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The Naturals

The Naturals

posted: 08/14/2001

Wool: Warm, even when wet, but scratchy next to the skin, right? Not anymore. Through better breeding, sheep have gotten a little softer. Meanwhile, the people who process their fleece have gotten better at it. What hasn't changed is wool's unbeatable warmth.

Three brands-Smartwool, Icebreaker and Ibex-lead a return to basics, offering base and midlayer products made of 100 percent merino wool. Styles are street-ready (so you don't look like you're wearing underwear après), and since wool is naturally antimicrobial, body odor can't take hold.

Wool isn't the only natural fiber being pressed back into service in modern times. A Vermont company, Xpos, will make you a classically styled shirt made of silk, synthetics, X-Static odor-guard fiber and a not-so-secret ingredient: baby alpaca fleece.

1 Smartwool Versaweight zip-T, $90, 100 percent merino wool. Machine wash and dry.

2 Icebreaker crew top, $59, 100 percent merino wool. Machine wash; lay flat to dry.

3 Xpos zip crew, $169, 25 percent baby alpaca fleece, 10 percent silk, 58 percent polypropylene, 7 percent X-Static fiber. Dry clean or machine wash; lay flat to dry.

4 Ibex Woolies zip T-neck, $59, 100 percent merino wool; machine wash; lay flat to dry.


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