A Short Introduction to Loden Coats

AN ELEGANT STYLE FROM EUROPE

If you’ve spent any time during the colder months in Europe, particularly the Alpine region, you’ve probably seen some beautiful long flowing Loden Wool Outerwear, even if you didn’t know that’s what it was called.

Even if you haven’t seen Loden coats in their native region, maybe a friend returning from Germany was wearing a beautiful wool coat and you wondered, what kind of coat is that?  Well now you know, it was a Loden coat.

Colloquially Loden refers to a style of long overcoat originating in the Austrian Alpine region of Tirol. However technically it refers to just the fabric these coats are made out of. In fact, Loden can be used for all types of outerwear, pants and even home furnishings like upholstery, pillows and blankets.

Click here to see the Robert W. Stolz WOMEN’S Collection of Loden Wool Outerwear

Click here to see the Robert W. Stolz MEN’S Collection of Loden Wool Outerwear

THE ADVANTAGES OF LODEN WOOL

What makes a Loden fabric a ‘Loden’ is the extensive wet-finishing process the loosely woven wool fabric goes through, resulting in a denser fabric. It’s difficult to generalize more than that because Loden fabric can be made in a variety of weights and finishes depending on the intended use. However, most likely the Loden is used in a Loden Coat or Blazer (Mantel or Janker in German) so the fabric typically weighs between 300 – 600 grams/meter (13 – 16 oz.).

The hours long wet-finishing process uses warm soapy water and tension to shrink the fabric. It is similar to felting but technically quite different because the fabric has already been woven. This process interlocks the individual wool fibers, assisted by the natural microscopic ‘barbs’ on each fiber. This results in millions of microscopic air pockets that give Loden its famous temperature regulating ability. It will keep you warm but also breathe as your body temperature heats up hiking up a mountain, (or on a walk in the park 🙂

Finally, the Loden fabric is brushed and napped repeatedly until the desired drape and finish is achieved. The brushing not only makes it soft, but also aligns the fibers giving the fabric its famous water repelling ability, like shingles on a roof.

ORIGIN OF LODEN

It’s important to remember, Loden was designed centuries ago for a very utilitarian purpose; to keep Alpine Herdsmen warm and dry through freezing cold wet winters.  The technique of making Loden was developed using the herdsmen’s own sheep wool out of necessity and the weight of the fabrics were much heavier than what is commonly used today. The fabric was also as a cape more often than a sleeved coat.

Even though Loden coats are not designed for survival purposes today, they are still extremely functional, long-lasting and practical, while at the same time hand-crafted to be exquisite heirloom worthy garments.

CHECKING FOR QUALITY

If you are looking for an authentic Loden garment a couple things to look for are where the fabric is made and what the fiber content is. Anyone selling Loden coats should be able to tell you which mill their Loden came from, there actually aren’t that many left still producing Loden in the traditional way. Authentic Loden comes from the Alpine regions of Austria, Bavaria or Northern Italy.

Also, be sure the Loden is made from 100% natural fibers. Fine Loden is usually either pure virgin wool or a mix with 15% – 20% Alpaca hair. Sometimes even finer fibers like cashmere are blended into the fabric for extra softness, but usually only 10% – 15%.

Sometimes polyester fibers are also mixed in with the wool fibers to make the fabric a little less expensive. Most people don’t pay attention to this, but if you are looking to buy a fabric with polyester mixed in, only do so if you’re saving money because the fabric will certainly cost the producer a lot less. Personally, we prefer all natural fiber mixes because they have the most beautiful sheen, drape and performance. Try as they might, developers of synthetic fiber still can’t replicate the natural crimp of wool fibers, which is critical to felting or making Loden.

WHERE TO FIND A LODEN COAT

If you’re in the German-speaking Alpine region, just ask for the local “Trachten Mode” (traditional fashion) store. But if you’re not, we recommend taking a look at the Robert W. Stolz collection of authentic Loden Wool outerwear. The Robert W. Stolz brand keeps its inventory in the United States which makes it easy to serve American and international customer alike.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE LODEN COAT SPECIALIST: ROBERT W. STOLZ

5 Best Bavarian Trends for Women this Winter

If you are looking for Bavarian clothing for sale, you’ve come to the right place. The Bavarian region is an area located in the southern part of Germany. Its traditions and cultures extend throughout Austria and parts of Northern Italy. Bavarians, best known for their beer, are also artisans in food and fashion.

In winter, you’ll find plenty of natural textiles and fabrics. Traditional clothing protects and provides warmth, with a strong focus on quality and comfort. These are clothes made to last for generations.

Wool is a popular and versatile material. It is used in many winter pieces–from cardigans to scarves, hand mittens, socks, and jackets. Even though every season will bring new trends and changes to the fashion scene in Bavaria, there are some classic modes that never go out of style.

The following five winter Bavarian trends are practical on many occasions and are among our top picks for best wool coats for women. Which one will you be packing in your winter wardrobe?

1. Austrian Overcoats: The Mixed and Matched Look

Austrian and Bavarian styles are versatile this winter season. You might see a shearling aviator jacket with woolen trim on the inside, but the structure made of faux or real leather. This is a classic example of Bavarian clothing. True to tradition, but applying more modern trends to the classic woolen coat.

2. The Cozy 100 Percent Wool Coat

Dressing for a date or night at the theater? A vintage “Plüschjacke” is typical for Bavarian women to wear year after year. Pair a short waist-trim cozy plush jacket or coat with a woolen skirt and leather boots, or over a maxi dress. It is sure to keep you warm and cozy on a crisp winter evening. These cozy fittings come in a wide array of colors. The main palettes of Fall and Winter tend to natural and warm hues such as whiskey browns and olive greens.

3. The Elegant Trim Luxury Wool Coat

Some luxury wool coats this season will feature the wool trimming only on the collar and sleeves of the coat. This is essential for the business traveler or woman who moves around a lot. It is elegant and on-trend without being too bulky on top of all your other luggage. A perfect example of this is the Lascona, a coat which combines elements of Austrian and Bavarian “trachten” heritage with a modern approach.

4. Understated Chic Wool Coat for Women

A boiled wool jacket is perfect for both formal and casual wear. If you expect to attend a lot of winter events this year, always have one tucked into your wardrobe plan. The Florentina full-length is great for wearing over evening dresses. Its authentic Müller bone buttons add that subtle flair.

5. The Regal Look

If you can pull it off, try another winter trend: the warm and flowing cape. Made of warm and cozy material, the fabric should not feel too heavy when worn on chilly evenings. The cape is perfect for a stroll in a snow-swept park, or while heading to an Alpine resort.

For more traditional Alpine styles, look through the Robert W. Stolz carefully curated collection. Our wool jackets combine the beauty of the Austrian Alps, Southern Germany, and Northern Italy. We have woolen jackets for both women and men. We offer 100 percent wool coats and other traditional Bavarian clothing.

Once you try the high-quality Loden wool fabric, no other coat will feel the same.