It Came in the Mail

(Courtesy Casual Essentials )
Sunday, April 13, 2008

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: The shoul, a lightweight, one-size-fits-all travel wrap.

AIMED AT: Women looking for a topper that's dressier than a sweater but more practical than a shawl.

HOW MUCH: $39 (plus $4.95 shipping)

BUT DOES IT WORK? While we imagined throwing on the shoul to ward off chills on an airplane, train or -- let's be honest -- the Chinatown bus, we tested it in the place most likely to have wild temperature fluctuations. No, not Mount Washington in August . . . The Washington Post newsroom in March.

When tossed over our shoulders, the lightweight, vaguely acrylic-feeling but soft shoul -- the name combines "shoulder" and "shawl" -- didn't immediately zap the blasts emanating from the office air ducts. We wondered if we'd need to add another layer, our trusty but ugly "office sweater." But after about 10 minutes, we noticed that the wrap had comfortably cut the chill while remaining so lightweight we barely noticed wearing it.

The sleevelessness meant the ends flapped around a bit, and from time to time we found ourselves wishing there were more fabric. But we might take to tossing the shoul in our bag the next time we travel. It is, after all, more attractive than our office sweater.

-- Christina Talcott

The shoul is available in black or tan at

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