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Regular Wool vs Merino wool - why pay extra?

Wool is definitely the default winter fabric for the majority out there (unless you are allergic to it or vegan of course).

It’s obtained from sheep and can be yarned in different ways, depending on the result you want to achieve. Flannel, for example, is wool that’s yarned in a way that accentuates texture.


As pretty much everything in nature, wool differs in terms of quality, and for wool you’re looking for the quality that is the softest and the less itchy (for obvious reasons).

You probably know that Merino wool is considered the gold standard, especially the one coming from New Zeland and Australia. The reason is that it comes from a different kind of sheep, called Merino, and it has the advantage of having thinner and less scaled hair, which results in a softer and less itchy fabric compared to the regular sheep’s wool that tends to be very rough on your skin. We can say that in some cases it’s very close to cashmere if it’s yarned with high numbers (We will cover those numbers in a future article).

 

Sheeps wool - merino socks

While the majority of people believe it should be worn only in winter, wool can also be used in warmer weather as it doesn’t actually warm your body up, but instead insulates you from the outer temperature. Another advantage is that is very breathable - as always the thinner, the more breathable it is. 

It’s not all ups though, as you probably know with suits: you can’t wash them like cotton for instance. It is a very delicate fabric and has to be dry cleaned or in case of socks or underwear, washed in cold water with a delicate program.

 

wool - merino: why pay more? The Purple Seal articles

Wool is very popular for suits, where it’s knitted in various techniques, s numbers and flannels; it is also used for coats, shirts, and underwear (mostly shirts). Obviously, as you can imagine, it is also a great choice for socks. 

We can’t forget felt wool, of course, mostly used in classic hats such as fedora, trilby etc…


As you can see, wool is the second most used natural fibre after cotton.

I always, of course, try to go with merino every time I can, especially for the garments that are in contact with my skin. 

I don’t mind having my coat or knitwear a bit rough, but definitely underwear such as t-shirts and socks must be in merino for me.


Do you own any wool underwear t-shirt or socks? What is your opinion on them?

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