Can we (really) wear polar fleece?

27 November 2019 | Posted by Zackary

Like many details in our memory, sometimes clothing is inseparable from certain memories. You may know this effect with the outfit you adopted for a family dinner, the look chosen by your darling on the first date, or that of your Unemployment Office advisor on the day your registered.

After the last winter fashion week, I took a trip to memory lane. The reason? The emergence of the polar fleece on a growing number of runways... which brought me back to old P.E. classes, spent under the screams of a professor wearing a pair of New Balance never taking off the ground, a legging moulding his three-piece service and, you will have guessed it, the infamous jacket...

Nevertheless, from Fendi to 3.1 Phillip Lim, Burberry and Coach, it is now having a breakthrough. A phenomenon already initiated by enthusiats of a style mixing streetwear and outdoor, like the Supreme x Patagonia collaborations, that luxury has finally decided to seize. Under the impetus of designers reinventing the dad's wardrobe, in the same vein as fanny packs or ugly sneakers, it offers itself a cool side, different from the usual coats. 

So, can we wear it without looking like a retiree on an hiking excursion?

Gorpcore, when the mountain becomes trendy

(© The Cut)

It all started a little over two years ago, when A$AP Rocky arrived at New York's fashion week in orange polar fleece and red down jacket. In the meantime, VETEMENTS created looks for trekkers on acid. While Dsquared joined forces with K-Way, Prada revived its Linea Rossa, which had been extinct since the early 2000s. This is all it took for the mountain look to take hold of the city, and even has its own name: gorpcore (in reference to the "gorp", a cocktail of dried fruit particularly consumed by climbers, editor's note)

(© Sandy Liang)

Hiking boots, cargo pants and other windbreakers are also favoured, as well as technical fabrics in all their forms. Enough to reaffirm your support for the environment, while hanging out in ultra-comfortable garments...

Mixing the influences

As with all tricky pieces, the easiest way is to avoid wearing your polar fleece in a total look. Instead, enjoy the vintage accent it gives to an outfit: it can be combined with faded jeans, a sweatshirt whose hood will poke out and a small pair of sneakers or, in another repertoire, a boho dress with prints.

(© Coach 1941 FW19 — Filippo Fior for GoRunway)

This idea of contrast is pushed to its peak when the polar fleece invites itself into a look of formal inspiration. Why not replace a blazer with a black version, thus twisting a white shirt or turtleneck close to the body? Casual chic is always a sure thing, even here...

(© GettyImages)

Bolder than it seems

In terms of influences, not all polar fleeces are equal. While some of them seem to come straight out of the Amazing Race set, others take the form of a long vest, a zipped jumper, an oversized Harrington jacket... We would highly recommend that you turn to a model far from its most literal incarnation, allowing for richer looks.

(© Condé Nast)

Beyond the cut, labels like to opt for strong items. We have seen interpretations in leopard, logomania or color block style, others enhanced with noble leather inserts, draped with silk, or even in reversible mode. It then becomes the centrepiece of the outfit, the one that we wish to highlight as an ultimate totem on the altar of nonchalance. All you have to do is bring out your best hashtags...  

(© Fendi FW18 — Alessandro Garofalo for IndigitalTV)

Just a little touch...

If you feel the call of the trend, but are unable to fully renounce your prejudices, integrate it in small steps. Its material is particularly interesting when used on accessories, bags and bucket hats leading the way. Cut in neutral tones or, on the contrary, bright shades, its texture brings a rather unique depth to the whole.

(© Rex Features)

In any case, remember that if we only had to settle for clothes that were considered consensual from the start, we would not be wearing much new stuff. Without this type of questioning, jogpants would still be the prerogative of 50-year-olds undergoing weight loss treatments and drug dealers. Far from turning yourself into apostles of gorpcore, do not limit yourself to the most obvious. The rest is not all that bad... •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. Addicted to fashion and to Lucky Strike, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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