What comes to mind when I say the word wool? Itchy? Uncomfortable? Something your Grandma knitted for you?
Well guess what? I’m here to tell you that you NEED more wool in your life, but not just any wool, MERINO WOOL.
I have been toying with the idea of doing a capsule wardrobe for a while. I know that may seem trendy, because it is definitely a trend, especially among bloggers, but I wouldn’t do it for the trend factor. I just think it makes sense. If I look in my closet I have sooooo many pieces that I don’t ever wear, season to season, they still sit there, taking up space. Why? Because I have found that I am basically a Nana, a Grandma, whatever you call me, I’m all about comfort, and if something isn’t comfortable I just don’t wear it, I am just too practical (as in, I haven’t worn high heels in 10-years). I just naturally end up only wearing a few certain pieces in my closet, so why not make them more intentional and more useful?
One major factor in comfort is my temperature regulation. I am easily cold and HATE to be cold (just ask my husband!). Another reason things don’t get worn, they just aren’t warm enough. I’m not fully creating a capsule wardrobe right now, but in researching them I know that if and when I make one, Merino Wool is going to play a part in my wardrobe for every season.
I was first exposed to merino wool when we lived in Shanghai, China of all places. We had some Kiwi friends (that means New Zealanders people!) who were about to have their third child. Margo was always going on and on about merino this and merino that. Her husband was a pilot and after each jaunt away he would come back with a treasure trove of tiny merino clothes for their baby. I listened politely but to be honest, I didn’t really get what the big deal was about (though with how much I FROZE while we lived in Shanghai I should have taken note a lot sooner!).
Fast forward two years later and we find ourselves living in New Zealand (how lucky are we!?). I see merino products in the stores but am put-off by the prices and I freeze my way through Winter in my puffer coat and fake UGGs (good old fake markets in Shanghai). In fact, here I am watching Oliver at Tae Kwon Do wearing three layers of puff-attire! I was wearing a puffer vest and puff coat on top, plus a second puff coat wrapped around my legs. Now maybe if I had some Merino on I wouldn’t have needed so many layers!
So our first year in New Zealand my parents come to visit for Christmas and we stop off at the Icebreaker outlet (a premium New Zealand merino brand) near the Auckland Airport. I am looking around, still choking on the prices, but my lovely Mum offers to buy me a sweater and I take her up on it.
And guess what? The sweater was so soft and so warm. I fell in LOVE with merino right then and there. Once you try merino it’s like you become a missionary of merino, trying to convert the world to an elevated existence.
But seriously, why all the hype about merino wool?
First and foremost, Merino keeps you warm, like perfectly warm, like not too hot, and not too cold warm. Like PERFECTION. Merino is an insulator and temperature regulator. When you are cold the tiny air pockets in the fibers keep warmth in, and when you are warm it keeps you cool as the vapor goes through the fabric and wicks sweat into the air. Magic!
I pretty much NEED merino wool to survive Winter. Anyone who knows me personally will know that I feel the cold so easily. Clarke says I am like aluminum and I just conduct whatever the weather is around me. Honestly once it gets below around 65f/18c I begin to feel the cold, and once it is around 55/12.5 and below I must be in some good gear to stay comfortable. You may laugh at that, but it is true (unless the sun is shining directly on me). If you are into Ayurveda and Yoga you will know that this comes from the Vata element in me.
Second, merino is SUPER SOFT. Those stereotypes about itchy wool do not belong to merino! Merino fibers are super fine, only 1/10th the width of a human hair, are flexible, and easily bend against the surface of your skin = no itch!
Other awesome properties of merino wool: it is antimicrobial = no stink! (this is for real people, you can wear merino clothes over and over and they don’t stink), lightweight (high warmth-to-weight ratio), biodegradable (renewable and sustainable), UV protection, hypoallergenic, and flame resistant! Holy Moly, it’s like the Holy Grail of fabric.
Wow, writing about this I feel like I need to get EVERYTHING MERINO! I think a lot of people seem to over associate merino with base layers or thermals to wear under something. When I first bought merino that was kind of my focus. I have these Icebreaker leggings that I can wear under jeans, and an undershirt from another store and merino socks. But recently I stumbled across these most amazing, magical, change-my-life, jogger pants at Glassons and I see impending Winter in a whole new light.
I was in Glassons a year ago and someone asked about merino pants and my ears perked up, but was bummed when the sales associate said they were sold out. So a few weeks ago, when it was still Autumn acting like Summer, I randomly stopped in at Glassons and they had the merino pants!
I immediately bought them in black, wore them once, and realized I would be wearing them everyday soon, and went back to get them in grey as well. I seriously wore them nearly every day this week. They are beyond comfortable, stylish, and at only $59 they are a great deal. One drawback of Merino is that it can be expensive, especially compared to “regular” clothes, but the investment is worth it!
And don’t even get me started on Merino for babies! Feeling the morning and evenings become cooler I am starting to ramp up the Merino content of Mia’s tiny wardrobe. But I’ll save that for another post.
So here I am, awkwardly modeling the Glassons pants for you. I definitely don’t get points for knowing how to model, and Oliver and Clarke don’t get points for photography. If you could only see the number of photos it took to get even this one (and the number of ones where I am rolling my eyeballs!), and guess what, it was my 7-year old who was patient enough to get it, not my husband! And we have since moved on to colder weather so these pants are accompanied by a merino top and a puffer vest!
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere and you are feeling all Springy and excited for warmer weather and warmer weather clothes don’t laugh at this post, head to the internet and you can find merino on sale. Unlike me, down here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are headed towards Winter so no sales for me 🙁 But, since merino is a temperature regulator it suits all seasons, so there is no excuse.
I gathered up a few items from around the internet that look like great options for incorporating more Merino into everyday life. Click on the photo to find out more.
So tell me, have you experienced the joy of Merino? Have you found something amazing that I need? Share with me!