Got the Bliss wrap today and its Bliss!
Original designs. Made in the U.S.A.
Got the Bliss wrap today and its Bliss!
Re: Icebreaker vs. Ibex.
I've had a mix of experiences with both brands - currently my favorite tank is Ibex (the Woolies 150 racerback) but my overall favorite merino item is Icebreaker (the Bliss wrap we're all raving about here, although I feel I must give a nod to the Villa dress which I am wearing and loving right now). I think Icebreaker is good for "lifestyle" pieces - stylish clothing that doesn't look out of place practically anywhere. Ibex has good basics, but I haven't been that impressed by the style of their other pieces. Ibex items do, out of the box, feel a bit softer, though both brands soften up over time (the first couple washes, esp. with some heavier duty items, like jeans, is supposed to help remove the shorter itchy fibers) and feel just fine on my skin, which has been sensitive to wool in the past. Ibex is mostly made in the USA (with some pieces made in Canada), so that's a plus, but both brands make a point to be transparent and responsible about their production, where the wool is coming from, etc. I've had sizing issues with both brands - I think because the "base layer" pieces are made to fit very tight, but the other pieces really vary in the type of fit (perhaps trying to appeal to wide demographic). Quality has been quite good for both, in my experience - I wear my clothes pretty hard (don't own a lot of clothes, am very active) and I've mostly been satisfied. I did have some ultralite Icebreaker socks tear on me pretty quickly, though I'm sure they would've replaced them if I'd contacted them. Overall, I think it's a wash and worth browsing the offerings from both to see which styles appeal more to you.
Last edited by ClaireJ; 08-08-2014 at 06:34 PM. Reason: add a little about quality
Agree on the sizing..got 2 Icebreaker items today, one size up from my size and the other one size down...I always have to try them on. Regarding softness...I never tried an Ibex item..I dont know if that is stocked in NZ, but I find Icebreaker to be soft and slinky like silk. I spin a lot of wool and am really spoiled with the supersoft Merino I get here and even the softest doesnt compare to Icebreaker, there are only a few selected Merino Farms supplying Icebreaker and the wool quality is the highest one can get imo.
I cant stand normal wool or even other brand Merino wool garments or even Cashmere, it itches the hell out of me...but Icebreaker I can wear happily next to the skin. Now if Ibex is even softer...that must be amazing......I have to check if someone here stocks Ibex.
...or better not. I am totally broke now. lol
Came across an Icebreaker store at the local mall today so I went in. Tried on a few items, the sizing did vary from style to style. Purchased a loose T shirt and leggings. I am one of those people that generally can't wear wool next to the skin but I really like the idea of the merino fabric. Hopefully they will soften and be as comfortable as everyone says they are.
With the sizing ..it depends on how you use the garment too I guess. I like clothes to be a bit roomy especially when I plan to wear something underneath. I dont like to look like a sausage...you can only pull that off when you are superslim .lol I am medium built and dont like the sausage look. Our main outdoor store Kathmandu went all superslim fit with all of their stuff and I hate it. From jackets to tops everything is skintight. I feel sorry for the bigger built people...they just wont fit into the clothes anymore..even size `16 is more a big 12.
Before they would make jackets in the correct size and some room to spare, so you could still wear a thicker jumper underneath.
With next to skin tops I dont mind it tighter, it keeps you warmer.
I got the Bliss in M...wondered about the L, but it looks already a bit tent like, so I decided to go with M. An incentive for me too to loose some more weight. :-)
For Icebreaker I wear a S in base layers and bottoms, and an M for mid layers like hoodies. I've now bought pieces from the store, their website, and retailer like Backcountry, and find their sizing to be pretty consistent for me.
I've looked at the Bliss wrap a lot after all the enthusiastic recs here, but I'm still not sure how it will look on me at 5 feet tall.
The other Icebreaker item I bought last Saturday was a Quantum hood jacket in blue. Omg..I love this jacket...I have worn it since I bought it. I can highly recommend it. Its beautiful, warm, cosy but easy to wear under jacket and it has inbuilt fingerless mittens and full gloves. i just love it. Been hiking in it for 2 separate days and it was perfect . Temperatures in NZ change quick as lightening.from cold blown in from the Antarctic to Pazific Island warm...The quantum hood is a perfect temperature regulator.
The Bliss will sure be a favourite too...I cant wear mine atm, because I am waiting for the L size to arrive at the shop so I can change it..I found the sleeves to be a bit to tight in M to be worn over another long sleeved top.
Icebreaker is really expensive....but thanks to this forum my life has changed (the project 333 and all uncluttering in general)...I dont waste money anymore on silly things and spend carefully on well purposed and high qualitiy items that will serve me for a long time (hopefully)..."Less is more"
@haraya, I have the Bliss wrap and I'm only 5'1". I love it! Looks great with leggings -and jeans (and I'm even wearing flats)! I got a small and it was a little big so I put it in the dryer for a short time both the arms and overall length shrank a bit.
Oh @ClaireJ, I gave the Villa dress another try, based on your love for it, in a size bigger for a more relaxed fit. Washed it to try to soften it a bit and it's now a winner!
I just had to chime in here, even though a lot has been said already...
1) I'm very sensitive to wool, and I can *SOMETIMES* wear Icebreaker/Ibex/Smartwool next to my skin, but more often I wear it over a thin silk (long underwear weight) layer. The closer to my core, the more itchy wool (even the best stuff) feels to me (with sensitive, eczema-prone skin.) Also, if your pores are open (you are warmer), your skin will experience more itchiness. The definition of "cold enough for closed pores" could be specific to individual wearers. My tolerance is much higher when it is VERY COLD than when I am just cool/not warm and wish to wear a nice sweater.
2) Darn Tough socks are so awesome I can't say enough. I've always bought wool socks for my kids since infancy, but my older boy kept wearing through his moderately expensive SmartWool socks at an alarming rate. ALL of his Darn Tough socks are still without holes, and he's worn them for two years. This is unprecedented. They are worth the extra cost, for my family, because they last at least twice as long on a boy who is tough on his clothing.
3) Sierra Trading Post is awesome for great stuff at great prices. I've gotten lots of Ibex, Icebreaker and Smartwool there, for kids and adults. I aim for the $20-30 range for t-shirts, and I get them for that sometimes.
4) Add me to the list who finds Ibex absolute tops for quality/style, Icebreaker second (mostly due to style), and SmartWool a nice third (but not really at the same level.) My former carpool buddy was a summer neighbor (on a Maine island) the the Tom's of Maine guy who founded the toothpaste and the Rambler's Way wool company. I haven't gone for the Rambler's Way products myself (because I got such good stuff for so little money from Sierra Trading Post!), but my friends said the Rambler's Way wool was unbelievably soft compared to, say, the SmartWool sweater I hand-dyed (a hobby) for his daughter.
5) My local Costco (New England) had 100% merino, long-sleeved, V-neck ladies' t-shirts on sale last week (mid-August 2014) for only $17 each, and they had a very nice, soft hand. I bought two, a size larger than I wear, and will use them as very lightweight travel sweaters over thin silk or cotton base layers. This is my ideal travel wardrobe solution.