Shear class

John Mot­son may be hang­ing up his trade­mark sheep­skin — but why should you?

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

Last month, leg­endary foot­ball com­men­ta­tor John Mot­son an­nounced he is re­lin­quish­ing the mic at the end of this Pre­mier League sea­son, af­ter 50 years in the gantry. Beloved for his Man­cu­nian hum, nim­ble phrase­ol­ogy and en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of the game, it’s also his ex­tra­or­di­nary sheep­skin coats for which Esquire salutes him. Over­sized, ul­tra-plush and su­per-in­su­lat­ing, Motty’s coats have helped af­firm shear­ling as one of the most stylish — and Bri­tish — meth­ods of keep­ing warm.

The ma­te­rial — the fleece and hide of a year­ling sheep — has been worn since pre­his­toric times, but the turn of the last cen­tury saw shear­ling come into its own. Pi­lots wore shear­ling-lined bomber jack­ets to fight the cold in un­pres­surised cab­ins at high al­ti­tudes. Mar­lon Brando made shear­ling stylish in 1954’s On the Wa­ter­front, while Steve McQueen fur­thered its ap­peal when he donned a mil­i­tary B3 shear­ling jacket in The War Lover (1962). In the UK, of course, Derek “Del Boy” Trot­ter loudly claimed the look in the Eight­ies.

This sea­son, shear­ling abounds. Bel­staff has replica For­ties flight jack­ets and Prada uses it on ev­ery­thing from bombers to desert boots. Saint Lau­rent, Burberry and Bot­tega Veneta have gone meta with it, turn­ing shear­ling in­side-out on sweaters, jack­ets and Motty-es­que belted over­coats.

To ap­pre­ci­ate the style’s en­dur­ing rugged ap­peal, look to Ryan Gosling’s shear­ling over­coat in De­nis Vil­leneuve’s Blade Run­ner 2049. And fail­ing that? Well, we’ll al­ways have Del Boy.

Broad­caster John “Motty” Mot­son — 50 years, nine World Cups and one im­mor­tal fash­ion state­ment

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