When most people hear the word “wool” they immediately think of an uncomfortable, itchy sweater. That’s because traditional wool is often made from a coarser fibre, and this can result in irritation and discomfort. However, there is an alternative that is super soft and luxuriously gentle on your skin. For over 180 years, Henry and Grace have worked tirelessly to develop a fibre of exceptional softness that bears all the natural benefits of ultrafine Merino wool.
What is Merino wool?
Merino wool is a powerhouse natural fibre that comes from the Merino Sheep. Originally from Spain, Merino sheep are most commonly found in Australia and New Zealand. These incredible animals are bred to survive in the scorching summers and freezing winters of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Their fleece is naturally engineered to endure the most extreme weather conditions. Renowned for its fantastic softness, shine and breathability, the fibres of Merino wool are softer, finer and more sensitive than any other fabrics available. At Henry and Grace we take great care in choosing our Merino to ensure every one of our garments is of the highest quality.
Benefits of Merino wool
Merino is super soft and comfortable
Merino wool fibres are ultrafine and flexible making them well suited for clothing. A single Merino wool fibre is approximately half the diameter of a human hair! It’s so fine that when it brushes up against your skin, it bends and flows with your body’s natural movements. It is much softer and more luxurious to wear than other wool types, and won’t itch or irritate the skin. The fibres’ softness and antibacterial properties make it odor-resistant and suitable for those that would normally suffer from allergic reactions.
Merino keeps you warm
If you’ve ever seen pictures of the early adventurers, particularly those who explored freezing cold climates such as Sir Douglas Mawson, you would have noticed they’re wearing wool. It is no coincidence that wool has been the first choice for surviving in cold weather. One of the reasons why ultrafine Merino wool is so popular is its warmth relative to weight. If you’re planning on travelling to a cooler climate, consider packing a Merino sweater if you want to travel light. Merino is a fantastic insulator that will keep you warm in cooler months. It contains a natural crimp that traps body heat in air pockets around your body, keeping you warmer for longer.
Merino regulates body temperature
As well as being unbelievably warm, Merino contains several natural performance features that no other fibre has been able to replicate. Perhaps the most important is temperature regulation. Merino fleece keeps them comfortable all year round in all kinds of conditions. Merino wool performs similarly to the insulation in your roof, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. In the morning, it’ll keep you reasonably insulated but also cool and dry once you work up a sweat. The Henry and Grace Merino wool baby range is excellent for parents wanting peace of mind in knowing their baby is comfortable in all conditions.
Merino absorbs moisture to keep you dry
Another significant benefit of Merino is its wicking capabilities. Without getting too technical, the structure of Merino wool fibre makes it better at absorbing moisture than many synthetics. Merino wool can absorb up to 35% of its weight in moisture and still maintain its ability to insulate. The ultrafine fibres move sweat and moisture away from the skin and releases it as vapour, keeping you warm, dry and cosy without losing its softness.
Merino is odour resistant
Unlike synthetic fibres, Merino is stink-free! It contains useful anti-microbial properties that keep your garments soft, dry and odourless. If you perspire in regular synthetic sports fabrics, chances are you’ll start to smell. Merino, on the other hand, naturally resists bacteria and odour retention, leaving you smelling better for longer.
Merino wool is hypoallergenic
Our extensive range of Merino wool soft clothes are non-allergenic and great next to skin for sufferers of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. This adds to the growing number of research findings about the incredible health benefits of ultrafine Merino wool. If you’ve ever steered clear of Merino products and questioned whether they were soft and comfortable, you won’t be disappointed by the range of Merino baby and maternity clothes available at Henry and Grace.
Merino is UV resistant
Evolved over millions of years to protect sheep against the elements, Merino wool fibres absorb UV radiation and provides excellent sun protection. This makes it a good choice for your outdoor adventures, keeping you safe and cool during those warm summer months.
Merino is wrinkle and stain resistant
Due to its fine fibre, Merino wool is elastic and able to retain its shape and softness after years of wear and repeated washing. Each fibre is like a coiled spring that returns to its natural shape after being stretched. This gives ultrafine Merino wool garments a natural resistance to wrinkles. Say goodbye to ironing!
Merino is environmentally friendly
Not only are Merino garments enjoyable to wear, they are entirely renewable and biodegradable. Merino Sheep produce a new fleece every year, and the natural proteins contained in their wool decompose completely with environmental exposure. By investing in Merino garments, you are endeavouring to make the Australian wool industry sustainable for future generations.
At Henry and Grace, we continuously strive to improve our wool, better maintain the health of our sheep and protect the natural environment in which we live. Our goal is to make accessible the properties of Merino to those that need it most. Whether you’re a new mother or expecting a child in the near future, there is a soft Merino garment for you and your little one.
Specially designed by mums, our maternity dresses, tops, leggings and scarves are soft, stretchy and incredibly comfortable. Shop our maternity range here.