Too Wool for Winter School

Winter layering and picking the right knits.

Back in primary my mum would make me and my sisters wear wool skivvies under our clothes – despite the breach of school uniform – even when it wasn’t that cold. Embarrassed, I would stuff it back in my bag until three o’clock when she came to pick us up. Yet whilst I looked like an Asian Steve Jobs topping my 6th grade class, unknowingly mom was schooling me in another way.


Wool has superior insulating properties making it perfect for winter. It has tiny air pockets in the fibres that are warmed up when exposed to body heat and because of the natural oils and springy nature of wool fibres, these air pockets are so deeply embedded into the cloth that heat is about the only thing that can really get to it. On the other hand cotton, which has a much more tightly woven structure, can be easily penetrated by water, dirt, and gust, making it less of an insulator.

But even with the best wool, winter always seems to find a way to make your nipples perk through just about anything if you don’t layer up.


On colder days especially, if you ever plan to wake up to catch the sunrise over the sea in Sydney, you should double up on the wool and turn up in the right duds. Something warm like a shawl collared knit under a sports jacket keeps things fairly chill. But for those who got straight fire, a textured flannel sports jacket and shawl knit jumper shouts a little louder. Mixing busy patterns like a gun-club check with a variety of earthy shades of taupe also keeps things visually interesting.


Equally important is where you source your layers. Brands with an outdoor-wear pedigree like the New-Zealand based Rodd & Gunn, design knits with cooler climates in mind. The use of heavier grades of merino wool which offer superior durability and drape are perfect for that outerwear layering. Additionally since knitwear is worn close to the body it’s also important to consider designs that are both functional and stylish. Though V-neck and crew-necks will often do the job just fine something more mature like a shawl collar knit will deter people from treating you like a 12 year old.

That is, if you don’t have a mum like mine.


David wears:

Taupe Shawl-Collared Knit — Rodd & Gunn

Beige Gun Club Check Sports Jacket — Brooks Brothers

Italian Villa Pocket Square — Rubinacci

Striped Shirt — Rhodes & Beckett 

Green Wool Lacquard Necktie — M.J. Bale

Grey Flannel Flat Cap — Borsalino

Navy Cotton Chino – Banana Republic

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