How to upgrade your wardrobe with these wool essentials
If you want to always find something in your wardrobe to wear that will make you look great, feel comfortable and be sustainable, then check out these 12 wool items.
While working through my wardrobe, I realised that I always fall back on a small number of wool items that I wear all the time. These items are either super comfortable, protect me from the elements or just complete an outfit. Often one single wool item even does all of the above.
As buying wool items is always a little bit of an investment (that always pays off) you might like this little list of things to help you prioritise when shopping for wool.
I wear my camisole shirts all year round. In winter I always wear one underneath my shirts and blouses for that extra comfort and warmth. The camisole can always be tucked into your jeans or skirt and therefore keep your lower back warm and also avoid ugly exposures of your lower back or more when bending down. But that is just a little side effect. In summer I often use the camisoles when exercising at the gym but I also sleep in them on hot summer nights. They are also great to wear underneath slightly see-through tops in summer. I own camisoles in black and white. With those two colours I find that they always blend in perfectly with my wardrobe. Be sure to get a super fine version as you will be wearing it next to your skin. I personally love the soft quality of Mac Pac.
Short sleeve and long sleeve T-shirt
There is hardly a day where I don’t wear one of my soft merino wool t-shirts, be it long sleeves in winter or short sleeves in summers. There are of course plenty of t-shirts as such available. However, I find you need to distinguish between two types. You will find plenty of t-shirts that are designed for sports and outdoor activities. These t-shirts often have a high crew neckline and have flat seems to prevent any seams from irritating your skin. If you are looking to be active these t-shirts are great. However, my personal style is not at all athleisure, therefore I prefer to buy wool t-shirts that look a bit more fashionable. For me, that means having a neckline that is any other than crew, such as a nice v-neck or a scoop or even boat neckline. This also means that the seams or not flat and that the colours are decent enough to be combined with the rest of my wardrobe. Luckily there are more and more fashionable wool t-shirts available and you don’t need to rely on the sports brands if that is not your everyday style. Again, watch out to buy the softest merino wool that you find comfortable. With t-shirts, you might also like to check the weight of the fabric. Heavier weights are great for winter and lighter weights for summer.
I did not realise it at the time, but when I was 16 my mother thought it was time to buy me a wool suit. This included a black blazer, black trousers and a black pencil skirt. Looking back I might have looked a little bit silly wearing a suit at 16, however, I still own the wool pencil skirt and it has served me well all this time. Obviously, a pencil skirt is a classic piece that can be combined in so many ways and worn to so many occasions depending on if you dress the skirt up or down. Owning a high-quality wool skirt that is well cut and well made is essential. I recommend a black pencil skirt, but depending on the colour pallet of your wardrobe you might also get a good use out of dark blue or grey one. Before investing into any patterned pencil skirts, stick to a unicolour one.
A blazer is known to be this one item that once you put it on, you already look well dressed. Blazers can be combined with jeans, dresses, skirts and can work in a casual or business setting. Deciding on the right kind of wool blazer is a bit more tricky and depends on your personal style. In wool fabrics there are the worsted fabrics, think of the fabrics of a classic men’s suit. Then there are also the woollen fabrics, think of a blazer made of tweed. When you know how to style a classic worsted fabric blazer, you will get a lot out of owning such a piece. I personally have not yet found my perfect worsted blazer yet. However, I do own many different woollen blazers made out of tweed fabrics. I love to combine them with jeans and a t-shirt or wear them over dresses. Finding a great wool blazer that is easy to combine with the rest of your closet in terms of cut, colour and fabric might take you a while, but it will be worth it.
I need to be honest here, I don’t yet own wool trousers but I am always fantasizing of owning a pair anytime soon. Whenever I see women pull off a great pair of wool trousers I get a bit envious. With all trousers, the secret here lies in finding the perfect cut that suits you well and that is also comfortable to spend your day in. I find there are two types of wool trousers, the one that blends in as a basic to a more exciting top or blazer and the centrepiece wool trousers that lets the rest of your clothes stand in the background. I think I will go for the latter one some day. When I do, I will let you know. To begin with, pick a dark colour like black, charcoal or navy as these colours will be good to combine with what you already own. Feeling bolder, then you can also try lighter colours like light flannel or a nice check print.
