Designers have a clear vision for the cooler months this season: It's all about the fuzz, with mohair, angora, and fluffy synthetics providing a whole extra layer of soft and shaggy in the most forward looks.
"There's a lot of experimentation with new fabrics, because designers want to work with something other than wool," says Siobhan Bonnouvrier, Allure magazine's fashion director. "There's a ton of fur pieces this season, and I see the fuzzy texture -- mohair, shearling alpaca -- as a very distant relative and an alternative. It's luscious, very comforting, and feels like a fabulous blanket.
Designer Stefania Borras has created a web-only capsule collection using only British mohair for her label, Datura. "I think it's one of the most naturally luxurious fabrics for the winter," says Borras. "It feels like a teddy bear, and for me, how fabrics feel when they're touching your skin is a priority."
And TV style personality and author Jacqui Stafford says the fuzz factor "is very tactile. People want to touch you and hug you, and it's a conversation starter." But she warns against too much of a good thing. It looks best in a monochromatic way, like a fuzzy sweater paired with a sequin skirt."
Bonnouvrier agrees. "Wear one mohair piece, and definitely mix it up with some non-fuzzy pieces so it's not Sasquatch walking down the street."
Here are some tips on extending the life of your natural-fiber fuzzy garments, courtesy of Alan Spielvogel, director of technical services for the National Cleaners Association.
Make room in the fridge: "The wool of angora, cashmere and mohair has an oil content, and when it dries out it loses its hair and the yarns become threadbare," says Spielvogel. To prevent this, wrap specialty garments in a muslin bag (plastic traps humidity) and store in the refrigerator. But wrap it carefully to avoid food smells.
Fold, don't hang: "Any kind of soft woolen should not be put on a hanger, because it stretches out," says Spielvogel.
Dry clean after wearing: Well you'd kind of expect that suggestion from the National Cleaners Association, but Spielvogel is adamant that any kind of perspiration -- even if we can't see or smell it -- draws insects such as moths.