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~Yes, actually, I DO live in an Igloo~
I am notoriously mean about turning on the heating. If the temperature drops, I'd rather pile on the layers than turn up the thermostat. I swear I will never let things slip so far that I get a Slanket (my husband has been warned that if he gets me one, I'd only be two steps away from putting mashed potatoes in my hair) but I do have a weakness for good fleece tops. I have (and have reviewed) a bright pink Tog 24 fleece zip-up jacket which my husband bought me a couple of years ago. That was beautifully soft, warm and cuddly but not something you could go out of the house in without scaring the neighbours. Knowing that I liked thick shaggy fleece fabric, but wanting something I could be seen both dead and alive in, I was hoping to find something suitable when we had a half day out shopping at the Cheshire Oaks Outlet Centre in Ellesmere Port.
We went shopping on a particularly cold day in January. I was using up one of my last holiday days from 2012 and was determined to get myself something. Since I work about 150 miles away from where I live, I have a flat that I use when I'm up north and my husband knows I rarely turn the heating above the lowest setting. When we went into the Mountain Warehouse store, my husband spotted the Yeti Fleece and joked that it was just what I needed to stop me turning into a human popsicle. Best of all, since the fleeces he'd spotted were men's fleeces, they came in a range of sensible - for that you can read 'dull' - colours. The women's version of the Yeti comes in a shocking deep pink or an impractical cream (believe me, that's not going to be my choice) whilst the men's Yeti was available in black (or possibly navy) and khaki. Whilst I have no plans to go to war or take up camouflaged bird spotting, khaki seemed the better of the two options so I grabbed one.
~Lumps and Bumps~
When I was a teenager, my step-father used to rib me about wearing men's jumpers, claiming that I couldn't have his to borrow as I'd leave 'bumps' in them. He tried to persuade me that women's jumpers were wider at the front than the back to compensate for protuberances. I thought then and I still think now that he was talking rot and just didn't want me leaving long hairs on his clothes. I got my own back by pinching his Eau Sauvage aftershave but shhh, don't tell. The women's version of the Yeti is a little more 'shaped' around the middle but since I've never been very 'shaped' myself, I was happy to go for the men's fleece. Some may buy such clothes with an eye to style and fit but I was just looking for warm and cosy. I also find that the men's fleeces tend to be a bit longer and keep your bum warm more than the ladies versions. For a woman I'm above average height and I don't want and draughts around the base of my fleece and this is the perfect length that I can just about sit on.
It's the fabric that makes the Yeti such a lovely cosy fleece as it's a shaggy, long-furred type rather than the more common flat fleece fabric. I guess the idea is that the 'fur' traps more heat and keeps you warmer. However, it looks like someone went out hunting teddy bears, skinned the poor little things and made me a top. Shame on that teddy-killer. I did worry that it looked like it would probably matt up quite badly when it was washed and that's the main reason I've waited nearly three months to review it; I wanted to be sure that it would wash well and wouldn't shed all over the place.
~Style? Maybe that's the wrong word to use~
The Yeti is a 'pull over the head' fleece with a zip that runs from the neck down to mid-boob level. This is handy as it gives you a quick and easy way to cool things down if the extremely warm fleece gets too hot to handle. For times when it's particularly cold, there's a baffle behind the zip which stops the cold wind taking a short-cut through the zip. On the downside, the sleeve cuffs are so tight I can't even push them six inches up my arm if I want to do the washing up. Obviously I don't ever WANT to do the washing up, but you know what I mean. The neck is high so you can either zip it the whole way and keep half your face warm when you're out and it's really cold, or you can zip half way and leave the rest to form wings, or give a collar effect. The Yeti has an enormous front pocket, accessible from either side, forming a 'tube' effect. This means you can put both hands in, shake your own hand and access anything you've put into the pocket from either side. It reminds me of a little furry 'muff' I had when I was a child.
There's nothing terribly high tech about this item and lovers of technical fleeces will shake their heads in despair at such an amateur's product. It's also rather too bulky to take to the hills as once it's off it really doesn't roll up particularly small. However, whilst the techno-fleece owners are running up and down mountains trying to remember in which of their hidden secret pockets they put their compass or trying to work out whether to open or close their venting zips, I'll be curled up on the sofa with a mug of coffee and a cat on my lap feeling warm.
~Peel it off me and stick it in the washer~
Since I bought this fleece, it's hardly been off my back for most of my leisure time. I get home from work, change into it and cuddle up. The only down side to the potential arrival of spring is that I know it will soon be too hot to wear this. As it is, I have to take some care not to overheat if I wear it under a coat or if I'm going in and outdoors as it gets too warm. It's also probably too warm to wear indoors if you're not as mean with the heating as I am. I can't wear it if I go to visit my parents who enjoy showing off their pensioners' winter fuel allowance.
The Yeti is made from 100% Polyester in China so the man with the gun killing the teddy bears was Chinese. The care label recommends a gentle 30 degree wash but I chuck it in with everything else on a 40C wash and it comes out fine every time. The shaggy fleece does take a bit longer to dry than a standard flat fleece but it's still quicker than most knits would be.
~Cheaper than turning up the heating~
The list price for a Yeti - whether a girl Yeti or a boy Yeti - is £35.99 but I believe I paid £24.99 and I think you can get one at £19.99 on the Mountain Warehouse website as the temperature is gettting warmer. My Men's Yeti top is probably the cuddliest warmest thing in my wardrobe except for my cats. Which brings me to the point that khaki is great for not showing the fur they shed onto it if they find it when I'm not at home and decide to nest on it. Even my cats know that the Yeti fleece is super-cosy and warm.