Perceived as more of a sturdy old friend rather than the latest of men’s fashion, you can still trust the shearling jacket to help you make a statement this season, despite its apparent familiar feel. As the trends rise and fall, the men’s shearling works as a steady option that allows you to get your autumn and winter wear up to date. Versatile, warm, mixing tradition with current styles, the shearling jacket can easily become a core piece of your entire fall / winter 2013 wardrobe.

After the break, a look at how to wear shearling this season along with top picks of which pieces to buy.

mens shearling jackets

Men’s shearing for fall 2013.

While it must work with your budget and complement your overall aesthetic, the shearling jacket for you is definitely out there. As with any other fall coat, the act of purchasing a shearling piece should be treated as an investment. So the more you are willing to spend, the more it will read in the quality of your jacket. And while it’s likely to encounter a lot of cheap faux shearlings amongst your favourite retailers, remember that nothing stands against the real deal. Sometimes the cheaper version just isn’t worth the money.

The shearling jacket: styling tips.

The casual way.

Come the colder months of fall and winter, most men tend to embrace a comfortable and practical style that reads casual. However that doesn’t necessarily imply sacrificing style for warmth. If your wardrobe brims with casual basics, you can still elevate your future outfits by the means of a fashionable shearling jacket.

Things to consider:

  • Even if you’re going to use the shearling jacket in casual combinations, don’t give up on quality; after all, looking fake is not really an option for a confident and knowledgeable man
  • Choose a jacket that withholds at least a few eye-catching elements, regardless if we’re talking fabric, colour palette or a handful of useful pockets
  • For a flawless casual approach seek the jacket in wool, denim, cotton-blend or a lightly padded leather
  • The shearling jacket isn’t your typical easy to pull off trend, so choose one this fall only after examining your overall aesthetic. If the style fits and the budget allows it, go for it

How to style it:

  • When styling a shearling jacket the casual way, always think in terms of your own wardrobe and don’t go over the top
  • Wear the jacket on top of a white basic tee, with a pair of fitted jeans and a pair of leather boots in order to achieve a timeless look
  • Use a plaid shirt, raw denim or another pair of casual trousers with chunky shoes, and top the look with a shearling-collar bomber jacket
  • For a stroll through the city, pick-up a denim shirt, add a sweatshirt on top, use a pair of slim-fit jeans and a pair of polished boots; throw a wool bomber jacket on and you’re done
  • In terms of warm layers to wear under the shearling jacket, combine plain t-shirts with warm hoodies, cotton shirts with light sweaters, or t-shirts with basic sweatshirts; for the colder days layer the shearling on top of a knitted sweater worn underneath a denim jacket

Men's shearling jackets for fall
As seen at Dries Van Noten F/W ’13 men’s and Christopher Kane F/W ’13 men’s

The sharp casual way.

We should begin by saying that particular jackets only are suited to the sharp casual style. They must withhold a certain sophistication and add to a look that already brims with masculine elegance. This sartorial mainstay gone luxurious fits the man for whom a little bit of sharpness goes a long way.

Things to consider:

  • Here is where the best of quality comes as a must, there’s no faking it, so pick up only the finest of the shearlings out there
  • Seek the jacket in heavyweight/sturdy leather and colors ranging from warm creams, deep browns, rich burgundies and light grays, all the way to midnight blues and timeless black
  • A slick execution, some fine details and a bold play on proportions should define your sharp casual pick for the season

How to style it:

  • For an extra air of sophistication opt for a monochrome or otherwise perfectly colour-coordinated look, building your outfit as to highlight and complement your choice of a shearling jacket (light vs. light, dark vs. dark, etc.)
  • As foundation for your sharp looks, a crisp formal shirt shouldn’t be missing from your wardrobe; paired to a tie, a cashmere jumper, a pair of wool trousers and a pair of brogue boots, it will serve to accent the exclusive feel of a well-chosen jacket
  • Layered on top of a perfectly tailored suit is another way of sporting the shearling jacket come fall and winter; in order to work, they both must be impeccably cut and well-fitting
  • A Merino wool rollneck sweater in the same colour as the wool pair of trousers, accessorized with a pair of lace-up boots and an oversized bag will score you points for another sharp casual take on this season’s shearling
  • A knitted sweater in a bold color, set against neutral-hued trousers, worn with a pair of monk strap brogues and a classic shearling will end up feeling just as effortless

Men's shearling jackets for fall
As seen at Salvatore Ferragamo F/W ’13 men’s and Bottega Veneta F/W’ 13 men’s

Men’s shearling: trend evolution.

Men’s shearling was an on-trend element last autumn / winter as well. Much of what we said then is still relevant now.

