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Vegan Wear

Cold Weather Clothing - What's a Vegan to Wear?
by Cynthia Mosher

With ice storms already hitting some parts of the US and Europe, those shopping for warm vegan winter wear are seeking out the warmest, most comfortable, animal friendly garments they can find. Are the options far and few between? Not at all. Here's a mini primer on vegan outerwear to help you shop consciously this winter.

The Vegan Pea Coat

What, you ask, is a pea coat? Traditionally, it is a heavy wool outer coat worn by sailors of European navies. The term "pea coat" originated from the Dutch or West Frisian word pijjekker, in which pij referred to the type of cloth used, which was called "Pilot cloth" (P-cloth), a coarse kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side. Pea coats usually have broad lapels and are double-breasted with large buttons and vertical pocket openings. Vegan pea coats are made of velvet, corduroy, cotton sateen, polartec, or faux suede. Once considered a luxury garment, it is now very popular among the college crowd.

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The Hemp Hoodlam

Hemp is the strongest vegetable fiber on the planet. Not only are there some gorgeous and very warm hemp fabrics that are soft, durable and machine washable, hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow. Listen to this interview with Hempest co-founder Jon Napoli who explains the history of hemp and hemp fabric. Hemp Hoodlam jackets and coats are mostly casual outergarments with front zippers. Nicely lined, they can be a perfect cold winter coat. The long coats are quite attractive .

Other Coats - Faux Fur, Faux Suede, Faux Wool, Faux Leather

Many faux garments are machine washable and feel remarkably like the genuine thing. Hats, gloves, jackets, and socks all carry over well using faux materials and are a warming necessity for anyone living in colder areas.

Faux fur can be gorgeous! There are garments made for women, men and children now including faux fur leg warmers, muffs, and ear muffs. Faux leather done really well is as attractive as it is ethical and may have your vegan friends and family wondering if you've abandoned their ranks! Look for faux leather jackets and coats with a high quality lining that will keep you warm in the icy winter months. Otherwise, plan on layering to keep yourself as warm as you need.



Boots Practically a snowy weather necessity, vegan boots are so easy to find and are being embraced by non-vegans as well for their quality and comfort. If you're shopping at a store not devoted to vegan wear, be sure you ask about the material used for the soles.



Gloves, Hats, and Caps

Non-leather gloves are fairly easy to find and reasonable in price. Faux suede gloves are luscious all alone but they make a great insert glove to wear as a lining to a non-leather vegan outer glove for protection from bitter cold. Get yourself a pair of outergloves a size larger if you'll be wearing a liner glove. You can also find some wonderfully warm chenille gloves



Knitted

Vegan knitters have a multitude of natural textile choices for warm yarns - cotton, corn fiber, hemp, bamboo, and soy silk are all nice, animal friendly fibers. Faux cashmere is luxurious - Felt Studio UK has some gorgeous faux cashmere yarn. Bamboo Feather is a bulky bamboo and nylon yarn that makes beautiful and cuddly warm tops, scarves, hats. It would make a cool paid of socks too! And just for fun - knit yourself a vegan fox wrap.










Where to Find:
These companies carry vegan friendly outerwear. Some sell only vegan products while others offer non-vegan items as well so shop carefully.

Lands' End http://www.landsend.com/
Pangea http://www.veganstore.com
Vegetarian Shoes and Bags http://www.vegetarianshoesandbags.com/
Alternative Outfitters http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com
American Eagle http://www.ae.com
Hempest http://www.hempest.com
Burlington Coat Factory http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com
Fabulous Furs http://fabulousfurs.com/
Charly Calder http://www.charlycalder.cc
One Fine Yarn http://www.onefineyarn.com
Felt Studio UK http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_gallery_1&listing_id=15954785
The Black Stitch http://theblackstitch.com/yarrn/cottonsock.htm
Soy silk yarn - http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=5533337


Cynthia Mosher is the Editor of VegFamily, the Magazine for Vegan Family Living.
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