Long Johns or Leggings
I have to admit, that I am a person that tends to feel easily cold. This is why for around 6 months of the year I am wearing wool long johns or leggings underneath my jeans. I just find that super comfortable not to have the wind blow through the jeans onto my skin. As wool is also breathable and temperature regulating, I never feel hot when I am inside in heated rooms. I tend to also wear thin wool leggings in summers when wearing a dress, but that is just me. However, if you are not feeling constantly cold, but do live in an area where you get cold winters, you will still be happy to own some Long Johns to keep you warm and comfortable when active outdoors. But even if you don’t need anything for the cold or for any outdoor activities, I find owning a pair of black wool leggings essential. You can wear them around the house as leisure wear, combine them with a dress or bulky sweater or go and wear them to the gym.
Right after my camisole shirt, my two black and navy wool cardigans are probably my second most worn items I own as they just always seem to fit into my outfit. When you choose a cardigan, go for a basic style that can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt and with your dresses and skirts. The more adaptable your cardigan to your wardrobe the more you will get out of it. The same goes obviously for the colour. I also recommend that you choose a relatively thin knitted wool cardigan so that you can wear it all year round no matter what the temperatures are. I personally love the merino wool cardigans made by Uniqlo. They typically sell during autumn and winter at retail, but you can get them all year round online as well. They always offer a set of basic colours along with some seasonal ones.
A wool sweater is a classic wool item. The variety in styles, colours, patterns, yarn thickness and knits is huge. My recommendation would be to invest into one or two basic machine knitted sweaters which you can combine with a lot of different outfits like wearing it underneath your blazer in winter, or combining it with your favourite type of jeans and skirts. In addition, I like to always have one statement sweater. A sweater that forms the centrepiece of your outfit. These type of sweaters tend to be more chunky and have a creative knit and pattern to them. These type of sweaters might also become your favourite comfy item as it will be cosy and comfortable to wear while traveling or relaxing at home.
Maybe you hated it when your mother made you wear a wool beanie to school in winter. First of all, you thought wearing a beanie didn’t look cool and second of all the beanie was scratchy. The time of scratchy beanies is over, as there are plenty of soft merino wool items available. In addition, there are so many beanie styles out there to ensure you also find the one most suitable for your head and style. As soon as it gets a little bit colder, you see me wearing my beanie. I just find it super comfortable to be protected from wind, cold and rain.
If you don’t like beanies, you should have a look at the felted hats available, they always are a great fashion statement.
I have been made fun of many times, that no matter what the weather, even in hot summer time, I was wearing a wool scarf. Well, we have already established that I get easily cold and I also don’t like air conditioning breathing down my neck. Anyways, as wool is temperature regulating, I never overheat with my wool scarf on, but besides all that, scarfs are such a great statement item to upgrade your outfit. I admit that I might have too many scarfs, but I would always argue that you cannot have too many scarfs (similar to handbags and shoes). I own scarfs in all sorts of colours, patterns, sizes, even beautifully embroidered ones (read more about scarfs here). I have super fine and thin scarves for summer and heavy chunky ones for winter. With a minimalist wardrobe these scarves always can bring an extra twist to your outfit. My favourite scarf is a huge but thin black one that I tend to carry around with me in my handbag. It has served me well as a blanket on an airplane, a blanket to sit on in the park, a pillow to sleep on the train, etc. I recommend that you get one versatile scarf that can be your partner in crime wherever you go.
Another classic wool item is the wool coat. Back in the day, our grandmothers would buy one wool coat and then wear it for 20 years or longer because it would just last so long and look so well. Unfortunately, we went through a fashion time where we did not want our coats to last that long because we were hungry for something new every new winter that came along. And now we are unhappy about our environmental problems. Anyways. A couple of years ago I found a 100% wool coat that I just love. I love the style, the fabric, the colour, the attention to detail. I have worn it every winter for the past 5 years. At some point the lining was kaputt and I got a new lining sewn into it because I just could not part with this coat and the thought of trying to find another new perfect wool coat was too daunting. I am just saying that these perfect wool coats are out there that will make us always well dressed and keep us warm that we no longer wish for a new coat in the next season.
There are so many different types of wool socks that you will be surprised once you look into them. Let’s start with our cosy, comfy winter socks that may have even been hand knitted by someone in your family. My mother knitted me quite a few and I wear them at home and when going to bed but also when I go out into the cold. However, the wool sock world does not stop there. There are wonderful wool socks that are great for sports and outdoor activity in winter and summer that I recommend you check out. And then there are also these beautiful thin and elegant wool socks that are typically worn by men in the business arena. However, I encourage you to dive into these luxurious thin and beautiful socks as they might become your next favourite item.
I hope you enjoyed this list of elementary wool items to complete your wardrobe. Do you have a favourite wool item that you think is missing in this list? Let me know, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.