Saturday, 7 November 2009

Snuggle up in the Perfect Sheepskin Jacket

I hate being cold! I really, really hate being cold! And if you can imagine me now, I'm sitting here writing to you in a huge, unheated (hubby's too mean until the kids come home) barn of a house with a five foot radiator about six inches away from me wearing snow boots, actually because I've just taken the dogs out, a cashmere sweater and a fleece with the sleeves pulled down to almost cover my fingers - and yes, I've just ordered some wristwarmers which I hope will arrive next week.

So, having lived in this house for a very long time with a man who apparently doesn't feel the cold and three kids who aren't around most of the time, and being foolish enough to work from home, I have become something of an expert about sheepskin/shearling (call it what you like). Not only that, but I've collected a few key pieces as well over time, none of which I could bear to part with.

There is nothing as warm as sheepskin, and if you haven't invested in a coat, jacket, gilet or boots then now's the time to do so, unless you want to wait for the sales which, for high quality sheepskin, are few and far between and you may well freeze first.

Those of you living in well heated homes will probably be about to stop reading but remember last winter? I'd get to the end and then decide.

There are two kinds of sheepskin you really want to be interested in, Toscana; which is very soft and fluffy, or Merino; soft but flatter. My favourite is without a doubt Toscana, and my favourite jacket of all time my black Joseph flying jacket which I've had for a long, long time. The great thing about all of this is that sheepskin lasts for years and provided you fall in love with a modern/classic style your investment will be worth every penny. Trust me. I know these things.

You can spend a fortune here, designers tend to create just a few pieces each season and whether you're looking for them online or offline you won't be spoilt for choice and you will pay an enormous amount. Sheepskin specialists are few and far between, by far my favourite is Celtic Sheepskin, where they not only know what they're doing, they update their styles each season and you can see everything, beautifully photographed and online, so you don't even have to leave your fireside to order. Incidentally there are some great gift ideas here as well, such as glorious warm sheepskin slippers and, if you want to go that far, sheepskin steering wheel covers.

When one of my kids used to play in regular rugby matches throughout the cold months the only way you could drag me there was head to toe in sheepskin and I stayed warm while everyone else shivered. In the end I used to take a spare and lend it to the coldest person there. Altruistic? Moi? But of course.

Here's a selection of great sheepskin, leather and suede jackets and gilets plus the ever popular sheepskin boots - how can you live without them?