What is fleece or fleece outerwear?
Everyone has heard of fleece, has a vague idea of what it is, and probably even owns a couple of fleece items, but really...just what is fleece? The term "fleece" was originally associated with wool. It originally referred to a sheep's woolen coat, especially right after it had been sheared. In fact this is where the phrase "to fleece" as in to rob or swindle someone came into common parlance as the association was that like a sheep sheared of his or her coat so to has the poor individual been sheared of his or her money.
Modern fleece however rarely has anything to do with wool or sheep. Instead modern fleece is typically completely man-made. It is usually made out of polyester; however, it can even be made out of recycled materials like plastic bottles. This often makes it very popular in environmentally conscious circles. Although fleece is by no means always made from recycled materials.
Plastic bottles?! Sounds pretty uncomfortable doesn't it? Think again, fleece is actually one of the softest most comfortable fabrics out there. It's usually very lightweight, highly breathable, and very plush. It's ideal for the inner lining of many garments and an added bonus is that it's wicks moisture really well. This means that's it's naturally fairly water-resistant and it often does a great job of wicking sweat away from the body. In fact fleece is so efficient at wicking moisture and liquid that it has recently become popular as a fabric for diapers. It's also that soft and comfortable.
Another great thing about fleece is that it's a material that is excellent at keeping people warm and comfy without adding a ton of extra weight to the material. This makes it ideal for winter clothing and other outerwear. It's also one of the reasons that "polar fleece" is one of the most commonly heard of and most popular. In fact fleece is so common in outerwear items that it's harder to avoid it than it is to find it when it comes time to shop for a sweatshirt or hoodie. Given how soft and comfortable it is though, that's definitely not a bad thing!
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