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Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Advisor

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Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Mentor

Non-Wool Winter Coat Alternatives

Burberry lined trench at Buberry.com

Q:How to avoid the itchy winter coat when you are allergic

I am extremely allergic to wool. However, I love the look of wool winter dress coats, particularly pea coats.

I have been trying for years to find a coat that is fashionable and professional as well as warm enough for winter. As if that is not enough, I need an alternative to wool, because as I stated before wool makes me break out in hives. Please help me to be both fashionable and warm this winter. (via email)


Coming from someone who spent a chunk of her childhood being pricked and prodded at the allergist’s office, I can commiserate.

BB Dakota Sprouse non-wool peacoat

There certainly are plenty of alternatives to a wool coat that are stylish and won’t itch you to death. Instead of obsessing about what you can’t wear, explore styles that are fabricated to suit your needs.

Look for “all weather” coats with a warm lining and you can almost guarantee that they will not be wool. You may not find a peacoat but you will certainly find some gorgeous all weather trench coats that are just as chic, like the Burberry one pictured.

Vegan faux wool coats are another idea as they are all synthetic, like the adorable BB Dakota Sprouse red pea coat or the BB Dakota Royalty Coat that are a poly/viscose/spandex blend.

There are also plenty of puffer styles that are either down, polyfill, or a combination that have city style appeal. Faux furs or shearling coats are other suggestions. You can get the style you like just in a different fabrication.

BB Dakota Royalty Coat – is a non- wool, poly/rayon/spandex blend

This will cause another visit to the allergist for testing, but you may also want to check to see if you are allergic to all wools as 100% cashmere may be another option and it comes from goats not sheep. Alpaca or camelhair is another thought.

Most– but not all– poly/acrylic blends coats have some degree of wool in them. Some have a very small percentage of wool that you may not be sensitive to- check the labels and check with your doctor. I would wear the coat in the store for a while to see if you get a reaction.

It is difficult but not impossible to find an entirely synthetic coat with the look of wool, but it’s the coat itself that has the style appeal, not the fabric.

Don’t be bogged down on what restricts you and open your eyes to new styles. The search may be a bit more difficult but if you only focus on what works for you, it will be that much easier.


We found some more non-wool coats:


Just Ask:
Are you feeling a little less than haute these days? Don’t worry, we can make it work. Just ask Sharon and her team of experts for some rocking fashion advice.


Published on January 16, 2010

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