Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Case of the Lace Overcoat

I really wanted an excuse to run this picture of Michelle's coat fabric up close. But it does give rise to a question. Why, on a freezing cold day, would "Swiss wool lace" be a rational outerwear option (even when this particular lace fabric has been backed by silk net and lined with even more silk, a natural insulator)? The nature of lace: it has holes. Holes=more cold, no?

Actually, no. Consider the traditional granny shawl--crocheted of wool, full of empty spaces. Yet the style has endured for ages. It's because all these empty spaces in fact act as pockets, trapping air. This air gets warmed from within, by the body, and, on a brilliant sunny day like we saw in Washington yesterday, from without as well. Paradoxically, this particular type of holey fabric is cozy warm. As our grannies of course knew. 


  1. Christa, last night SBC caught up with Isabel Toledo (who was surprised as anyone that First Lady wore her creation), and she said that there is 2 layers of superfine cashmere in that lace coat. And she did mention that lace itself is very warm indeed.

  2. Thanks Rara. I love this picture featuring the two wives . . . Jill looks fuh-reezing!;page=10