the daughter of a woman whose sartorial philosophy is straight out of The Official Preppy Handbook, even years later. Her philosophy during my early teen years was to let me wander relatively far from the fold as everyday clothing went, and wander I did - until, as she expected, I came right back, at fourteen or so, at which point I started dressing just like her. In all of my high school photographs, I look positively middle-aged, and it was bad. Now, in my senior year of college, I've matured into my own style, which is rather more age-appropriate, but those photographs still make me cringe.

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  42. I just went to the Brora website - I see this could be a very addicting but expensive habit!

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  43. Wow, I love cashmere. I'm a little allergic to regular wool so it is the answer for me. I am quite willing to buy one sweater a year for winter and not spend much more. I so wish Macy's would improve their sweaters. They need to be better fabric and a little longer.

    Farmers need to grow more of these goats and bring down the prices! Is there cheese involved?

    Sheree

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  44. Oh, Scottish cashmere! I have a giant gray cable-knit turtleneck that I bought for half-price in Inverary in the Spring of 2004. I gave two pairs of shoes away to my flatmates so that I could fit the sweater in my suitcase for the trip back to the US. It's what I wear when I'm really cold because it's like getting a hug from a giant bunny. I've slept in it more times than I can count and there's not a pill in sight, it honestly looks brand new.

    Overalls. It was 1995 and Rachel was wearing them on "Friends", too.

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  45. If I slip on something cashmere I don't feel inclined to commit a faux paux but however but me in a real mink and I'm wildly wrong.

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  46. Too many faux to remember, mostly involving shiny cheap pink material and hair shaved on one side and long on the other - praise be there are no photos - which inevitably led to table dancing.

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  47. I'm always happy to add to my collection of Scottish cashmere. Interesting that so many prestigious fashion houses recognize its worth.

    Completely off post, but how goes you're eggnog quest? I'm not a fan. I can't get past the way it looks and would much rather have something like St. Cecilia punch. There's a piece about punches and a recipe for eggnog in my most recent issue of Garden & Gun. Here's a link to that story http://gardenandgun.com/article/high-low-drink-and-be-merry

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  48. One must know the rules to truly commit faux pas.
    sincerely,
    a Philistine

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Marquess of Queensbury rules apply and please,
remember your manners.

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