A New Approach To Shearling
As we approach the colder autumn/winter months, layering and material choice will become increasingly important when putting together our daily outfits.
Yet despite becoming a reoccurring trend over the past couple of years, shearling continues to be an underused (and often underestimated) cold-weather fabric.
Renowned for its warming, comfortable qualities, it’s traditionally utilised as a lining for outerwear, gloves and boots. But interestingly, designers across the globe have chosen to apply shearling to a plethora of garments and in a variety of new guises for AW14…
What Is Shearling?
Shearling is derived from sheep or lambs. The animal is sheared and the skin removed is tanned and dressed with the wool left on it (giving it that instantly identifiable fluffy appearance).
Shearling can be made from real sheepskin or synthetic fibres – the former being breathable and more flexible, while the latter is often used by high street retailers and affordable brands to produce the effect of real shearling at a lower price point.
As previously mentioned, shearling has been used as a lining on outerwear for years and, today, offers both warmth and comfort when temperatures drop. Commonly, this shearling lining is also visible on the lapels and collar of a coat or jacket, acting as an interesting visual design detail.
Image: Mango Man AW14
On The AW14 Runways
Missoni were one such brand that went down the traditional route, featuring shearling-lined and collared outerwear in both cropped and long lengths within its AW14 collection.
These came in a variety of shades, including a grey herringbone pea coat with black lapels and a beige shearling collar; a brushed gold bomber with a wide shearling collar; and a mixed brown zig zag pattern overcoat with exaggerated fluffy white shearing lapels for a hippy, 1970s feel – further accentuated by the model’s long, unkempt hair.
Similarly, Dior Homme featured a cropped denim jacket with white shearling collar from the more casual end of their collection, as well as a knee length dark brown leather coat with a full contrast white shearling lining.
Elsewhere, Bottega Veneta showed one of our favourite pieces from the shows: a light grey, double-breasted pea coat with a matching shearling collar. This subtle tonal effect oozed understated luxury:
Key Styles: Aviator & Biker Jackets
Two outerwear silhouettes that lend themselves particularly well to shearling detailing are aviator and biker jackets – and there was no shortage of these at the AW14 fashion weeks. After all, leather and shearling is a timeless and hugely successful fabric combination, so why stray from something that works?
These jackets typically came in short, boxy shapes (often juxtaposed with rounded, raglan sleeves) that produced an extremely strong and masculine aesthetic.
Highlights included Costume National’s statement-making white cropped aviator-style jacket with cream shearling on the fold-back collar, as well as a thicker black leather version with matching black shearling collar.
Bottega Veneta followed suit with an asymmetric zip biker jacket in grey suede with a light grey shearling collar that was very neatly cut for a more tailored look, creating a fantastic streamlined silhouette:
Historically, military coats and uniforms made use of shearling linings, and the outerwear within the AW14 collection from Cerruti was cleared inspired by the armed forces.
The brand included several knee length military-style overcoats complete with shearling linings and collar details, with our favourite being the belted trench:
Alternative Shearling Pieces
However, the most interesting pieces spotted on the runways this season were those which took shearling and used it in a fresh, modern way, as opposed to obvious linings.
The collection from Iceberg stood out, with the brand including a colour and fabric mix sweater that featured a red shearling chest panel, black neoprene sleeves and a turquoise mohair roll neck.
Although it may sound like overkill, the combination worked well and the jumper retained a stylish edge. For those less inspired by colour but intrigued by the use of multiple fabrics, Iceberg went on to showcase a black and white version that would be perfect for channelling AW14’s big monochrome trend.
The brand also made the rare decision to feature shearling as an all-over outer layer, in the form of a black zip-up bomber. Perhaps not the most waterproof or practical of jackets, this all-over effect is one that has seldom been used before and therefore offered a more individual approach to the trend:
Elsewhere, Fendi offered an alternative and more light-hearted take by applying coloured shearling patterns across outerwear.
The collection included a furry shearling panelled jacket in tan complete with brighter blue, yellow and white motifs (definitely not one for the faint-hearted), and a similar black and white jacket with small yellow and blue detailing:
How To Wear
Although the industry is pushing all manner of shearling pieces for AW14, clearly the most wearable and successful way of sporting this fabric is via outerwear. The all-over shearling pieces spotted on the runway would certainly garner attention, but they are quite a statement to make and, in reality, are not practical for everyday wear.
Cropped shearling collar jackets, on the other hand, are ideal for the transition between summer and autumn (and, looking forward, winter and spring) – offering warmth, character and an individual element that will subtly differentiate any outfit you choose to integrate it into.
When it comes to choosing your perfect style, remember that shearling typically looks its best when juxtaposed against another textured fabric. Think denim, suede or cord bombers, wool pea coats, leather bikers or even padded flight jackets in nylon.
Also bear in mind that shearling now comes in a variety of hues. If you would prefer to make less of a statement, seek out dark or tonal linings, rather than traditional stark white variants.
For those looking for something slightly more practical, the classic shearling-lined khaki parka jacket, complete with fur hood, is another trending piece for AW14 that would make a versatile investment and will get good use year-round.
Finally, when creating your own outfits, focus on complementing shearling’s tactile nature and outdoors/military connotations by combining with similarly rugged and textured pieces. Heavyweight Oxford shirts, selvedge jeans, cable/waffle knits, tweed/wool blazers, cord/flannel trousers and hiking/brogue boots would be ideal.
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
- Topman Levis Sherpa Blue Denim Trucker Jacket
- Topman Tm Ltd Khaki Borg Lined Jacket
- Asos Wool Harrington Jacket With Borg Collar
- Allsaints Bretley Shearling Parka Jacket
- Allsaints Talbot Shearling Leather Coat
- Carhartt Sheffield Cadet Jacket In Navy
- Asos Parka Jacket
- Belstaff Shearling Leather Biker Jacket
- Burberry Prorsum Oversized Shearling Coat
- He By Mango Aviator Leather Jacket
- Zara Coat With Sheepskin Collar
- Zara Faux Leather Jacket
- River Island Black Borg Lined Biker Jacket
- River Island Black Padded Parka Jacket
- Gieves & Hawkes Shearling-collar Wool Pea Coat 210035
This is certainly a trend where too much can be overkill. But get the balance just right with a classic shealing collar bomber and you will be turning heads for all the right reasons this autumn.
But now it’s time to hear your view – will you be investing in a shearling collar jacket this transitional season? If so, what style will you opt for? Perhaps you think shearling makes too much of a statement for everyday wear?
Whatever your thoughts, we welcome your comments below…