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The use of wool for clothes manufacturing goes back a long way. From sweaters to gloves, coats, suits, trousers and socks: you name it, you can buy it made of wool! With winter upon us, you may wonder what items you should equip yourself with, and what textiles are most helpful to avoid cold evenings.
Here’s why you should be looking at wool…
One reason why wool’s an ideal winter fabric is that it has several heat holding attributes. After all, there’s a reason why animals grow it in the first place. Wool has a natural layer of keratin, a protein all animal hair contains which helps maintain body temperature.
On top of that, wool hair fibres act as an insulator to trap the air inside the cloth, which helps stabilise your body temperature. Since air conducts heat, this means the warmth you might generate through exercise or general movement also gets trapped by wool, which keeps you even warmer.
In addition, wool is a great fabric to wear to keep warm in the winter because of its water resistance. Popular fabrics like cotton tend to soak up liquids quickly as their air pockets are more sensitive to water absorption. Hence, a cotton top can literally fill up under heavy rain.
By contrast, wool can usually soak up around 20% of its weight in water before leaking, and does a great job to keep you dry. This is because wool scales are very small, and push off liquids when they rub against each other. Interestingly, this phenomenon keeps dirt away as well, which means wool is self cleaning!
For those reasons, some natural wools which preserve the fatty lanolin oil from the animal as stay in good shape can be almost entirely waterproof. This is why they’ve traditionally been very popular among fishermen and sailors.
Whilst wool’s natural properties are great to keep water out, its capacity to do so reduces over time, and it needs to be looked after with care.
There are many ways to reduce the insulating properties of wool, such as stretching it out of shape. Regular washes, particularly if you don’t use the wool cycle on your washing machine, can also have an impact.
Renew your wool collection by checking out our latest styles and designs.