Wool is such a great material, it has literally been used to create fashion for thousands of years. It’s one of the oldest materials ever used to make fashion, in fact. Wool has a lot of natural properties that make it absolutely perfect for making outerwear.
If you like staying warm and dry in winter while you look amazingly fashionable, it’s time to dive into the world of the different types of wool coats. How many of them have you worn? After you get to know more about these iconic styles, you’re going to want to wear all of them. Soon, you’ll know how.
A Long Flirtation With Wearing Wool
Sheep were one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans way back in the Stone Age, about 10,000 years ago. They were raised intentionally in central Asia for their meat, their milk, and their hides. Like all animals back then, sheep were used for their skin and not for their woolly fur.
But eventually, people who worked with hides started to notice that if the strands of wool were removed from the hide and braided, they could create yarn. The yarn was strong, soft, and useful.
Soon, people started to make wool. They found that the material was perfect for making clothing of all kinds. It was soft, it was easy to make, and it was already everywhere, thanks to all the sheep. As knowledge of the material spread, wool itself started to spread.
Fragments of wool dating to around 3,500 B.C.E. have been found in Egypt, proof of humanity’s long association with the material.
Wool spread around the world and became a valuable commodity. Entire towns were built on the wool trade, and some places became famous for their wool. Sheep were intentionally cultivated to create different wool and other animals were used to make new types of wool, so there were many different options for making coats and other types of clothing.
Today, there are all sorts of wool coats to choose from, made with all different wools to create their distinct styles and characteristics.
What Does Wool Do?
What makes wool such a beloved material? Lots of things, actually. Wool has a lot of natural properties that make it truly amazing as outerwear. For starters, it’s incredibly strong. Wool is a highly durable material that can literally bend 30,000 times without breaking or even becoming damaged. It’s naturally stretchy due to its elasticity. Wool is resilient, always something you want in a piece of clothing.
Wool naturally wicks moisture from the body, keeping you dry so skin doesn’t get sweaty. Wool can actually absorb up to 30 percent of its own body weight in moisture. That’s some amazing drying power that makes wool fantastic as outerwear because it can absorb moisture from rain and ice and keep you much dryer and, therefore, a little warmer.
There’s more. Wool is flame-resistant, too! It will burn if you really try to force the issue, but wool doesn’t hold a flame, and it takes a lot to get it to burn at all. Wool is self-extinguishing. This is another huge feature. Not only is wool warm and comfortable, but it’s also a little bit safer than other options.
Wool certainly does a whole lot of things, and on top of all that, it’s also insulting. Wool is warm and dry and comfortable, and it’s nice-looking, too. Many different animals are used for wool.
In addition to sheep, alpaca, camel, llama, vicuna, and various types of goats are all used to create various types of wool. Different types of wool include merino, cashmere, and alpaca. Moleskin is another type of wool. Both animal hairs, such as those from goats and fleece, the stuff you get from sheep, can be used to make wool.
Types of Wool Coats
There are many different types of wool coats to try if you want to explore the wonderful world of wool for yourself.
Try different types of cool and different styles in wool to see what you like best and to stay warm even in the worst of conditions. Wool coats are made to help you take on the elements and win, so they’re just as practical as they are stylish. How long will it take you to wear all of these styles, and which ones will end up being your favorites?
Though they are made in all sorts of materials now, car coats were traditionally made of wool. In the early days, automobiles didn’t have a lot of insulation. Or even roofs. So you’d get pretty darn cold just driving a car.
This necessitated a unique coat that was considered to be just the right length for driving a car comfortably while wearing the coat. It’s just about knee length and has a single-breasted front with a somewhat flaring silhouette. The car coat is finished with a flat collar and short lapels.
The Chesterfield is a classic overcoat from the 1800s that was worn by the Earl of Chesterfield, or so fashion legend says. It is characterized by its long length, as it’s knee-length or longer, and straight, beltless design. It has a single-breasted front and is meant to be a slightly loose, full fit.
In early designs, the Chesterfield was made with wool, and it is still often made with this material in the modern day.
The Crombie coat is named for weaver and fashion designer John Crombie. It’s a heavy wool coat with an elegant, unembellished style. It’s above knee-length and usually has wide-notched lapels and a straight, beltless style. It has a single-breast front.
Duffle coats were another military design, so the early versions were made of wool, and this style is still often made with wool. Duffle coats, also spelled duffel, have toggled closures, an attached hood, and sleeves with bands and buttons for adjustability. These coats also have two very large, oversized front pockets.
Duffle coats were made for sailors, so they’re designed to withstand the elements and help you stay warm even in the worst weather.
The loden coat was created in the Austrian alps, where temperatures get super cold, so you know this style is meant to be very warm. It’s actually called loden for the wool fabric that is used to make it. This coat was worn by shepherds, so wool was the natural choice for them.
