What is the difference between shearling and sheepskin?
Let's explore the nuances that set shearling jackets apart from sheepskin jackets.
A shearling leather jacket is a type of outerwear made from sheepskin, typically the skin of young sheep or lambs. The defining feature of shearling is that it is tanned with the wool still attached. This creates a luxurious and warm material that is soft to the touch and provides excellent insulation.
The process of creating shearling involves carefully removing the wool from the sheepskin, preserving it in its natural state. The result is a jacket with a suede exterior and a plush, soft interior made of the retained wool. The combination of these two layers makes shearling jackets exceptionally warm and comfortable, making them a popular choice for cold weather.
One of the key advantages of shearling jackets is their natural insulation properties. The wool acts as a natural insulator, regulating body temperature by trapping and retaining heat. This makes shearling jackets suitable for various weather conditions, from chilly autumn days to freezing winter temperatures.
The suede exterior of shearling jackets also adds a touch of sophistication and style. The texture and appearance of suede give these jackets a timeless and classic look, making them a versatile wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down.
It's important to note that shearling jackets come in various styles, including bomber jackets, aviator jackets, and more. Each style offers a unique take on the shearling look, catering to different preferences and fashion sensibilities.
On the other hand, a sheepskin jacket is a broader term that encompasses a range of outerwear made from the hide of sheep. Unlike shearling, a sheepskin leather jacket may or may not have the wool attached during the tanning process. In some cases, the wool is removed, resulting in a smooth leather exterior.
Sheepskin jackets with the wool intact are essentially shearling jackets, as they share the same basic construction. However, when the wool is removed, the jacket takes on a different aesthetic and functional quality. Without the wool, the jacket becomes thinner and may require additional insulation for warmth.
Sheepskin jackets with a smooth leather exterior are often more streamlined and sleek in appearance. They lack the plush interior of shearling jackets but may compensate for this by incorporating other lining materials for insulation. This variation makes sheepskin jackets suitable for milder temperatures or for individuals who prefer a lighter jacket without sacrificing the style associated with sheepskin.
Comparing Shearling and Sheepskin Jackets:
Insulation and Warmth:
Shearling jackets excel in insulation and warmth due to the retained wool. They are ideal for extremely cold climates.
Sheepskin jackets may vary in insulation, with wool-intact versions providing similar warmth to shearling, while those without may require additional layers in colder weather.
Shearling jackets have a classic and timeless look, often associated with luxury and sophistication.
Sheepskin jackets offer versatility, with both textured wool and smooth leather variations catering to different style preferences.
Weight and Thickness:
Shearling jackets tend to be thicker and heavier due to the retained wool, providing a cozy and substantial feel.
Sheepskin jackets can be lighter, especially when the wool is removed, offering a more lightweight option for those who prefer less bulk.
Shearling jackets are well-suited for cold temperatures and harsh winters.
Sheepskin jackets, depending on the style and construction, can be suitable for milder temperatures or layered for colder climates.
Shearling jackets come in various styles, including bombers, aviators, and more, offering a wide range of fashion choices.
Sheepskin jackets offer diversity in style, from the rugged and outdoorsy to more refined and urban designs.
While shearling and sheepskin jackets both originate from sheepskin, the key difference lies in the treatment of the wool during the tanning process. Shearling jackets retain the wool, providing exceptional warmth and a classic look, while sheepskin jackets encompass a broader category that includes both wool-intact and smooth leather variations, catering to different preferences and climates. Whether you prioritize insulation, style, or versatility, understanding the distinctions between shearling and sheepskin jackets allows you to make an informed choice based on your individual needs and tastes.