Within the past few weeks, I’ve had FOUR clients with the same issue: itchiness and rashes when wearing wool. This was enough to prompt me to share some pointers on how to handle such an annoying situation, especially when it’s winter time and wool is frolicking in fabric contents everywhere.
After some very in-depth Googling, I’ve learned that a true wool allergy is rare, while sensitivity to wool is much more common. And to get even more particular, people are often reacting to the stuff in the wool (i.e. lanolin, allergens) as opposed to the fiber itself. But I don’t really care about all that stuff, and neither do my clients. What matters is that it freakin’ itches when you put it on.
So, what can be done to avoid wool and still dress with ease? Here are a few pointers:
-You don’t have to give up wool entirely. If your sensitivity is mild, you can often be okay with wearing wool as long as it doesn’t touch your skin. When it comes to suits or suit separates, seek out pieces that are lined, OR have a lining put in. This is a common thing that tailors do for wool suits.
-Learn the art of the layer! This may sound like common sense, but I’m gonna say it anyway. If you’re in the mild sensitivity camp, you can still get away with wearing that wool sweater, as long as it’s not touching the skin. Opt for a thin, long-sleeved tee underneath. This is that rare instance where I’d say a turtleneck is also okay, so that your neck is protected too.
-Get to know other fabrics. As spring stuff is coming into stores, there are definitely other good fabrics to choose from. For suits and work separates: Look to Calvin Klein for a poly-rayon blend, Theory for dressier cotton and cotton blend, and Rachel Zoe for trendier poly blend styles. For casual sweater-y things: Try out J.Crew or 525 America.
Here’s to less itching in 2012!