Loden coats have a dark green color, which is a characteristic of the wool itself. The wool comes from alpine sheep, and it has a blue-green color to it. This is dense, soft wool that has a somewhat fuzzy surface.
The loden coat itself is a long, full style with a single-breasted from and a flat collar with short lapels. The sleeves are finished with bands of fabric and buttons. The simple style and distinct color make the loden coat easily recognizable.
The Macintosh was the first modern raincoat. Also known as a mackintosh and a mac, this is a medium-length to long coat with a simple, unembellished style and a medium-length collar with long sleeves and a button-up front. The original design was created by a chemist in 1824 who used rubber and two layers of wool to make the coat waterproof. The macintosh is still made with wool in the classic design.
The peacoat was originally designed for the Royal British Navy, so wool was the perfect choice for this style right away. It needed to keep sailors dry, after all. The peacoat is made in a medium-length, double-breasted design. It has a fold-down dollar and a short V-neck opening.
Navy blue is a classic color for this coat, naturally. It’s often finished with buttons that have anchors on them, a nod to the coat’s nautical past.
Trying Different Types of Wool Coats
There are lots of different types of wool and wool coat styles out there. In any version, wool coats are warm, weather-resistant, and ready to help you take on those nasty days. Why not look stylish while you’re doing it?
Pick out the wool coat styles that are going to suit you best and show off your personal sense of fashion in a coat that’s also practical.
There’s a lot to know about wool as a material and the various types of coats that are made with it. What you don’t know about your wool coats could end up becoming a problem. Get the answers to the most commonly asked questions about wool coats and get to know everything about caring for and wearing these coats well.
How do you clean wool coats?
You’ve got a gorgeous wool coat. It looks amazing; it feels amazing. But there’s a problem: it needs to be cleaned. Oh no. Everyone knows how hard wool is to clean. So what do you do? How do you clean wool coats without ruining them?
You can actually wash wool at home, despite all the dire warnings about ruining the material. Work carefully, and you will not damage your wool coats. Start by brushing off the coat gently with a clothes brush. This will remove a great deal of hair and debris. Brush from the top down and work gently in small spots. Do not pull or drag heavily at the fabric.
Mix together about a teaspoon of very mild detergent and a half cup of warm water to spot-treat stains. You want to gently dab the cleaning solution on the stain until it is quite damp, then allow it to sit for 10 minutes before you wash the coat.
In a large plastic storage tub or your own (clean) bathtub, add about a half cup of gentle detergent to lukewarm, almost cool, water.
Put the coat in the water, submerge it completely, and let it soak for about 20 minutes. Once it has soaked for a while, move the coat around in the water. Gently swirl and swish it, and squeeze the fabric gently. Do not pull or twist the wool, as this can cause damage. Do not rub the wool, either. Be gentle at all times.
Don’t wring out the coat. Remove it from the soapy water and let it drain for a few minutes as the tub drains. Re-fill the tub with lukewarm water and dip the coat repeatedly in the water to thoroughly rinse it. When you’re ready to remove it, you can gently squeeze water from the coat, working from top to bottom. Again, don’t twist, wring, pull or rub the fabric.
Place the coat on several towels, smoothing it out so that it is in its usual shape. Roll up the towels with the coat to remove moisture, squeezing slightly. Lay the coat out on a fresh set of dry towels to allow it to air dry.
How should your wool coat fit?
Different types of wool coats are designed to fit in different ways. Some styles are meant to be loose, while others fit more closely. There are some ways to tell if your coat is fitting the way it’s supposed to, however. Look for these markers of a good fit, and you’ll know whether or not you have on the right wool coat for your body.
Check your arms. The shoulder seam of the coat should be right at the bend of your shoulder, where it becomes your arm. When you have the coat on, you should be able to lift your arms up over your head, roll your shoulders and put your hands out in front of you comfortably.
Can you fully close the coat and still twist to the right and the left without discomfort? You should be able to move freely in your coat at all times. That means sitting, standing, walking, twisting, turning, and moving in every direction.
How does it look? Does the coat look like it follows the lines of your body? Are the sleeves grazing your fingers instead of your hands? Are the shoulders slumped? Does the coat look slouchy, or does it look tight? You can tell a lot about the fit by the way the coat looks on you.
Are wool coats heavy?
Wool is a warm fabric, and in some coat designs, it can be very thick. Does this mean it’s also heavy? The great thing about wool is that it’s insulating and warm, even in lightweight designs. Wool doesn’t need to be heavy to be warm, and even in thick coat designs, wool is not heavy fabric. Wool is comfortable to wear, and that’s one reason it’s used so often to make coats.
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Gentleman’s Gazette – The Loden Coat Guide – A Classic Wool Overcoat for Fall & Winter
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The Spruce – How to Clean a Wool Coat