Since the dawn of man, human beings have fashioned coats out of animal skins to stay warm in very cold climates. For ages, sheep have proven to be excellent suppliers of top quality pelts. Shearling lambskin is also known as sheepskin, but true shearling comes from a young lamb, whereas sheepskin is obtained from grown sheep. Why is this distinction important? Because sheepskin is rougher to the touch and not as soft as shearling. But shearling coats are not only incredibly soft, they are also amazingly warm, so any shearling coat is an excellent investment for those who live in extremely cold climates.
Shearling is supplied from all over the world, but the two biggest suppliers of shearling lambskin are Iceland and Spain. Once the manufacturer acquires the pelts, several important steps must be taken before the coats and jackets are actually made. First, matching pelts are selected so as to make it seem that all of the wool in one coat came from the same lamb. Then, patterns are cut by hand by a highly-skilled craftsman. Finally, the pelts are sewn together. Glove-suede leather is used for the outside of the coat. Because it is a long, meticulous process, some manufacturers may even charge over $1000 for a shearling coat.
But why buy a shearling coat? Shearling coats are strong and rugged, more so than any other material or cloth. They’re also warmer than duck or goose down. They’re lighter than fur in terms of weight. Shearling coats are not that hard to care for. It is usually not necessary to take these coats to the dry cleaners; however, most cleaners can remove visible dirt or stains. Most shearling coats are also water resistant and won’t be damaged if cared for properly. Coats that have gotten wet from rain or snow must be dried at room temperature – once they’re dry, water spots are simply brushed off. When the weather is warm, or whenever the coat is not used, it must be stored in a dry place, as mildew may pose a problem. They must be wrapped in paper or stored in a cardboard box, but never in plastic. Shearling coats are not damaged by moths or any type of insect.
Shearling coats are made in a variety of shapes and sizes from waist length to full length. Although they may be more expensive than other types of coats, shearling coats last lifetimes – the reason why most are handed down from one generation to the next.
Shearling coats are timeless favorites among women, not only because they can keep you warm in even the coldest winter days, but also because they are fashionable enough to let you do it in style. Shearling coats for women are sold for $1000 to $5000, depending on the length of the coat and the quality of the pelts used. They tend to be expensive coats. However, there are also faux shearling coats for women in the market for less than $100. Should you buy a faux shearling coat? Here’s what you must consider before making a decision.
“You get what you pay for”, says the old adage, and this is especially true for shearling coats. But what is it exactly that you pay for when you buy an expensive, but quality shearling coat? Sheepskin, of course, is obtained from sheep. But the softest shearling is taken from young lambs and not grown sheep. The latter provide the rougher pelts commonly known as sheepskin, but this may not what you have in mind when you actually want soft shearling coats. Moreover, in top quality coats the best pelts are chosen, and they are selected to match. Bear in mind that up to three pelts may be needed for a full length coat. The pelts must be hand cut by an expert craftsman, and then sewn together to fashion the coat.
So, what happens in the case of faux shearling coats for women? Firstly, the “wool” lining may not be real wool at all but rather a synthetic blend. Secondly, maybe the coat is made of real wool, but the pelts have been attached to the inside of poor quality garments, thus rendering them fakes as well. Although a fake may look as good as the real one, fake wool will never keep you as warm as real wool. Finally, quality shearling coats last lifetimes, often more than one, so that they are passed from generation to generation. A fake will never last as long, and may in fact, shed wool or even fall apart at the seams, just to name a few of the problems you may have with very poor quality garments.
Shearling coats for women are gorgeous garments, meant to turn heads, while you stay warm in style. Why buy a fake that you will only use for a few months when you can have a coat that you’ll wear for the rest of your life?
Shearling is a sheepskin pelt that has been sheared uniformly to obtain the same depth and feel throughout. Contrary to popular belief, it is not merely the shorn wool, but the pelt of a young lamb. The pelts are tanned with the wool still on them. It is also important to note that what is commonly known as sheepskin may be obtained from older sheep and is thus rougher to the touch, unlike shearling that is very soft. The combination of sueded leather on the outside and soft wool on the inside makes shearling pelts ideal for the creation of garments that will withstand not only very cold temperatures and moisture, but also the test of time.
Shearling pelts are produced all over the world, but the most popular and the best quality come from Spain. There are five types of Spanish shearling: Merino, Enterfino, Rasado, Corto, and Toscana. Merino shearling is produced from older sheep but it is still very dense, soft wool. Enterfino is thicker and denser than the others, with wool that is heavier and more rigid. Rasado shearling is obtained from the youngest lambs, so it is the softest and the lightest of the five. Corto and Toscana shearling are both produced from young lambs, but Corto (as the name indicates – “short” in Spanish) has short wool inside, whereas Toscana pelts have long wool. The latter are the most expensive in the market. In terms of warmth, Rasado shearling is the least warm because it is also the most delicate and the lightest of the shearling pelts. Merino shearling, though a bit heavier, is warmer because of the wool density. The warmest however, is the long-haired Toscana; also soft and lightweight, these expensive pelts are used mostly for luxury garments.
So, rather than only choosing based on price, it is recommended that you make your selection based on the climate you’ll wear your shearling garments in. Rasado garments are perfect for places with mild winters, but Merino will most likely be the best choice in colder climates – it is both warm and affordable. Wherever you are, whatever your budget, you may rest assured you’ll find the right shearling garments to suit your needs. No matter the type of shearling, always look for garments that are made only with expert craftsmanship and superior quality. A shearling garment is certainly an investment, but it is one that is worth your money considering you’ll have this garment for the rest of your life.
Shearling is the sheepskin obtained from a young lamb. The wool is shorn to a uniform length, but it is left on the hide, which is tanned with the wool on it. The tanned side is worn on the outside and the wool on the inside, which makes shearling jackets extra warm and rugged. Any professional dry cleaning service will clean your shearling jacket and may even remove dirt or stains. However, if your jacket has been lightly soiled, you may want to avoid the dry cleaning bill and tackle it yourself. Here’s a basic guide that should help you care for your jacket so that it lasts a lifetime:
- Make sure you clean your shearling jacket before you store it away in the spring. Never store it with stains. As a good rule of thumb, give it at least a couple of cleanings a year, so that there’s no dirt buildup. If you let it get very dirty, you’ll have no choice but to take it to the cleaners.
- Use a suede stone or cleaning brush to scour off dirty patches or scuff marks.
- Don’t forget the inside of the jacket. The wool inside must also be brushed with a dry rag.
- Any tough stains in the wool lining should be tackled with a clean, damp rag. If rubbing with water is not enough, use a little wool cleaner in the water. That should get rid off harder-to-remove stains.
- Let your shearling jacket air dry. Turn it inside out if the wool lining is too wet.
- Never, ever, wash a shearling jacket in a washing machine, and never put it in the dyer. It will most certainly ruin it. Don’t put your jacket near a fire or heater to get it to dry more quickly because the heat will also damage the leather.
- Don’t store your shearling jacket in plastic. Use a cloth garment bag instead, or store it in a cardboard box. Use a sturdy hanger and let it hang loose and naturally.
Shearling jackets are luxury garments. They keep us warm, but allow us to do it in style. This is why they also come with a hefty price tag. If you give your jacket the proper care, however, your investment will stay with you for the rest of your life.