FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. ‒ Apparel buyer Kate Shirey of Outdoor Sports Center in Wilton knows how to stay comfortable outdoors, no matter what season it is. She points to layering as being key.
“A lot of people know wool as an itchy material,” Shirey said as she talked about a kind of wool that has been on the market several years that people don’t know much about. “Merino wool is actually more like cashmere. It’s incredibly soft, and extremely warm.”
Wool is being used this year in outer shells as the insulation, she said. “A shirt or jacket might look like it's down insulated, but it is actually insulated with wool,” Shirey said.
Armed with a degree in outdoor recreation, Shirey spends a great deal of time doing recreational sports, whether it is climbing Mount Washington in her native New Hampshire or hiking with her husband, Arlo Tarr, and their 14-month-old, Izzie.
“I grew up skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing,” she said. "The neat thing about my job is that I get to see the new stuff. I like to try out new products and see if they are gimmicks or if they actually work. A cool technology came out this year from The North Face. FlashDry™ has the ability to wick away moisture rapidly. You stay dry, so you stay warm.”
A buyer for five years now, Shirey is new to the Outdoor Sports Center. She said that although the focus right now is on winter apparel, her store is equipped for all seasons.
Shirey went on to say that no matter what the season, apparel should be chosen with both protection and comfort in mind. She also had a non-clothing tip: Stay hydrated.
“Being dehydrated keeps you cold,” she said. "In the winter, people forget to rehydrate. It is essential. If you layer up and stay hydrated, you’ll have a great winter season.”