No sheep died in the making of my wool sweater
I like wearing wool. I always have. Some may think it’s because I’m too cheap to buy some of the “fancier” fabrics on the market, or that I’m too “traditional” to go beyond wearing an old wool sweater. But that’s not it at all. Wool generally keeps you dry when wet, unlike a lot of other materials. It’s also darn environmental (the animal doesn’t die when the material is obtained so it’s definitely a sustainable resource). The new-age stuff is also incredibly light-weight, so there’s no need to dress up in an over-sized sweater your grandmother knitted you a dozen or so years ago for Christmas.
My favorite wool gear is a product called Woolpower. It’s made with Ullfrotte Original, a material two thirds fine Merino wool and one third synthetic fiber, giving the product ultimate strength. It’s also knit with a distinctive terry loop stitching, which gives it the best overall insulating capability. However, the layering system that this wool garment company has developed is why I started buying up their new wool products in the first place. It’s not just one bulky sweater but a series of layered clothing that can be added or removed to stop you from sweating and becoming chilled.
The best part of any of the newer wool products coming out now is that even though wool generally doesn’t smell bad due to its “self-cleaning” abilities, these newer wool products on the market now can be washed in warm water without shrinking. That’s darn incredible. I absolutely love it.
Wool underwear is also in fashion. If you’re questioning that outdoor skivvies have nothing to do with fashion, or ability to keep you cozy, think back to the union suit. That red cotton one-piece with a trap door was in vogue for years. Recently, however, what’s replacing cotton undies is wool (or a second option equally as good is polypropylene or what was once known as polyester). A common theme now is a two-layered system, having Polypropylene material for the inside layer and wool as the outside layer; the outside fabric having a greater affinity for body moisture then the inside layer, which in turn pulls the sweat away from your body and lets it evaporate. The after affect is that you won’t suffer from chills after building up a sweat and then stopping your workout. Odor still isn’t a problem with the Polypropylene being because the new fabrics being used have silver or gold compounds incorporated in the fibers which discourage bacteria from growing.
Of course, I’m not a total wool snob. Good wool clothing can also be compared to good fleece, especially when used as a second layer under a wind/waterproof jacket. Fleece technology has greatly improved since its inception. It’s softer, compresses down to a smaller size (remember those Cookie Monster jackets) and has greater insulation and weight ratio. I prefer the shag look. It’s a terrible choice for in-door carpets but for a fleece this texture has a low density but lots of room to capture air for insulation. There was a trend not long ago that pushed fleecy fabrics that shed wind and rain. They worked but your sweat had a hard time escaping and most of the time you put on a waterproof outer layer to rebel wind and rain anyway. Now more people are buying up fleeces that repel moisture from the inside, even if they lack good protection from the wind and rain. A hard-shell fleece fabric used to make a soft-shell outer garment is the key here. Of course, if money is an issue (it always is), you still could wear your grandmother’s knitted wool sweater instead and tell your friends you’re going retro.