Sayonara faux fur, shearling is our favourite fuzzy friend this winter. Thanks to a slew of designers, from JW Anderson to Coach, shearling has shaken off any lingering associations with Del Boy and been given a thoroughly contemporary spin (although we do have a soft spot for the Peckham local's penchant for teaming a shearling jacket with a turtleneck and gold jewellery).
Suede or leather shearling – essentially skin from a recently shorn sheep with its wool left on – was worn by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples in cold climates like Alaska and Canada for years before it was popularised in the West by the uniform of American Air Force pilots in the 1940s. Its flexibility, durability and warmth proved it to be the most comfortable material to fly in.
Next came James Dean, who gave shearling leather jackets a rebellious edge on the silver screen in the '50s. By the '60s, the likes of Pattie Boyd were wearing longline shearling and suede Afghan coats, traditional overcoats imported from Kabul and Kandahar by Craig Sams, who sold them to It Girls (and Boys) through his King's Road boutique. Fast-forward to the 1980s and shearling made its way back to cropped styles, this time in checks and denim (see Stranger Things' Nancy Wheeler for throwback inspiration). More recently, shearling jackets of all kinds were spotted throughout the 2010s, from Kenzo x H&M to Sandy Liang and Ulla Johnson, with plenty of faux options (now commonly called 'borg') available for staying cruelty-free.
No matter which era you go for, there's no denying the universal appeal of shearling. Click through to find the best fuzzy jackets to see you through the cold season.
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