Know Your Terms: Shearling

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

Shearling: Not Hazardous for Your Health (well, unless you're a sheep)

Okay, gents, there are two angles to this one: What shearling is supposed to mean, and then what it actually means. In the former category, the term refers to an animal pelt (usually sheep or lamb) where the wool has been cropped to an even length, while the opposite side has been tanned or treated. These days, though, most “shearling” is created not out of a single hide, but by affixing nicely shorn wool via adhesive to an already treated piece of suede or finished leather. Regardless of how it’s put together, though, it’s a classic and functional look that was famously employed for bomber jackets (which were first made of horse pelts) worn by dashing WWII pilots. Shearling—named in England for the yearling (or once-shorn) sheep whence they come—is also a staple in any ranch hand’s wardrobe: Just ask Mister Marlboro here.

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