Hey Sid!

Cashball

Hey Sid!

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“I'm a furniture designer, and travel to Paris and Cologne every January for trade shows. I always struggle with what coat to take for the cold weather there - I want something relatively warm, not too bulky, and stylish. Something that looks good over jeans and Chelsea boots, but not too casual. For a couple of years, I carried a Barbour, but it really isn't that warm, considering how heavy it is. Do you have any suggestions? I really don't want to look like I'm wearing a ski parka” – Dudley M., via email

last year at the Nasher Sculpture Center in the Traveler's Trench'

last year at the Nasher Sculpture Center in the Traveler's Trench

Thank you Dudley… we feel your packing pain on this one, and for this exact reason we designed a jacket with travel in mind called the Traveler's Trench. (I take it with me on virtually every trip. See Instagram for proof.) And this season we made a second version that's filled with cashmere*. If that sounds a bit over-the-top, stick with me here.

First off, it's essentially a navy trench coat, so it goes with everything, from your jeans and Chelsea boots, to… hell, even a tuxedo. The length is both stylish and slenderizing and gives you coverage down to your knee, which I love. And the nylon is water-repellent, so it's great if you get hit with a little wind or rain or sleet or snow. The silhouette is just a little more refined… I like that sort of 1960s undercover look. It's a little Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. It’s very put together in a quietly strong way.

Second, let’s talk about the Cashball lining because it is FANTASTIC. It’s an insulation made of recycled cashmere fibers from garments & remnants that are mixed with mircrofibers and spun into a new raw material, all of which creates a highly compressible, wind-resistant, super-lightweight & warm alternative to goose-down or poly-fill. And it’s breathable, so it’s NOT gonna act like a terrarium. You shouldn’t start sweating on the inside when you’re wearing it. (Sometimes a Macintosh – which I love – can do that because of its rubberized lining.)

Instead of simply throwing the remnants away, the mill collects them and processes them. It’s as resourceful as it is warm.

It also allows some versatility to bundle up, with our other travel must-have, a fine-gauge cashmere sweater underneath… maybe a scarf, gloves, a hat if it's really cold. And if you get a weird sunny day in the 60s – or rather, 17ish Celsius – it’ll do a decent job of warding off the wind. Or you can just peel it off and pack it up. It’s lightweight enough to do that. (And you’re right, a Barbour definitely isn’t.)

Now the spy look might not be your thing. If not, my other go-to is our down vest. I love, love a down vest. I will wear it either under a jacket as a layering piece, because it will give me plenty of warmth. I also wear it under a sport coat, and I have no compunction about wearing it over a sport coat. And when you first see it, you might think, “that looks a little unusual.” But when you get your eyes accustomed to it, you may actually like the look! It’s almost like it’s part of the outfit in a way… like you’re wearing tweed sleeves with a nylon body. The Italians love it.

jacket and vest from way back - Milwaukee Art Museum 2007

Paris can be fickle in the winter… it can be sunny and pleasant, but in comes the rain and the wind and it'll drop down to the 40s quickly. Not something you want to get stuck in! (Now’s the time for that cashmere sweater.) At the end of the day I always ask myself, how do I take as little as possible, and how can I accomplish as many of my needs as possible, without having to overpack? So for me a Traveler's Trench, a down vest, and a fine-gauge cashmere sweater are my trifecta.

Have a great trip and enjoy the steak frites.

Rock the cashball…

From Sid

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