How to Wear Sheepskin with Style!

Sheepskin has been around for as long as man has been able to catch a sheep. For the record, catching sheep has never been easy as they can move surprisingly fast for creatures with relatively short legs. Anyway, we digress so back to the benefits of sheep and their skin:

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Yes, sheep are very useful in many ways. Sheep meat is tasty, nutritious, and a staple on many menus. Sheep’s wool is used to make wool, which in turn is woven into fabric and used to make sweaters. Lastly, sheepskin is used to create garments and soft furnishings for the home.

The Benefits of Sheepskin

Genuine sheepskin is warm, waterproof, and easy to work with, which is why it is a perennially popular fabric for coats, jackets, gloves, and boots. The history of sheepskin as a garment is long. Shepherds once used sheepskin to keep warm at night and the use of sheepskin for boots has been traced back to 500BC.

For much of history, sheepskin has been viewed as a utilitarian material, used for its insulating qualities. Working men used sheepskin to protect their bodies and extremities from the cold and a pair of sheepskin lined boots was essential for anyone toiling away in sub-zero temperatures.

Sheepskin in Fashion

Today, things are a bit different and although sheepskin is still an important material for working people, it is increasingly becoming a fashion accessory for the rich and famous. It became popular in the 60s, with a sheepskin coat essential wear for the Beatnik Generation. Fast-forward to the 80s, Vivienne Westwood used sheepskin in her collections and sheepskin rocketed into the mainstream.

Today, sheepskin is still as popular as it ever was, but if you want to be a trendsetter and wear sheepskin in style, there is a right way and a wrong way to wear this amazing fabric.

Sheepskin coats are an enduring trend and 2015 saw a revival of long, floor length coats that were so popular in the 1970s. On the Chloe catwalk, models wore long sheepskin coats over floaty dresses, accessories with thin belts. Burberry took a slightly different approach – their designers gave traditional brown sheepskin a new look with navy blue and grey dye.

Classic Sheepskin

Today there are lots of ways to wear sheepskin. A classic sheepskin coat is the perfect accompaniment to skinny jeans and a cute woollen sweater, especially on a cold winter’s day. These make a great date outfit, or why not throw on a sheepskin coat if you are heading out for a walk in the park with the kids?

Belted sheepskin coats can be dressed up with a belt and stylish knee-length boots. There are also some seriously trendy biker-style sheepskin jackets for those of you who want to rock the biker chick look.

How Not to Wear Sheepskin

Sheepskin is eminently wearable, but for the record, sheepskin Ugg boots are no longer a good look. D-List celebrities have killed off Ugg boots completely. Wear them at your peril.

You can’t go wrong with sheepskin. It looks great on and it also looks great in the home, so check out sheepskin rugs by Sheep Skin Town if your home needs a makeover.

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Cape Coats Are More Than A Novelty

Love ’em or hate ’em, cape coats are here to stay. While they may not be the most practical addition to your wardrobe for a snowstorm, they are a great way to inject a little style into your layered cold weather ensemble.

Wayf's Collarless Woven Cape Camel is a great autumn color and will bring your style “on fleek” in a gorgeous cape. One of our favorites is Wayf’s Collarless Woven Cape. While some capes look dated and old (or worse, like you’re a super hero) Wayf’s, with it’s front button tab closure and a sleek silhouette, is modern and sophisticated.

Kinglsey Pinstripe Wool Cape Coat

Alice + Olivia really hit the mark with their Kinglsey Pinstripe Wool Cape Coat. With it’s “chic mock-neck,” pinstripe design and leather trim, you’re sure to look like your favorite fashion blogger or Hollywood It girl.

Take the trend to another level with this cape and jacket hybrid. Akris’ Aldona is an alpaca and wool cape jacket perfect for those chillier days. In a soft romantic Quartzite hue, the Aldona is the perfect addition to any outfit. Who says you can’t rock a cape and have the warmth of sleeves too?

Mural's Cape Blazer

For an office ready cape, try Mural’s Cape Blazer. Featuring the structure of a traditional blazer with spliced sleeves for a cape-like feel. We love the idea of incorporating this fun piece into your work or weekend look. Try adding some rolled up boyfriend jeans and a casual tee for the perfect airport/ grocery shopping/ running around town look, just in case the paparazzi are following you. Or pair with a contrasting color trouser (heather gray would look amazing!) to really shake up those Monday blues.

Since the cape is such a statement piece, keeping the rest of your outfit simple is the way to go. You may not be superwoman, but that’s no reason not to wear a cape all fall long!

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Spotlight on Irish Store’s Sweaters for Winter 2015

As soon as fall turns to winter, people are looking for those pieces of clothing that will keep in your body heat and ward off the bone-chilling cold temperatures. The sweater is the perfect place to start. The history of the sweater began when fishermen’s wives knitted them tops out of wool, in order to keep out the cold and dampness while they were out on their fishing expeditions. The natural oil that was in the wool gave it a water repellant quality, which came in handy out on the sea. When the use of the garment spread from Europe to America, it acquired its current day name of the sweater.

