Burberry Prorsum, Celine and Miu Miu (L-R). Photos: PA,Wire Image, Imaxtree
You've got your head around the terminology? Great – but the next challenge is styling it. Once confined to coat lining, designers like Christopher Bailey, Miuccia Prada and Phoebe Philo gave it centre stage on the autumn/winter runway – and it cropped up as sweeping capes, car coats, trimmed booties, and, of course, the aviator.
Done well, the promised land of super-cool, super-cosy outdoorwear awaits you. Done badly, and you'll look like you belong in the cave, or worse, rallying members of Grimsby Town FC.
Bailey's creations for Burberry Prorsum are a great place to start for inspiration. His autumn/winter show was a veritable homage to shearling's nubby fleece texture, and in his hands it looked terribly sophisticated.
The triumph of shearling is that it doesn't have the inherent lah-di-dah snobbishness of fur, so you can wear it with jeans and a jumper. And just like your favourite leather biker jacket, it is also the perfect partner in crime for a frothy, floaty dress.
When buying shearling, look out for a peachy feel on a supple lightweight pelt, ensuring the skin doesn't have cracks or feel dry, unless of course it's been treated with a glaze effect (see Acne's biker jacket in our selection of favourites below). Shearling doesn't come cheap, but buy the best you can afford as this will be an investment piece to have and to hold.
And if your bank manager won't let you invest in a coat, you can add a touch of luxe cosiness to your outerwear with shearling accessories or a pair of shearling-trimmed boots.
Take a look at our gallery for affordable inspiration, and lust-worthy designer splurges.
How to wear it: Shearling
£425 in store at Jigsaw
£1920 from Net-a-Porter
and Harvey Nichols
£1725 in store at Harvey Nichols London and Colette