Mighty Red Pen

October 12, 2010

An uphill climb for fashion

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:46 pm

‘Tis the season for warm fall clothing (well, it is in New England, anyway). And as I peruse websites and catalogs for autumn attire for la familia, I’m noticing many clothing manufacturers are making great hay out of their sherpa-lined hoodies/jackets/whatevers.

So I thought I remembered something from reading Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air about climbing Mt. Everest: A Sherpa is a person. Merriam-Webster confirms: A Sherpa is “a member of a Tibetan people living on the high southern slopes of the Himalayas in eastern Nepal and known for providing support for foreign trekkers and mountain climbers.” So, a jacket lined with Sherpa? Ew.

And then, for every manufacturer that offers Sherpa-lined jackets, there’s another that offers a Sherpa-fleece lined jacket. This sounded right to me, at first, something along the lines of “the kind of fleece a Sherpa might desire while climbing Mt. Everest, if Sherpas wore fleece” or “A Sherpa would approve of this for you, if you were climbing Mt. Everest.” But I realized I was reading into it, and the more I think about it, it’s just not any better. After all, what is Sherpa fleece? The fleece of a Sherpa? Ew.

So I’m continuing my search for a nice warm jacket for fall. Please leave the Sherpas out of it.



  1. Should probably leave the Berbers out of your search too.

    Comment by Laura Payne — October 13, 2010 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  2. This post inspired me to do a little digging. I’d heard the phrase “sherpa wool” many times through the years, and had thought it referred to a particular variety of wool like “merino”.

    Nope. Part of Sherpa traditional dress does include a wool shirt and pants(^1), but it seems from my limited research that there really is no such thing as “Sherpa wool” outside of sales-speak.


    1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherpa

    Comment by Chris Patti — October 15, 2010 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

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