Buying Guide
11.03.2020 | |

Global Craftsmanship.

American Style.

Handcrafting superb outerwear isn’t simply a day’s work for our international makers, or those here at home. It’s their passion. And, for many, it represents tradition: generations upon generations of expertise and apprenticeship.

We’ve traveled the far corners of the earth to bring you the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship—wearable works of art with as much personality as you. Setting out from our family-run headquarters in the U.S., we’ve searched the globe to find farmers, tanners, and tailors who share our ethos: authenticity, individuality, a strong sense of ethics, and attention to detail.

Many of our partner relationships span several decades. They’re true collaborations, built on mutual trust and respect. We choose these experts year after year, because they create lasting, artfully handcrafted outerwear at the highest standards of quality.

We proudly collaborate with a team of global artisans who are as committed to quality craftsmanship as we are.

Each one of our premium leather and sheepskin coats represents an artisanal journey. It starts with the finest leathers, as there's no substitute for quality. Leather is a true organic material, and only the top farmers in the world specialize in pedigreed breeds, providing the ideal care and climate to develop leathers with the most refined characteristics.

The next step is tanning—a process that is equal parts art and science. Expert tanners use traditional techniques to transform raw hides into beautifully finished leather and sheepskin in a variety of colors and styles. Only the best pelts are selected for the next step: handcrafting the coat itself.

Tanning is a craft that needs to be done by human beings, by hand,” explains one of our Turkish tanning experts. “It’s a very involved process that can take upwards of twenty-four days to go from a raw pelt to a finished one, and each has its own character.

Skilled cutters carefully hand-cut the leather: a single coat typically requires 50-60 individually cut pieces from 5-7 hides, not counting the additional accents. Next, the artisans carefully hand-stitch and sew the garment, with multiple inspection points along the way. With an emphasis on quality rather than quantity, only a handful of coats are created each day.

A single coat typically requires 50-60 individually cut pieces from 5-7 hides, not counting the additional accents.

We only work with manufacturers who share our values: authenticity, attention to detail, and a strong sense of ethics.

Large, automated luxury coat factories simply don’t exist. This artisanal, niche craft requires years of apprenticeship, with each coat proudly and painstakingly constructed by hand. Our master coat makers are small, family run operations—from the exotic lands of ancient Istanbul to the modern streets of downtown L.A., each specializing in a different type of leather or style.

Producing coats of this caliber requires a certain investment: in the finest materials, the best facilities, and the most skilled experts. We are champions of true talent, and our team of designers, tailors, and cutters are among the best in their field.

Just as every maker is unique, so is every Brosmen coat. No two hides are exactly alike. But the making of the coat is just the beginning—what happens next is up to you. With every new adventure over the years, your sheepskin or leather coat will contour to your form, developing more character and becoming part of your journey.

It’s so rewarding to partner with skilled artisans from the U.S. and around the world who share our passion for quality, craftsmanship, and integrity. We take pride in both our American heritage and extended family of global partners.

How to Choose the Right Sheepskin Coat

Monty Goodson knows a thing or two about sheepskin coats. As a member of Brosmen’s product development team, he travels the world over in search of the highest-quality sheepskin. He’s also the manager of Brosmen’s flagship store in Santa Fe, NM, set against the backdrop of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Monty’s been helping people find their signature piece for 25 years, and in this Q&A he shares some insights on the benefits of sheepskin—and some tips on finding your perfect fit.
Q: Why is sheepskin so popular worldwide—especially in the American West?

Monty: Wherever there are ranches and ranchers, ski lodges, any of that, you’ll find sheepskin outerwear. It just fits with that mountain kind of lifestyle, wide open spaces, and the great outdoors. Even though it’s lightweight, a sheepskin coat provides a great deal of protection, warmth, and comfort. And they’re incredibly durable—you can buy a good coat and have it for a very long time.
Like leather boots or belts, or certain leather jackets, sheepskin starts to contour around your own body. I like to say it becomes like an old friend that comforts you when they’re around. You can take on more challenges when you feel warm and prepared, and that’s important in cooler climates and alpine environments.

Q: And then there’s the fashion element.

Monty: Yes, sheepskin always has a certain kind of casual elegance to it. It has a timeless appeal across many countries and cultures.

Q: Can you talk a bit about sheepskin basics?

Monty: There are all kinds and varieties of coats. There are the really soft, supple, and lightweight styles—which are called “double-faced” or “single pelt,” meaning that both sides of the hide are in use. The leather’s on the outside, and the fleece is on the inside. That’s going to be your lightest-weight garment. It’s warm, it’s cozy, it envelopes your body in a moderate temperature.
Then there are the sheepskin-lined coats, which are crafted from another kind of leather or cowhide, with a Merino sheepskin lining inside. For example, our rugged Jack Frost is a town-and-country jacket that’s made of French Kildare goatskin and has Spanish Merino sheepskin inside. It’s two skins together, which makes it a thicker and heavier garment. Once people understand what a sheepskin coat is, then it’s easier to decide if they want something heavier or more lightweight, belted, button-up, and so on.

Q: How do you help people narrow things down to just one sheepskin coat style?

