Get your own personal stylist to help you find clothes you love. All online, completely free

Sign In

Style Advice

Why the anorak deserves a place in your wardrobe

Why the anorak deserves a place in your wardrobe

The anorak might bring to mind trainspotters and birdwatchers, but the practical jacket has a storied history that eclipses its reputation as a hobbyist’s favourite. It all begins with its roots as a hooded coat made from sealskin worn to protect native Inuits against the freezing Arctic conditions. You may be surprised to learn that anorak is the only Inuit word in the English language.

During the Crimean war, the anorak was adopted as a popular military style as armies looked to clothing favoured by Arctic explorers and adapted a cotton and fur-lined version for the battlefield. That style was later favoured by early mountaineers in the 1950s, before seeping into civilian clothing and eventually becoming a widespread style worn by dads and 90s ravers alike.

One reason for the anorak’s far-reaching appeal? It's well-equipped for bracing the elements. It usually comes in fleece for warmth, or ripstop and other water-resistant fabrics, so it work in whatever questionable weather the day throws at you. It’s this, along with its eclectic history, that makes the jacket a fashion mainstay that’s fully deserving of a place in your wardrobe. Throw one on with your joggers and Air Max or over a roll neck and flannel trousers, and neither will be out of place.

If you naturally lean towards casual dressing, an anorak is the perfect extra layer to pair with hoodies and knits in colder weather, before you move on to a full winter coat. It’s light and portable, easy to pack away for days out or sweltering commutes, and the classic olive green and military shades are easy to pair with almost any casual style – especially if you’re not into the bright, garish prints favoured by 1990s subcultures. So as the temperature dips this season, consider it your cue to invest in an anorak, and wear it with pride. Birdwatching optional. 

Words: Ella White
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Luke McDonald