For my first Out & About gear review I’m going to write about my new Icebreaker Superfine 150 long sleeve Zenith top. For those of you that don’t know about Icebreaker, they produce a range of technical and travel clothing made out of 100% pure New Zealand merino wool. It may seem odd to have travel clothing made out of wool, but I have to admit that I absolutely adore Icebreaker fabric – it’s as light and soft as cotton, machine washable, warm in winter and cool in summer and can be worn time and time again without it stinking. I have a 190 oasis crewe which got me through my winter runs feeling warm and snug at the start, cool at the end and not at all sweaty smelling (unlike my synthetic tops which can be a bit malodorous after one run). The numbers on Icebreakers refer to the weight and warmth of the fabric and range from 150, the lightest, to 380 which is used for coats.
For a while I have been considering adding a long sleeved Icebreaker to my modest collection, so I was thrilled when Natureshop asked me to review some of Icebreaker’s travel wear. Natureshop is an online store which specialises in premium “nature” inspired products that are friendly to your body and the environment. I really like the fact that the store is carbon neutral and offsets its carbon footprint with carbon credits, especially as my top was shipped over from New Zealand. I also liked the fact that when it arrived it was in biodegradable packaging, which adds to their green credentials. Icebreaker itself produces clothes that are ethically manufactured from merino which is sustainably farmed and conforms to high animal welfare standards. The ‘baacode’ on my top even let me find out which four farms my sheep came from!
Natureshop have a brilliant selection of Icebreaker gear and their range includes a lot of items that you don’t really see very much here in the UK, presumably because it is mainly intended for the New Zealand market. I chose the Superfine 150 long sleeve Zenith top and, although they didn’t have my size in stock they managed to source one from their supplier, which was great customer service. The ordering process was simple too, I received my confirmation email straight away and, despite having two UK bank holidays to contend with, my top turned up in just a week.
What I think
I chose the Zenith because it’s a really pretty top with a much more relaxed fit and casual vibe than many of the sportier Icebreaker items. It has slightly flared loose-fitting sleeves and a little gathered detail on the neck which I really love. The only branding is a discreet icebreaker tag on the side seam.
In terms of fit, I’m a UK size 10-12 and ordered a Small which is perfect. It’s nice and long in the arms and body, which is perfect for a tall-ish girl like me (5’8”), but neat across the bust and shoulders. It’s also a really gorgeous colour and exceptionally light and soft – don’t worry about the wool being itchy because it just isn’t.
In order to really test out my top I’ve been wearing it non-stop since it arrived. I’ve worn it to work, so it gets top marks for versatility as it was smart enough for office wear. I’ve also been wearing it out and about in weather which has ranged from thundery, to sunny, to breezy and a little chilly (as you can probably see from the photos!) and I’ve been comfortable in the whole range of temperatures. After four days of wear it still doesn’t smell at all and looks as if it’s just been laundered. It would be great for holidays and trips away as it packs down to almost nothing and any creases just drop out after it’s been hung up.
My only minor concern about the top is that it’s showing a little bit of loose fibre on the surface of the cloth which could result in bobbling or pilling. However, I’ve read that if you wash your icebreaker with a pair of jeans it will remove any loose fibres so that’s what I’ll do!
This is a wonderfully pretty and practical top which I can see myself wearing equally comfortably in a city, a field or on a beach. I love it!