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Only a short while ago, technical clothing was relegated to hiking trails and mountain climbing only. But today, it's crept into mainstream fashion, which is good because we could do with all of their handy qualities in our day-to-day life too. You know, the days when you aren’t climbing Kilimanjaro. And it turns out, especially if casual wear is your thing, it can look incredibly stylish – if you wear it right, of course.
The trick is incorporating classic “outdoorsy” fabrics – think nylon and ripstop – in a way that slots seamlessly into your day-to-day wardrobe. And trust us, they really can work for any sort of activity this summer – without feeling too “hi, I love rock climbing and white-water rafting.” It’s all about throwing in those subtle nods that make the outfit look really cool while still being appropriate to wear to the pub, no questions asked. Don’t believe us? Keep scrolling for more detailed tips from our stylist Toby Standing.
Nylon is an incredibly hard-wearing and working fabric, which is one of the reasons it shouldn’t be saved exclusively for your athleisure pieces. In fact, the synthetic fabric also lends itself nicely to the casual end of the dressing spectrum for day to day.
In the summer months, you might not want to opt for nylon head-to-toe as it’s got pretty low breathability; however, incorporating the fabric into your accessories – think bags and hats – is a welcomed alternative. It’s actually a better choice than anything in cotton too, because the colour won’t fade in the sun over time meaning you can wear them all season long, and for years to come after that.
But, if you do really want to incorporate this fabric into your clothing, we’ve got a couple of options for you. First, it’s great in the form of outerwear because it’s both water repellent and lightweight – so if you’ve got any rainy festivals planned, a nylon jacket is your best bet. Or, investing in a pair of Patagonia Baggies is a great idea come summer because of how quick drying they are i.e. you can run from the beach to lunch with friends with ease.
Ripstop, like nylon, is a great reinforced synthetic fabric. It’s got all the same durable qualities, it just doesn’t quite have the same shine.
Again it works well in accessories, especially hats, because it’s always going to keep the same shape and structure that was there when you originally bought it. But, in terms of clothing, we’d say it looks best in legwear. Essentially, wherever you’d usually place denim, you can switch it out for ripstop. That said, it’s probably best just to save this fabric for your more casual occasions – the woven nature of the fabric means it looks super laid-back (in the best way). It also means it’s very unlikely to tear or rip. Good to know.
Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing