Traditions in men’s clothing are great, although sometimes a little innovation isn’t so bad either. For the cool, damp mornings we’ve been having in the Bay Area, I’ve been breaking out my Gore-Tex parka. Gore-Tex is sometimes used as a generic name for all weatherproof/ breathable fabrics – much like how Kleenex is used for facial tissues and Jell-O for gelatin – but in fact, like those other products, it’s something very specific.
Originally introduced in the 1970s, Gore-Tex is a trademarked name for a kind of multi-layer shell. The outermost layer is typically treated with a durable, water resistant finish (to help water bead off the surface). Beneath that is a thin and flexible membrane, which has a web-like structure with billions of microscopic pores per square inch. This membrane is fine enough to not let water droplets through, but allows heat and humidity to escape. And finally, just below that is a protective, breathable film to help keep dirt and oils away from the sensitive membrane.
All this makes Gore-Tex a much more breathable fabric than traditional weatherproofing systems, such as bonded or waxed cottons. Which means it’s also a lot more comfortable to wear in cool, but not quite cold, weather conditions (like we’ve been having this Spring). My Gore-Tex jacket is from Nanamica, a Japanese label that specializes in outerwear and bags. Seen above is their company’s flagship model, the Cruiser, which is available at End and Barneys. You can also find Gore-Tex jackets through brands such as Patagonia and Arc’teryx, although I think the “heritage-y” designs from Musto might be easier to wear.
My Cruiser here is seen with:
- Stephen Schneider’s Addict sweater: A loosely knit, but sturdy, cotton sweater from this season’s Stephan Schneider collection. The open-weave not only makes this highly breathable (you can almost feel every breeze blowing through), but also lends some nice surface interest to an otherwise plain ensemble.
- 3sixteen SL-100x jeans: An old pair of 3sixteen jeans from the company’s second run of fabric with Kaihara Mills (they’re with Kuroki now). This denim started off raw, but has since yielded some nice vertical streaks and strong contrast fades.
- Common Projects b-ball highs: One of my favorite sneakers this season. The price is high, but I love the minimalist take on Nike’s Air Force 1s. You can, of course, just get the all-white version of Nike’s Air Force 1s, but the silhouette will be a bit chunkier.
- Brooks England Pickwick bag: A minimalist rolltop bag from the bicycle saddle manufacturer Brooks England. I love the simple, pared-down design and large compartment space. You can get these directly from Brooks England, but they’re also available for a bit cheaper through Sierra Trading Post and Mr. Porter.
- Don’t Mourn Organize belt: A hand-stained belt made from a slightly shaved-down saddle leather. Scott, the man behind Don’t Mourn Organize, makes some of the best value belts I’ve seen anywhere (at least for casual, rugged styles).