1. Why does wool itch?This is the main obstacle to wearing a wool sweater next to the skin. Many of us still have the bad memory of this hideous hood knitted by our grandmothers to protect us from the cold when we were little, horribly itchy. This phenomenon can be explained quite easily. For that, it is necessary to look at the properties of wool.
And more particularly, on the diameter of its fibers. The larger the diameter, the more solid and rigid the scales of the fiber are. Conversely, the smaller the diameter, the softer and more flexible the fiber. It is therefore necessary to carefully choose the sweater that you want according to the wool used. Thus, a knitted sweater knitted in merino (whose fibers are between 15 and 20 micrometers) does not itch or very little! Alpaca (widely used for women's clothing and increasingly for men's wardrobe) is also recognized as a low-itch wool.
But the nature of the wool is not enough! The treatment it undergoes also directly influences the sensation it provides. To put it simply, after shearing, the wool goes through three cycles: sorting, washing and carding. It is then spun, so we obtain a carded wool, with a "hairy" and irregular aspect. If the length of the fibers allows it, it is possible to add a fourth cycle: combing.
The wool passes through increasingly smaller combs that eliminate the shortest fibers and finish by removing impurities. In addition to ensuring consistent fiber quality, combing results in a much softer, smoother and more even yarn. Perfect for knitting a soft wool sweater!
2. How to soften a virgin wool?However, and despite the fact of choosing virgin merino wool sweaters, it is possible to still have some sensations of discomfort, of an itchy knitting. But don't panic! There are some solutions to make them even more comfortable.
The first is probably the most known but also the most original. It is to put our sweater... in the freezer! The cold has the same properties on the wool fibers as on our skin. Indeed, as the pores close, the scales of the wool fibers will tighten, giving a softer wool.
The process is quite simple to set up: slip your sweater into a freezer bag, leave it in the freezer for two or three days, take it out and wait for it to reach room temperature before putting it on. Soft effect guaranteed and effective for both men and women sweaters.
The second solution is to use glycerine and vinegar. Added to cold water, the two ingredients will act as a homemade softener. You will have to soak your sweater in water for at least 5 minutes for it to be effective. A second wash, with the delicate option, will surely be necessary to remove the vinegar smell. For the drying, we delicately lay down our sweater flat to avoid at most any deformation. Here you are with a very soft sweater for a good moment!
3. The wool, an ally all year longThere's no doubt about it, merino wool is one of the softest fibers. But that's not the only property of this fine knit! In fact, it has more than one trick up its sleeve to accompany you throughout the year.
Its greatest property is undoubtedly to be thermoregulatory. Indeed, merino fibers have the ability to trap small air cushions. Thus, in contact with the heat of the body, they will warm up and adapt to the ambient temperature. This process is very effective in protecting us from the cold of autumn and winter, but it also regulates the humidity of perspiration and, therefore, keeps us cool during the heat of mid-season.
At the same time, merino wool neutralizes bad odors. Indeed, it has a very powerful antibacterial effect: the bacteria responsible for the bad smells have a lot of difficulty to cling to its fibers. Moreover, as the latter are filled with keratin and that they absorb moisture, they destroy almost immediately these bacteria.
Last but not least, the natural and ecological aspect of merino wool. Almost all Merino wool production comes from large flocks in Australia and New Zealand. There, the sheep are only shorn once or twice a year. A natural shearing, without chemicals. Being biodegradable but above all reusable in a different form, a sailor sweater at the end of its life can be reborn as a natural insulator for example.
4. The marine sweater on the skin, a state of mindThe bases laid, let's continue on the subject. But before talking about style, let's talk anecdotes. The navy sweater is not a recent trend, quite the contrary. For the record, you should know that among French celebrities, the two biggest advocates of the navy sweater to the skin were Serge Gainsbourg and Eric Tabarly! Also, many surfers use the marine sweater at the end of the session for its thermoregulatory properties to be warm quickly. The minute history passed, we can now focus on the style to finally answer this question: how to wear a marine sweater on the skin?
The first set is relatively simple and echoes the navy sweater's military past. In his wardrobe, we choose a striped sweater, preferably navy blue. It is associated with a nice five-pocket white pants with a straight cut. The bottom is slightly rolled up. As accessories, we opt for some bracelets in rope, one or two rushes, a pair of sunglasses and a red bandana around the neck. From there, there is only to put on a pair of shoes. And the choice is wide! A pair of derbies mounted on a commando sole for a light dressy effect or a pair of navy blue boat shoes for a more casual side. An outfit that will be part of your summer essentials!
If the navy side of the navy sweater is not for you, it is possible to go with a plain ecru model. Instead of white pants, we opt for a beautiful raw jeans straight. The pants are accompanied by a pair of brown boots relatively discreet and thin. Over the sweater, we can choose a jacket long enough, as a safari jacket or a jungle jacket. For its color, we will obviously prefer the olive green but it is possible to leave on brown or camel, especially for the safari jacket. We can then finish the outfit with a small scarf, a headgear and a leather bag.
This third outfit is almost mandatory when you want to wear your navy sweater directly on the skin. Indeed, it is to associate it with the star of the summer, the shorts. Here, the rules are clearly not fixed and we can then modify the basic outfit according to the pieces, but also the style that we want. To begin, we opt for a navy blue and plain navy sweater. The shorts, in cotton (but it can also be in linen), are white. We add to that a pair of boat shoes (or at least white canvas sneakers) and that's it, the basic outfit is complete. Now let's see how to modify it.
First, the sweater is added white stripes. The shorts are replaced by Bermuda shorts, longer. The latter is chosen in a fabric similar to that of a chino pants: a light cotton twill. The color is also that of a classic chino and is therefore beige. We can add tabs on the sides of the shorts and darts to give it a little more dressed up. The sweater can be covered with a nice navy blue blazer. To optimize the thermoregulating side of the sweater, we will choose a destructured jacket and made in a light and airy fabric. The boat shoes are replaced by a pair of smooth brown leather loafers. An outfit that perfectly defines the casual-chic style.
In short, wearing a navy sweater on the skin is not so complicated. By respecting a few rules but also having in mind the properties of wool, it is possible to make beautiful outfits, either basic or more worked. The ones we have proposed are only sketches, it's up to you to be inspired to find your own style!