Adventure means many things to as many people. Offering advice on dressing for the occasion is therefore a stylist’s Everest. It’s a challenge that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can mean life or death in very real terms… or just making a tit of yourself and your wardrobe. Obviously some pieces can quite easily translate into mainstream daily wear – your gilets, underlayers and the like – but what I’d like to offer here is to help tick a few boxes in the more serious realms of adventure.
The right clothing is vital for any adventure, big or small, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fashionable fun with it. Brands have certainly taken notice and even though style credentials can sometimes lose their grip when it comes to technical wear, there’s no reason to throw in the towel. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to be ready for anything. All the gear and no idea is better than neither.
The most crucial elements of any element-battling ensemble are the outerwear and footwear. Good layering is also vital, but the footwear has to be practical and suitable for terrain, while outwear needs to most likely be waterproof, windproof and breathable. Brands such as Arc’teryx, Mammut and Paramo Clothing focus on technical wear geared for extremes and feature all the qualities you’d desire for protection against severe elements.
When selecting colours, go for complementary, such and black and green, navy and orange and charcoal. If you have reflective strips and so forth you’re good to go. If you’re worried about it getting dark, a brighter gilet or additional accessory can be worn as an outer layer to help stand out. It might not look quite as suave but safety first, as they say.
Trousers with cargo pockets are becoming a thing again and I’ll be bold and say I like them on technical practical outdoorsy types of trousers. When it comes to the contemporary fashion trousers though, steer clear as they will lose their appeal very quickly. Keep the cargo pockets for where it really counts; on the mountains or glaciers, where you can carry important things like a pen-knife, compass, Go-Pro and a high-protein energy bar or five. Paired with good hiking boots this is what cargo trousers were born for. A truly rugged and all-terrain look.
It’s not just fashion taking a few cues from technical wear of course; the shapes of all-weather pieces are becoming more contemporary and fitted so you won’t feel out of place popping into a Michelin starred restaurant after tackling a healthy climb. Provided you’re not still sweating of course. Certain looks can be transferred easily across to wear in the city where it’s become commonplace to see men wearing a technical coat along with their shirt and chinos. Whether it’s for style or practicality (British weather, amirite?) doesn’t really matter. The point is, you have options. That said, if you do decide to wear a technical coat in the city, stick with a more subdued style and colourway. Leave the colourful designs for the mountains. Please.
Similarly, places like Outsiders Store champion technical wear for everyday scenarios and they curate a well-put together edit of brands and clothing. It gives a nod to adventure and exploration that can be worn on your off days, too. Brands like Patagonia and Snow Peak immerse themselves in the very activities and environments that their gear will be used in. Snow Peak, for example, based in Japan, quite literally has its development office in the countryside and lives and breathes its products, discovering how best to tailor them for customers’ needs. What a great way to refine a look and see what works and doesn’t.
Finally, when it comes to classic adventure clothing choices, roll-necks could be your best bet to marry classic and contemporary styling. They have always been an explorer’s choice for extreme winter expeditions and remain a solid staple; they can be paired with anything, including a City suit. Then all you need to do is switch jacket, hop into your Land Rover Defender and head into the sunset. I know I have mine at the ready.