In 2012, we told you that the one phrase that you should never utter goes as follows:

“I’m wearing Persian Lamb.”

To utter it would be akin to saying “see my lovely shearling collar? It’s made from the skin of newborn lambs.” Lambs, in the plural. And by lambs I potentially mean unborn lambs. Or guaranteeably no older than 3 day old lambs. It won’t just be PETA that hates you for it – this is the sartorial equivalent of dressing in the hope of never getting laid again, or perhaps yourself being mulesed. Lambs are universally found to be cute and adorable, people fawn over them even if a lamb’s dawn bleets are amongst the most annoying sounds on Earth.

With the return of shearling, Persian Lamb is amongst the trend’s elements. Wear shearling if you like, but if you venture into the realm of something that remotely resembles Persian Lamb refer to it just as “shearling”, your “nice wool collar” or pray for the opportunity to mutter “faux” under your breath.

Shearling is a detail. It’s always a statement and sometimes even something functional as it prevents the blistering winter wind from causing permanent chill damage to your neck. And because it’s a fashion trend gradually evolving across different seasons, you’re going to encounter it on jackets and coats in a way that feels immediately familiar. Not familiar in a way that makes shearling feel done and dusted, but more so in the sense that what you’re looking at doesn’t bring anything new to the equation.

Take the use of shearling in Gucci’s men’s collection as an example. Beautifully coloured, each piece is dark without being black. The shearling is sumptious but remains as trim. Each coat or jacket would be warmly welcomed in any guy’s wardrobe. And yet none are going to set the world on fire.

mens gucci shearling jackets

Men’s shearling jackets at Gucci, F/W ’12

If that’s a limitation of shearling, if shearling is now the equivalent of an on-trend, trusty old friend, how do you make it a statement?

Men’s shearling: the looks that accompany it

By pairing it with the this winter’s other statements. By using it as a detail to heighten another seasonal look.

Shearling bomber jackets.

Whether made with an air of minimalism or a sumptious texture, men’s bomber jackets have replaced the cropped parka as the casual jacket statement to make. Shearling and bomber jackets go hand in hand.

shearling bombers for men

Men’s shearling bombers at Hermes and Dior Homme, F/W ’12

Here you have options aplenty, ranging from the neutral tones of Hermes to the shine of Costume National and Christian Lacroix to Dior Homme’s army infused bomber jacket.

patent leather and shearling mens jackets

Patent leather shearling jackets at Costume National and Christian Lacroix, F/W ’12

Extending shearling beyond aviation

Yes, bomber jackets are an aviation look. But while our love affair with men’s military fashion has receded to be little more than a colour choice, the aviation inspired interpretation of the look never quite became ubiquitious for men. And so it has remained and extends the aviator look beyond leather bombers. For a marrying of aviation with shearling, you can’t look past Ermenegildo Zegna’s classicist interpretation of the two looks.

mens shearling collared coats

Men’s shearling collared coats at Zegna, F/W ’12

Shearling with the blues and blacks

It’s fair to say that winter wardrobes are often laden with blacks; very dark blues replace them this season, however. And it’s here that you might encounter the aforementioned Persian Lamb whose black curls compliment the midnight blues of this trend. There are alternatives (aren’t there always in fashion?) and you’ll find the likes of Dries Van Noten using dyed shearling as an alternative.

shearling mens jacket navy and black

Shearling men’s jacket in dark blue and black, Dries Van Noten F/W ’12

Shearling and animal prints

It autumn 2011 was all about tribal prints, then we’d be amiss not to mention the prevelance of animal prints amongst autumn 2012’s collections. Here shearling comes full circle with a natural pelt cut complimenting animal prints from the likes of Dior Homme.

animal print shearling for men

Animal print and shearling for men, Dior Homme F/W ’12

Cropped duffle

Burberry are amongst the largest proponents of shearling – military is Burberry’s thing and the military have long taken advantage of shearling’s natural properties. So it comes as no surprise to see Burberry Prorsum utilise shearling alongside their interpretation of this season’s cropped jacket over suit trend. Something of a cropped bomber jacket, here Prorsum have styled black shearling against a casual charcoal.

shearling burberry mens jacket

Shearling men’s jacket at Burberry Prorsum, F/W ’12

You only get what you pay for.

It’s likely that you’ll encounter a lot of shearling amongst the shops you’ll frequent for your winter wardrobe. You’ll see the real and you’ll see the imitation, the latter being predominant amongst fast-fashion retailers.

There’s nothing wrong with imitation shearling per se. But the quality has to be apparent. While we’ll always turn our noses at fake watches and handbags, fake furs and fake shearling don’t attract the same scorn. Sometimes they even wear better. But they have to be quality imitations.

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