Heading for the country for a ramble or a break? Stephanie Smith has advice on outdoor wear with serious style attitude.
Going outdoors is the new going out (on the town), as January belt-tightening and vows to find a healthier, more active lifestyle sees us head for the hills, moors and coast in search of adventure.
The so-called athleisure trend towards wearing multi-purpose clothes and accessories that work and look appropriate for a variety of places, times of day and occasions means that it’s more important, and possible, to hit the great outdoors looking as if you might have just stepped off an international fashion runway.
It’s a mood and way of living driven, apparently, by millennials, the term used to describe those aged 18-34 in 2015. All activities from cross-training to rambling are selfie and Instagram-friendly, so looking good is essential.
Walks and hikes, even fell-running and climbing, are increasingly being viewed by them as active, sociable activities to enjoy with friends. So, outdoor specialists such as North Face and Mountain Hardware are coming up with technical gear with increasingly stylish shapes and design touches, while clothing stores such as Fat Face and White Stuff have become adept at blending fashion with indoor/outdoor practicality.
Padded and quilted jackets are a good example, easy to wear for work, walk and play, with jeans and over suits. The new season’s styles are simple and pared-back in navy and charcoal.
Chunky, statement knitwear looks luxuriously stylish and translates easily from home to the hills. Specialists such as Brora, which has a shop in Harrogate, has pieces that will impress for contemporary design as well as cosiness.
Oversized is definitely the way to go, not only for that quirky fashion edge, but also to allow room for layers beneath. Throw-on coats and jackets are handy, but also look chic over smart tailoring and party dresses. Think easy, relaxed, practical… with a twist of modern glamour.
Lowie has keyed into this practical, multi-purpose chic trend beautifully. Worn by Erin O’Connor, Lily Cole, Fearne Cotton and Liberty Ross, it’s a British brand that creates heritage-inspired pieces using hand-made techniques and in-house prints in limited runs, to keep the clothes individual. Founded in 2002 by designer Bronwyn Lowenthal it is dedicated to producing collections as ethically as possible, with workers paid fairly. It manufactures in China and Turkey, and uses organic cotton, and ethically sourced cashmere, lambswool, angora, mohair and merino, plus leather free from harmful chemicals.
For a “Chelsea heads to the hills” vibe, Jane & Tash Bespoke is a relatively new outerwear brand founded in autumn 2015 by Jane Thompson and Tash Sordy in Northumberland. It offers parkas, jackets and gilets lined with faux or real fur. Each of their signature parkas is embroidered somewhere with the words “secretly fabulous” and they make an exclusive range for Harrods.
So take care when you decide to hit the great outdoors. It’s a catwalk out there.