in my previous articles on this topic, some have criticized me for me a hopeless old-out-of-date poop when it comes to my preference for wool clothing when it is wet and cold. and, some of the critics have been less than complimentary in their assessments of my intelligence and/or judgment in saying this.
one fellow in a chat room said i was a bit of an idiot for not being with the times, and recommending the latest in military chic synthetics in the wet and cold.
but, there are a couple considerations here that need to be stated, and i missed the mark a bit when i did not bring it up earlier. a bit remiss, you might say.
and, that is cost. and, probably availability in a "crunch" situation. the military stuff is very costly, and it is not as widely distributed as the stuff made from sheep, .e.g., wool.
now, i recommended pendleton and filson as being brands/manufacturers who build sturdy and serviceable clothing. the fact is, however, that wonderfully serviceable stuff that is even more widely available, and worlds cheaper is readily available. it has brand names such as brooks brothers, and trade names such as irish tweed, and the like.
the vendors? why, your local thrift shops, of course.
you can go into any thrift shop, be it the "value village" or "st. vincent de paul's" such as dot my home area, and you can find rack after rack after wrack of old suits, suit jackets and sport jackets, and discarded sweaters for sale at give away prices.
you don't think this stuff is warm and comfy? the next time you are out and about in an urban setting in the cold and damp, or even snow and cold rain, look around you a little bit to what the bums and the homeless wear. they are not dressed in cottons, or synthetics, ... , but, they are dressed in yesteryear's fashions.
how do you think the harris tweed jacket was developed? i do not know for sure, but, i would take a bit of a wager on it, and i would bet it was standard working fare for irish, scottish and british isles sailor in the quest for commercially viable catches of fish. you may think of the lapel as a fashion statement, but, i have worn enough tweed jackets in the dank and damp to know that when you turn the lapels up against the back of your neck, and button the thing to your adam's apple over a good heavy sweater that you are well accoutered.
simple as that.
a good heavy wool suit coat, on top of good heavy pant, over some long johns and a heavy watch sweater, w/ a surplus watch cap, and you are good to go. i don't like heavy synthetic garments, (given that i don't care what anyone says, in my experience they are damp and heavy in really thick weather just as much or more so than good wool), but, i will concede the utility of a light weight gortex shell of good quality over my wool.
but, for the basic outfit, give me wool. surplus or new.
it is durable, ... , i have a twill filson timbercruiser jacket that is 40 years in service, and still going strong. it is easy to take care of, ... , if you want to launder it, don't use heat, agitation or detergent, but simply soak it over night w/out disturbance, in the absolute coldest water you can muster. then hang it to dry, or block it, if you know how to do that. and, i can tell you that if you like to spill butter or cooking oils or other such substances like gun oil on pricey synthetic wear, you really take the utility out of the garment. i don't know what you have to do to take wool out of service.
so, i will go with the wool in a shit hits the fan scenario. i've nothing against the new military chic if that is what you want, ... , but, i think wool performs as well, is cheaper by light years, and is far more durable.
and, one final matter. in the pacific north west, i can wear my pendletons and my filsons in open company, polite or notorious, and not raise an eyebrow. i don't think the same can be said about the military chic synthetics ... you wear them, and you stand out like a sore thumb.
john jay @ 07.30.2013
p.s. i am not of the bill gates clan, so my finances are at a bit of a reach if i buy an orange julius. but, if i had the money ... .
you want some good outer wear. give "dale of norway" a gander. they make jackets and pants out of a knit wool that is mildly felted to close the knit a bit. the stuff is as tough as heavy duty tow strapping. it's incredible. you will also have to ransom your eldest born good looking daughter to afford it. but, this is good stuff.
i would take it over any military clothing devised anywhere, unless that military is scandanavian and wears "dale of norway" fabricated stuff.
i only wished pendleton or filson made the same sort of item. i'd ransom my daughter. any day of the week. sorry amelia, but, you haven't bought me any for christmas, so i gotta sell ya. laughing.