Phil Smrek

Storyteller & Photographer

Camisas de Lana

Tell me about your fascination with wool,” she asked seductively. We were guests at the Thanksgiving dinner of a mutual friend and she, I discovered, was a certified and practicing psychiatrist.

“It started around the 7th grade I guess, when I got a multi-colored, striped crew neck Shetland sweater as part of my back to school clothes,” I explained. “I loved the unique smell and distinct texture. It didn't itch me and it required special care, so I guess that was another turn on! From there I began to incrementally add other wool garments to my wardrobe…”

I enthusiastically went on, “…In high school I got an Yves St Laurent 100% wool navy blue suit to wear when competing in speech and debate events. I felt like an international diplomat! Then in college, I aced my textiles course, sealing the deal".

Before she knew it, I was breathlessly explaining to her that wool is not only naturally hygroscopic (absorbs, retains and releases moisture without affecting thermal properties) but is fire retardant, self-extinguishing, wrinkle resistant and will readily accept and retain dyes without the need for chemicals. I added with gusto that wool is wearable year-round; pointing out that in winter wool keeps a layer of dry air next to the skin, which holds in body heat—in the summer it absorbs perspiration, keeping the body cool.

I told my by now enraptured new friend that in my early adult life I became quite the collector: Alpaca, Merino, Cashmere, Mohair, domestic and foreign made wool garments plus—the “piece de resistance”—Vicuna!

Taking stock of all this information, the woman looked me in the eye and with a tone of a doctor informing a patient the situation was grave (but perhaps not terminal) expertly summed me up, “You know what you are? You're a woolmanizer!”

With my diagnosis official, it is a "shear" delight to present my most complete and favorite collection of Pendleton shirts:

Made by the Pendleton Woolen Mills in the USA from the 1940s – 1990s, their colors, patterns and cuts are exquisite. A selection is presented here. Camisas de Lana…or Wool Shirts.

Man with dragon tattoo
Red orange shirt
Man in shirt and black boxers
Blue shirt tag
Man standing next to fan
Shirt sleeve and button
Man with baseball cap
Red shirt
Man sitting on chair
Man with hat and cigarette
White shirt tag
Man covering himself
Green shirt
Man covering himself