One group that has maintained the use of fine yarns such as Merino and Donegal wool is the Irish. Since the 1890’s, hand knit Aran and Irish sweaters have made their way into appreciative customer hands. At The Irish Store, they have sourced a full range of men’s knitwear from some of the most prestigious Irish suppliers in Ireland. Each individual knitting pattern reflects the family history of the knitters throughout generations.

fisherman's rib knit sweater

One example is the Fisherman’s Rib Crew Neck Sweater. It is a classic Aran design and knitted out of 100% pure with a ribbed collar, fully fashioned arm holes, ribbed cuffs, and with a longer torso that will keep you covered and warm for those outdoor events.  It is probably the same kind of design that West End Knitwear descendant, Kate O’Shea, was selling in 1856 to keep her village’s fishermen warm. This crew neck sweater comes in navy, beige, charcoal, or green for $84.95. And there are plenty of other pieces in the same vein: http://www.theirishstore.com/irish-clothing-1/sweaters/mens-sweaters/.

aran mens button down cardigan

Another of my favorite sweaters from The Irish Store is the Handmade Irish Aran Men’s Button-down Cardigan. This particular sweater has great texture with the diamond cable and infinity pattern knit designs. The cardigan is a staple layering item in any man’s wardrobe and this one is chunky, without being bulky, and has fashion detailing in the shawl collar. It comes in oatmeal and charcoal colors for $99.95 with $6.95 shipping and free returns worldwide. The Irish Store also has the added bonus of no sales tax on orders headed to the USA, so you will have a few extra bucks to spend!

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Stocking Up Your Winter Wardrobe

Protect yourself from the winter chill by stocking up on your cold-weather wardrobe. You don’t have to start from scratch as there are some basic pieces that you can still wear and layer over with a snug coat. Clothing essentials for the season should not only keep you warm but also let you express your personal style as well.

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If you find that most of your winter clothes are already worn, you can choose to replace them with store-bought ones. You can also shop for clothes online for more convenience, especially if work or errands keep you busy most of the day.

When stocking up on your winter wardrobe, here are the items you should never face the chill without.

Year-round items

Many clothing pieces are always in season, such as a classic black tank and plain black and white shirts of varying sleeve lengths. You should also have a crisp white blouse and a fitted white button-down shirt that you can wear for any function. You can also buy blouses in dark and light neutrals. Keep the details such as ruffles and buttons minimal but timeless.

Don’t forget the little black dress that you can top off with a cozy coat for winter. Black pencil skirts, jeans, black pants and tights, and khaki pants are also always in season. For shoes, you will never go wrong with basic black pumps, ballet flats in a neutral color, and evening shoes in a versatile color, such as silver.

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Winter essentials

Layer those basic tops with a heavy sweater, cashmere hoodie, or leather jacket, and you’re good to go. You can also invest in a comfortable turtleneck sweater in a lightweight fabric such as wool, which can blend in well with any pants you have on without adding bulk. An alternative is a cowl-neck sweater. The best pants for winter include dark-wash, boot-cut or wide-leg jeans, gray flannel pants, and wool trousers. Keep warm in a winter coat, parka, a black cashmere wrap coat, or a down vest of a neutral color such as black, navy, or brown. Keep it classy in a wool overcoat. Pull on a pair of knee-high boots or Wellies to keep your feet warm.

Accessories

Layering bulky clothes can make you look frumpy in winter, but not if you add pizzazz to your look with various accessories. Your winter wardrobe accessory must-haves should include belts both wide and skinny to accentuate your silhouette. You can also stock up on knit and Pashmina scarves to add interest and color to your basic wardrobe. For jewelry, something that adds color and drama to an otherwise dreary wardrobe is a must. Keep your hands safe from the biting cold with a good pair of wool or knitted gloves. Keep your head warm with berets and knitted beanies!

Textures and fabrics

If your personal style is dictated by textures and fabrics, stock up your winter wardrobe with clothing pieces made from suede, dark denim, wool or tweed, velvet, and leather. You can also have silks, satins, and black lace on standby for something chic and classy!

Happy winter dressing!

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70. Cardigans and you

INFEASIBLE: Striped cardigans

Rag & Bone Striped Cardigan
(From eLuxury)

Anything striped must look ironed or at the very least straightened. Lined shirts that are loose just come across as lazy or tired. So, naturally, a cardigan (the quinessential loose-fit and comfortable top type) was never meant to have bands on it. But hey, Rag & Bone knows what they’re doing, right? WRONG. Not having your buttons in the bottom half of the piece helps too, you know.


Feasible: Solid color cardigan

Generra mineral blue wool v-neck cardigan
(Brought to you by Bluefly)

Cardigans are best with either plain pastels or rich, vibrant hues. Very nice.

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63. Summertime + Suits

INFEASIBLE: Chino-based suits.

(From Banana Republic)

I know what you’re thinking these days. Sure, it’s getting close to the summer and you wanna be cool and slick looking when the sun’s a-shining high and the birds are making it with the bees. That’s fine, hell, that’s what you SHOULD be thinking. But you might also be thinking, “Hey. I tend to associate the material wool with winter – so why would I wear a wool suit during the summer?” BR is prying on this line of thought with this cotton/khaki suit, and fuck, you might have fallen for this trap. Guys, if there’s something to ever snub in the fashion world, it is a chino-based suit. That and a 100% polyster getup. Both REEK of Miami Vice.




Feasible: Light wool, light color

(Brought to you by Bluefly)
Here’s a little known fact: wool breathes. Air passes through strangs of wool, thus providing ventilation of sorts. Sure, cotton breathes too, but wool always looks good. And wool doesn’t shrink. And wool isn’t CHEAP (I went there). As for making this Ted Beaker a little more festive (yeah, I know, my love of gray isn’t universally revered), try having the breast pocket unsown and sticking in a cheerful pocket square. “Which pocket square?”, you ask. Just you wait and see.

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