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1-Week Sweater Challenge: An Everyday Yak Wool Sweater

How I was able to wear my Oliver Charles sweater for 7 days straight in a heatwave.
April 7, 2022
By Brooke Damerel

Starting My 1-Week Sweater Challenge

I stumbled out of bed and looked at the clock. 5:30 am.

I usually get up early (before my 4-year-old) to do stretching and meditations.

When I’m really on it and have my life together, I set out my clothes for the morning the night before. Didn’t happen last night.

Well this morning when I made it out of bed, I realized I hadn’t set out anything.

Bleary eyed I glanced at my closet, and then it hit me that I knew exactly what to wear, because my new Oliver Charles All-Season Crew Neck had arrived yesterday!

Instantly I perked up and happy skipped to my closet, where my lovely new piece lay folded smoothly.

I donned a pair of yoga pants and slid on my new khullu knit. Ahhh. Morning, sorted.

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Yak Wool Base Layer

I noticed a couple things right away. First, I usually need at least two layers for the morning chill.

Yes, I live in Southern California and it IS warm in winter, but my area gets to the 40’s overnight these days and mornings are chilly to this sun-loving gal.

Today I didn’t even need to reach for a second layer; I was really comfortable in my everyday yak wool sweater. I see why yaks can live up in the tundra!

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Breathable Eco-Friendly Sweater

The next thing I noticed was the lack of any chemical smell. Since I aim to buy most clothes secondhand, I am usually really sensitive to that “new-clothes” chemical smell.

I used to work at Nordstrom when I was in undergrad, and the chemicals used to make me sneeze constantly.

This new piece smells lovely, like completely neutral with almost a pleasant hint of like, sunshine or meadow.

No off-gassing or anything. No idea how that happened but I love it and kept trying to smell it.

In the afternoon we went for a walk before the sun set. I marveled that whether in the sun or the shade, I was the right temperature.

The under arm “vent” knit is so awesome! After dinner I had to scrub out the kitchen sink - never a fun task and I definitely “worked up a sweat” but it was no sweat to my breathable yak wool sweater.

I stayed cool as a cucumber. At bedtime I almost forgot to change into pajamas.

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Challenges Of A Personal Uniform

What a gift it was to get up and roll out of bed and into my sweater. A warm meditation later, a hot green tea, and I was ready to go parent and tackle the new work week.

Not gonna lie, I didn’t think this 1-week sweater endeavor was going to be a “challenging” challenge for me.

I LOVE outfit repeating and have been working my way towards a minimal, capsule wardrobe for years.

When I used to work in the corporate world, I had a personal uniform of the same style pant and tank blouse with cardigan (I literally had the same three pieces in a handful of colors) and never had to worry about “what to wear”.

However, since the whole WFH transition with my most recent job, I honestly don’t have the whole athleisure vs casual capsule thing down yet.

So back to me thinking this seven days, one sweater, would be no sweat.

Well, I live in Los Angeles... cue the February heatwave... it’s going to be in the 80s this week... Hmm, so more of a challenge than anticipated. We will see how sweat-tolerant khullu really is! 😳

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3D-Knit Sweater With Underarm Vents

First on the agenda today is a workout. I’m doing a 12-week workout program called 10X, through Mindvalley (an awesome personal growth platform).

So in the name of a challenge, I wore my sweater for my morning workout while the temp was still comfortably under 70 degrees.

This thing is astounding, it just disappears onto my body - as in, no restriction of range of motion, no interference with any of the squats, pull ups, push ups, hinge, row, press, etc.

I don’t normally workout in a sweater, but I would start with a layer over my tank top until I warm up, and this would surprisingly totally fit the bill.

The rest of the day was spent at my computer working.

I coach on the phone and I was comfortable and cozy inside. I did take an afternoon walking break and broke a sweat, but once back inside my temperature re-regulated surprisingly quick.

We had a picnic lunch break outside on the grass, and even in the dappled sunlight of a 76 degree afternoon, I felt breezy. Seriously this underarm vent knit feature is a huge win!

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Go-To Sweater In My Capsule Wardrobe

In my efforts to be more sustainable and minimal, I’ve switched to more natural, plastic-free deodorant brands.

It’s definitely a sacrifice in terms of giving up the invisibility and antiperspirant features, and my shirts have paid for that.

I’m curious to see how that dynamic will work over time with this new sweater. After that warm day and workout yesterday I was nervous today would be a bit less fresh slipping my sweater on, but it was magically fresh again!

Today was a definite comfort test, since I just worked from home and didn’t really go anywhere.

