A Gentleman’s Guide
Seven Ways To Wear The Outdoor Trend
How to work technical outerwear into your everyday wardrobe without scaling the Eiger
Milan, January 2019. Photograph by TheUrbanspotter/Blaublut-Edition.com
More people are currently working to fine-tune Amazon’s next-generation Echo device than have ever set foot on top of Mount Everest, which, at 8,848m, is the world’s loftiest summit. Not that you’d know this from the latest menswear collections. Judging by the outerwear currently on offer, mountaineering, rather than Silicon Valley, is where the money is – our peak industry, if you will.
Of course, pieces crafted from the finest natural fibres such as cashmere, or even vicuña, by makers such as Loro Piana will always have their place. But increasingly, man-made, ripstop materials that fall under trademarked banners such as Gore-Tex or Cordura are creeping into the field of high luxury. Meanwhile, footwear you might think is exclusively for fell running is finding its feet on fashion week runways and into the wardrobes of the street-style set.
This has been driven by the rise of streetwear and the adoption of outdoors brands, such as Patagonia and The North Face by those fickle people we often refer to as “style insiders”. But it is also worth remembering that Prada forged its own path into technical sportswear way back in the 1990s. As shown above, its recent output is tapping into the label’s rich archives, but as ever, pushing things forward.
These days, the further you can yomp out into the back of beyond in your clothes, the better. But how can you wear this latest batch of high-end gear without getting lost in the fashion jungle? MR PORTER is here to steer you in the right direction.
PICK A POCKET (OR FIVE)
Copenhagen, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding
Whereas in computing, Moore’s law dictates that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years, thereby shrinking the device, smartphones have gone the other way, as consumers have sought larger screens. This means the pocket has never worked harder. We count at least eight cargo, flap and zip pockets on the front of the jacket above, although the only item we can be sure this gentleman is stowing is his hands. (You’d think he’d find space somewhere for a pair of gloves.) Nevertheless, while the jacket does the heavy lifting, sartorially speaking, the additional bag in a contrasting yellow ensures his oversized outerwear is not too weighed down.
Stand out from the crowd
Paris, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding
This season, the clothing to be seen in is also the clothing to be seen in. The arrival of technical fabrics to cosmopolitan menswear coincides with an array of colours that could be easily spotted by search and rescue aircraft following an avalanche. It will also draw the attention of a street-style snapper, as demonstrated here. The two men above are wearing remarkably similar outfits, but the vivid yellow jacket and red beanie – perched in a manner to suggest Mr Jacques Cousteau embarking on a voyage into deepest Shoreditch, helixing in keeping with the local fauna – worn by the figure in the forefront leaves that of his companion, dressed in blue, in the shade. And, while they are both seemingly using Google Maps to plot a course to their next fashion week fixture, one is already headed down the correct path.
Show your true colours
Florence, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Marc Richardson
If exploration once carried with it a sense of the conquest of nature, the wardrobe of the modern adventurer takes a far more holistic approach. Brands such as The North Face, Patagonia and Japan’s Snow Peak, as worn here, present more of an opportunity to reconnect with the natural world, being built upon a sustainable model of growth, wherever possible, so that venturing to the ends of the earth does not contribute to the end of the Earth. The rusty tone of the down jacket here sits nicely with the hardy brown corduroy of this man’s trousers, a combination as crisp as a dry, autumn afternoon. Compare it to the searing orange of the Italian police station behind, and this outfit is the far more natural fit.
Specialise in black ops
Florence, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Marc Richardson
The top layer worn here appears to be a jacket fashioned from a performance fabric, but cut in a traditional manner, much like the LT blazer from Arc’teryx Veilance. And, as crumpled as it may be, it is worn with the top of its two buttons done up, as has been the golden rule since the days of King Edward VII. Whether the current British monarch’s great-grandfather would approve of the clothing worn above is a moot point, but we are quite taken with it. First, the black-on-black approach (even the glasses frames match) is striking. Second, the additional outerwear beneath the blazer provides further cover and takes the trend for a hoodie tucked under a jacket to the next level. With a turtleneck buried even deeper in this ensemble, each layer is expertly positioned to make its presence felt – and keep the wearer feeling very toasty indeed.
Be ready for anything
London, January 2019. Photograph by TheUrbanspotter/Blaublut-Edition.com
“Accessomorphosis,” coined by Mr Virgil Abloh, the driving force behind Off-White and Louis Vuitton, describes the evolution of an accessory into a garment. The hooded jacket above takes this idea and runs with it. It could be the replacement for the desk worn by a modern-day, WeWork-based freelance professional. Or equally it could be Nasa-approved kit for the inaugural mission to Mars. For further evidence that this man is not messing around, note the bright-red insulated ski gloves. Such items would not get lost in a whiteout on either pole and would also undoubtedly protect the wearer from frostbite on what seems to be a rather mild day on the high street of, maybe, London’s Shepherd’s Bush. However, the way the environment is currently going, it pays to be prepared, as this gentleman clearly is.
Don’t phone it in
Paris, January 2019. Photograph by Mr Marc Richardson
Far from being out in the wilderness, The North Face has long been a brand with a cult following. But recent collaborations with the likes of Junya Watanabe have seen its stock soar way above the rocky outcrops it is associated with. Today, the brand won’t look out of place on the city streets, and while this jacket has a more military-slanted form than most of the label’s output, it works well when deployed for civilian use. The navy-blue outerwear paired with khaki chinos is a combination that every man can make work but is elevated here. If, however, this man is sharing the secrets to his style, the fetching scarf is probably rendering it quite muffled on the other end of the line.
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MR PORTER or the products shown