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Goodwill Fashion Expert—Bjorn Nasett

Bjorn Nasett - Goodwill Fashion ExpertBe sure to read Bjorn's weekly column for great advice. If you have specific questions send him an email at askbjorn@goodwillsew.com.

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What About Wool?

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Nov 13, 2013 12:32:00 PM

Sheep2There is an old saying that goes something like, “beware the wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing!” So in other words, it’s dressed in the textile that is made from the shorn fur of the humble sheep. That textile is called wool! I realize that most people know what wool is, but it often gets a bad rap in the modern world of wash-and-go fashions. In fact the proliferation of synthetics in the twentieth century definitely put a crimp in the wool trade. Personally, I love wool garments and coats. Understanding the natural properties and peculiarities of this wooly wonder can be summed up in a few simple facts that anyone who loves fashion and design should know.

horse sweaterI have a blanket that once belonged to my Grandma Esther. As a child when I stayed overnight at their home in the winter she always covered me up with that light green wool blanket. It was a little rough, but somehow that was comforting to me and the warmth it provided was fantastic. Forty-five years later it’s still in good shape! That speaks to the quality that pure wool can bring to any houseware or garment that is made from its sturdy fibers. Whenever I find a vintage piece of clothing at Goodwill that is in fantastic shape, it’s usually made of some kind of wool.

green sweaterTraditionally wool is not machine washable, but make sure to read the label carefully, as there are some wool blends that are manufactured to be just that.  Refresher sheets for the dryer can also be purchased in the laundry aisle and are a good bet for refreshing and renewing the wool fibers in coats, sweaters, and almost any garment made of wool. Wool actually resists stains, but can be spot cleaned if necessary.

red jacketThere are different grades of wool with the finest being quite soft, and the less refined being coarse in texture. Have you ever seen the words “Merino wool” on a sweater? That wool came from Merino sheep, a breed specifically developed for their fine coats. If a red mohairlabel is not specific, it could be made from mixed wool fibers. This is where the “wool feels scratchy” line comes from I think. Not ALL woolen items are scratchy! I always wear a cotton t-shirt under all my sweaters, for comfort and to maintain the sweater itself.

purple scarfSoftness can be found in other types of wool, such as cashmere or Mohair that is made from our stubborn friend the goat, as well as Angora made from rabbit fur. That’s why I always look at the labels inside sweaters that I like at Goodwill. I have found many pure cashmere sweaters and scarves while out shopping and I wear them year after year. 

Now that you know a little more about wool and what a wonder fiber it is, why not take a closer look at the labels on items you might find at Goodwill. Wool items are a solid investment in your fashion future - and when you buy a cozy coat, soft sweater, or stylish scarf, you’ll have satisfaction knowing that you just helped your community. So come on, what’s stopping you from getting wild and wooly this winter?

Topics: wool, Bjorn Nasett, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Expert, bjorn