But I was thrilled to see that my sweater again just became part of my body and didn’t get in the way of any movements.

I could put in a big day in front of the computer in pure comfort. I had two Zoom meetings and felt polished on video.

That evening was spent snuggled on the couch and I again almost forgot to put on pajamas because I thought I was already in them.

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Machine Washable Wool Sweater F.T.W.

I woke up super excited to put my sweater back on. I am nervous about washing it though - that’s on today’s agenda per website instructions.

4-year-olds have notoriously sticky hands, and though I haven’t seen any issues with that so far, if I’m truly going to be living in this thing it’s gotta be washable without too much stress.

This has already been a super hot week (70-80’s) but when I smell the underarms, all I’m smelling is the scent of my deodorant lingering (today’s is Ethique’s Rustic Eucalyptus).

I’m curious to see if it gets lifted out after washing. I’m also curious about the idea of a spray of rubbing alcohol or vodka just to the underarms, since nowhere else really seems to need washing.

Piling will also be on my radar, since I’m now getting attached and want this thing to really last forever.

There are a few pills appearing along the undersides of my arms, which I know is expected with natural knits like this, but I will definitely want to see how that develops.

We had a super snuggle wrestling morning and it fit the bill perfectly with comfort and snugglability rating. 

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Outfit Repeats Make Getting Dressed Easy

Today we had a fun outing to go plant shopping at our local nursery!

We browsed through the rows and took in all the incredible colors and fragrances of all the flowers and foliage.

We were looking for a couple new plant babies to take home. I had a hard time choosing which plants to pick.

Of course this morning it was a no-brainer choosing what to wear, saving my precious brainpower resources and decision making power for more important things… like which hanging pothos should grace my office ceiling.

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Minimalist Capsules Wardrobe Benefits

Later we had an early dinner out on the patio. I’m so grateful for my little family and having just what we need.

Moving towards more simplicity and a more minimal lifestyle has helped free up more time and mental space for what’s really important - like enjoying a meal together.

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Man it is lovely outside. This February heatwave in Southern California is right up my alley, being the always-cold, sun-loving creature I am.

However, my husband and daughter run HOT, so if they are comfortable, that means I am chilly. Luckily, I have a new secret weapon in my arsenal - yak power!

Even on these days where it’s hitting mid-80’s, the mornings dip into the 50’s, so I am quite happy to have a single layer to don that keeps me regulated for those brisker mornings (up til about 80 degrees, where even for me it reaches decidedly not-sweater-weather.)

I’ve discovered another perk of this mid-weight layer. I’m seriously enjoying being able to eat my super frozen blended smoothie bowls, which always chill me from the inside out and send me searching for layers even when it’s warm outside.

My house is under a giant elm tree, and it’s always much cooler inside than outside. Well, now I don’t have to hesitate to blend up a bowl of superfood frozen goodness because I am secure in my ability to stay warm and cozy (even when I’m basically shoveling ice into my body.)

Today’s WFH agenda was interrupted by a pressing social engagement. I suddenly found myself with a tea party to attend- in my 4 year old’s room.

Luckily, I was well outfitted for the occasion, and served as a comfy backrest for her many guests. #Momlife is oh so glamorous.

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Wool Golf Sweater

This morning brought a trip to the greens for a golf session. I usually fret a little bit about looking golf-appropriate because, let’s be honest, I’m not a huge golfer, but my husband lives and breathes it, so off we go.

But today, I didn’t have to fret or give it a thought, I just grabbed my sweater and golf skort and bam.

There was no restriction on range of motion to mess up my swing, so I couldn’t blame my bad shots on my attire (not that I’ve done that before…. Ahem.)

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Completed My 1-Week Sweater Challenge

It’s comical how my 1-week sweater challenge coincided with a major heatwave.

But, I’m astonished that I’m finding it so wearable for the majority of the day inside anyway - and I’m super anticipatory of even more wear next week when the high temp drops to 58! (Basically the Brooke-equivalent of arctic.)

Oh how warm and happy I will be in my cozy khullu. I didn’t actual have to wash my sweater yet.

It really did magically air itself out overnight, even with my heatwave wearing.

The only smell I detect in the mornings is a hint of my deodorant (currently PAPR’s Deep Sea scent). Through a week of summer temps, sticky four year old hands, workouts, Zoom calls, and kiddo wrestling, I stayed fresh and looked polished.

The only problem? Deciding which color and style to add to my capsule next!

Brooke is a proud #repeater, who, for years, has been creating her own corporate and everyday uniforms that are classic and comfortable. Brooke aims for the motto of less but better.

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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