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Q&A WITH MONTY GOODSON

Monty Goodson knows a thing or two about sheepskin coats. As a member of Overland’s product development team, he travels the world over in search of the highest-quality sheepskin. He’s also the manager of Overland’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.

How to Choose the Right Sheepskin Coat

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.

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

Q: Why is sheepskin so popular worldwide—especially in the American West?

Q: And then there’s the fashion element.

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.

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: Can you talk a bit about sheepskin basics?

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

Sheepskin always has a certain kind of casual elegance to it. It has a timeless appeal across many countries and cultures.

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.

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: What about style?

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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: What’s your go-to jacket, and why?

Q: What pairs well with sheepskin outerwear?

Q: How so?

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 really personal item.

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.

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: Along those lines, any care tips to share?

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

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.

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

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