Protection Against The Elements
Outerwear is having a moment. And no, we’re not talking about your timeless pea coat or classic cotton mac. We’re talking about durable, rain-, snow- and storm-proof coats that are as tough as armour.
This isn’t just about practicality either (though it’s certainly a contributing factor) – high quality, outdoor-focussed brands have experienced a renaissance over the past year or so, with the rise of sports luxe making technical fabrics and advanced construction techniques highly desirable.
Yes, useful clothing is being celebrated again. And so it should be. If you’re going to spend a few hundred quid on a jacket, it better perform and be built to last.
To help you surf this rising tide of practical, outdoors attire, we’re set to showcase the five leading labels in the sector:
1. Hunter Original
Stella McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis has brought Hunter Original a long way since taking over the reins of the brand last year.
He’s kept the label true to its British outdoors/Wellington boots roots, but brought it into the 21st century via the use of bright colours and modern fabrics.
For SS15, Willis has used memory nylon, sateen and vinyl for the construction of the collection. The use of these materials is aesthetic, but also functional – for example, memory nylon retains its shape when it comes into contact with water, a bit like Teflon.
Ideal for the unpredictable British springtime.
Short Rubberised Raincoat (£225) and Original Clear Poncho (£140), available at hunterboots.com.
2. Stone Island
You are no doubt familiar with Italian label Stone Island. After all, the brand is one of the market leaders when it comes to technical and utilitarian clothing.
It’s this dedication to innovation and advancement that has seen Stone Island develop an almost cult-like following. Fusing progressive silhouettes with experimental materials – such as its trompe l’oeil opaque reflective fabric with a coating made from thousands of glass microspheres – the brand has been spotted on the likes of Drake and Russell Tovey, as well as some of the industry’s most fashion-forward individuals.
Flowing Camo Watro Jacket (£550) and David Light-Tc Parka (£550), available at stoneisland.co.uk.
3. Canada Goose
When it comes to true cold-weather gear, Canada Goose has got it down to a fine art. After all, it’s in the brand’s DNA – its parkas were developed for scientists working in research facilities in Antarctica.
Filled with the brand’s high quality coyote fur ruff and duck (not goose, as the name might suggest) down, these coats are built to withstand extreme temperatures, which means they will effortlessly handle anything Mother Nature throws at it.
Daniel Craig, Matt Damon and Andrew Garfield have all been seen wearing one of the brand’s classic Expedition Parkas – and if it’s good enough for 007, Jason Bourne and Spidey, it’s good enough for us.
Canada Good Expedition Parkas, from £750 at Mr Porter.
Where Canada Goose was originally designed to withstand snow, Patagonia was designed to withstand a different form of precipitation: rain.
But that’s not to say the brand’s superb selection of outerwear is solely for trekking, hiking and living in an oceanic climate. No, styled correctly, their signature pared-back anoraks and raincoats make a stylish and versatile wardrobe addition. Simply team with black skinny jeans and your favourite pair of trainers for a practical, easy to wear look that is ideal for the transition into spring.
These jackets come in a plethora of colour ways, plus there are down or synthetic fill options if you fancy something warm as well as waterproof.
Insulated Torrentshell Jacket (£220) and Untracked Jacket (£420), available at patagonia.com.
5. The North Face
The North Face is the brand that has perhaps benefited most from this new-found focus on practical, outdoors attire. Since the 1970s, the label has been sponsoring expeditions to far flung corners of the globe, making it the first choice for many extreme sportsmen and explorers around the world.
Always pushing the boundaries of innovation and design, it’s this potent blend of fashion and function that ensures North Face’s continued appeal with both Bear Grylls wannabes and Brooklyn-based bohemians alike.
The brand’s signature waterproof and down jackets come highly recommended. As with Patagonia, combine with slim jeans and on-trend trainers/hiking boots for an easy day-to-day winter ensemble. There’s no need to over-think or over-style things here.
Nuptse 2 Jacket (£180) and Resolve Jacket (£100), available at thenorthface.co.uk.