Spring has sprung and the thermostat is starting to rise. As we enter the hot (and even hotter) months I am reminded of a chat I had with an employee in a clothing shop in Oslo the second summer we lived there. I was shopping for a t-shirt and the employee recommended I give merino wool a try. I responded that wool was for winter and it would be stifling...to which the employee pointed out that merino is actually not an insulator, but instead, is a natural wicking, breathable material. I may have said, "whatever", but I bought a merino tee just the same and brought it on our next trip which found us in Budapest in 100 degree heat. Turns out the wise soul in the shop was correct and the merino wool tee was light, breathable and perfect for the triple digit warmth.
Attributes of Wool.
During our travels in Europe and since we have opened Aktiv we have learned about so many attributes of wool. Due to wool's antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties one can wear that a wool garment time and again without needing to wash it. Wool pushes away the microbes that trap smells so effectively that you can wear an item multiple times without any smell.
Wool can still be washed, in fact, it responds quite well to machine washing on the delicate cycle with cold water, but it is not needed. If you choose to wash your wool items, we HIGHLY recommend that you keep them out of the dryer. Heat and agitation make wool shrink so hang drying is always the best option. Keeping clothes out of the wash cycle significantly lengthens their life which is better for you and the planet.
Wool also has a natural elasticity which allows it to stretch when needed and then coil back so as not to be oversized. In addition, when in more humid climates (read:not Colorado) wool will work out wrinkles by being hung. You can iron wool but you should either use lower temps or put a cloth between the iron and the wool to dissipate some of the heat.
Favorites for this season
When we started Aktiv we wanted to bring merino for summer to the United States. This is our fifth warm weather season and the best year yet for quality products.
Wool t-shirts are how we began this journey and something we will always carry. We have 100% merino tees from Ivanhoe for men and women that are fantastic. We also love the Lucie Tee by Kari Traa for women! We carry a wool blend from Elevenate for women and men that is perfect for hiking. We also carry the long sleeve version for men!
Need a collar? Ivanhoe is back with wool polo shirts that are blended with Tencel (a byproduct of the lumber industry). The Lias for men and the Sia for women will feel at home at work, out for dinner or in a far-flung museum!
No Chronicle would be complete without a mention of vests...our favorite article of clothing. Wool vests in the summer can hide wrinkles on an oxford shirt, keep your core warm if a thunderstorm rolls through and be a handy place to keep your phone. Ivanhoe (again!!!) produces some of our favorites with the new Hadar for men and the Flora for women... Lovely!