Monty: It boils down to lifestyle: what climate do you live in? Are you traveling to cold places? If you’re an urban dweller, do you have to stand on a train platform in Chicago, Boston, or Manhattan to get to work? If you’re facing the elements like that, you’ll probably want something longer that covers more and allows you to really bundle up.
But it’s also great to have a really lightweight, shorter sheepskin you can just throw on in milder weather and enjoy. Ideally, you’d have a short style to wear through late fall or early spring, and through some milder winters.

Q: What about style?

Monty: That’s really subjective—it’s like trying to tell somebody about different kinds of wine. What’s the best is what you really like. It’s about who you are and your personal style. There are certainly some dressier styles, and some people prefer black for the big city. But for the most part sheepskin is really a wide-ranging, versatile kind of outerwear.

Q: How about fit? Should a sheepskin coat be roomy or snug?

Monty: Again, that’s going to be a bit of a personal choice, but I’d say it’s better to have it fit somewhat close, though with a little room for sure because it’s outerwear. You’re going to be wearing layers, maybe even a bulky sweater. That said, some people like their coats more tailored and fitted; they might wear a close-fitting cashmere underneath a double-faced shearling in cooler weather.

Q: Let’s talk quality. What should people look for?

Monty: The lightness of the skin and the softness of the wool and the fiber, the fur, if you will. You can still have high-quality skins, but the leather might be thicker, the wool might be a little coarser, or it might be a little longer or curlier or something. As you move up into the higher-quality skins, you have the Merinos, which are just beautifully tanned, velvety soft, and kind of fur-like.

Q: What about price? There’s a broad range.

Monty: Generally speaking, the softer and more lightweight the skin, the higher the price level—and longer coats that use more pelts can cost a bit more. But it’s important to remember that a good sheepskin coat is going to last you for many, many years. If you take good care of it, you’ll have a very nice piece that you’ll be able to use for a long time.
There’s a lot that goes into making a quality coat, from the selection and preparation of the raw materials to the artisan design and the actual construction of the coat.

Q: What’s your go-to jacket, and why?

Monty: I tend to wear my short shearling jacket a lot. And if I’m walking downtown to a restaurant at night in the winter and it’s breezy and cold, I’ll wear my heavier, longer one. But for a casual kind of rough and tumble outdoor jacket, a throw-on-everyday, wear-anywhere style, our B-3 bombers kind of cover that for both men and women.
Some have detachable hoods, some of which you can zip on. If you’re in a really snowy locale or you don’t want to wear a hat, a hood’s a really good thing. If you wear eyeglasses, a hood can help keep the snow off.

Q: What pairs well with sheepskin outerwear?

Monty: I think that, in a certain sense, anything goes. I’ve seen them with boots and jeans and everything in between. Evening clothes too, for that matter. Fashion is a reflection of who you are. You can be a rustic rancher and get a rugged coat that you can wear anywhere you want to. Or if you’ve been skiing on the mountain all day and you’re meeting friends in town for a nice dinner and you don’t want to wear a bulky ski coat, sheepskin is your go-to garment. You’re cozy, you look elegant, you have a casual sophistication that will work anywhere. Sheepskin travels really well, too.

Q: How so?

Monty: With my short shearling jacket, I just kind of turn the inside out, fold it, put it in the overhead bin, and go. A little lightweight, soft shearling jacket can be less weight than a wool blazer sometimes, but they’re still warm and cozy. The leather exterior gives you a wind block, and then you’ve got the soft wool on the inside.

Q: Along those lines, any care tips to share?

Monty: A good brushing goes a long way for most shearling jackets, which tend to have a sueded outer surface.
If your sheepskin coat has a nappa finish, it’ll have more of the feeling of a finished, smooth leather. A nappa finish is kind of like a sealant, if you will, over the suede, which gives it another little added layer of protection in wetter weather. With a nappa finish you can just use a soft cloth, get it a bit damp with slightly warm water, and wipe the coat down.
There’s a famous leather cleaner in Kansas City, but I recommend avoiding chemical dry-cleaning whenever possible. I’d rather people try to take care of their coats themselves with a little clean water, brushing, and doing their own light upkeep at the end of the season. And if you get a little salt or a splash of mud, you want to certainly wipe that off at the end of the day, as you would your boots. View more sheepskin care tips.
Some have detachable hoods, some of which you can zip on. If you’re in a really snowy locale or you don’t want to wear a hat, a hood’s a really good thing. If you wear eyeglasses, a hood can help keep the snow off.

Q: How about alterations? can sheepskin coats be taken in or otherwise adjusted?

Monty: You can absolutely have them altered. I’d say the standard rule is, you can always make a big coat smaller, but you can’t always make a smaller coat bigger. Taking things in is much easier to do, but make sure your tailor has experience in sheepskin, because it’s a different kind of situation than just taking in a wool blazer. There’s a lot more to it when you have leather and fur attached. They need specific equipment and expertise.

Q: What do you love about helping people find their perfect coat?

Monty: When people find the right coat in the right size, their face just lights up. A quality sheepskin feels like a second skin—it contours to your form and sort of caresses you and warms you, almost like a blanket. It’s more than just a coat! It becomes a personal item.
We all need to be protected in winter, and if you’ve ever been in Chicago on a sub-zero day, you know what that’s about. I lived in Southern California for 20 years before I moved to Colorado, and that first winter in Durango I was freezing from head to toe. But once I discovered sheepskin footwear and coats, it changed my whole life. I always tell our customers: a sheepskin coat is the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll appreciate it every time you put it on.

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