What is moleskin fabric?

Animal lovers will be pleased to know, that no moles are harmed in the making of moleskin.

Moleskin fabric is made from cotton, which is sheared to create a smooth textured surface that feels like the skin of the soil loving mole. Soft and hard wearing, it is a popular alternative to fabrics like wool or linen.


Sustainable moleskin
Source: Wikimedia

But if moleskin isn’t made from sustainably farmed moles, then what is it made of? How is it made? What garments are made from the fabric and who wears it?

All will be revealed as we take a trip into the makeup, style and history of moleskin.

How is moleskin made?

Cotton field close up

More sustainable moleskin
Source: Wikimedia

Cotton is woven to a layer of cotton, otherwise known as a backer. This creates a wave like pattern, akin to a dissected carpet.

The finished product is dictated by the quality and thickness of the yarn used to make the weave. The density of these weaves and a higher number of yarns creates a better fabric. However, a lower number of yarns can still be good quality, provided the yarn used is nice and thick.

Shearing then takes place and the weaves are cut to the required length. Like the soil dwelling critters’ skin, the fabric is brush-like and soft, which is achieved by shearing. Cutting closer to the cotton backer makes the moleskin flatter and less like suede.

Why should you wear moleskin?

Moleskin trousers stack

Which colour would you pick?

Moleskin trousers are great for the winter, as they retain heat well. But the high cotton content means that they are also very breathable so can be worn in the summer too.

The thicker makeup of moleskin makes it very durable and hardwearing; perfect for the ups and downs of our busy lives. Scrolled or jean hems at the bottom of a moleskin trouser will make them less susceptible to scuffing and tearing.

How do you wear moleskin?

Red moleskin trousers

Remember the belt

The main use for moleskin is making trousers and jackets. Smart casual attire can be made more daring with a moleskin jacket, in colours such as olive or tan. For a more subtle approach, try grey or navy, which are suitable for any season.

For a slightly more casual outfit, wear a tattersall shirt, tucked into moleskin trousers and top with a contrasting belt. Just like the jackets, moleskin trousers can be found in an array of bright colours, so pick a bold hue and really make a statement.

Matching moleskin with its distant cousin, corduroy, is a popular option. Indeed Bedford cord, which doesn’t have the signature ridges of regular corduroy, has much in common with moleskin. Bedford cord is durable, and has the same soft feel as moleskin, but isn’t quite as thick.

Who wears moleskin?

Moleskin West German army

Militarised moleskin
Source: Military Photos

Anyone can wear moleskin, but for some – there was no choice. The West German Army wore moleskin uniforms, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Unlike traditional moleskin however, it wasn’t sheared, giving it a flat outer. Since then, the German Army have used a polyester blend for added water resistance.

Can you think of any celebs who wear moleskin trousers or jackets?

Posted in Men's Trousers.

One Comment

  1. Have just received a pr of claret colour. They feel lovely and thick and will suit me fine when the weather turns cold.
    The same colour as my grandfathers army trousers…but don’t have the gold stripe down the outer edges!. He was killed WW1 22/3/1918 when a German gas shell landed on the ammunition cart he and his horse was attached to. I visited his grave in Brie France for the 1st time last Sept.

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