31 March 2015

FEATURE: Spring clothing

Yes, it's sprung.

Can you smell it in the air? No, that isn't us, that is the smell of spring! Oh the daffodils, oh the baby chicks, oh the still-pretty-freezing-wether-despite-the-shining-sun... we love it all. As spring has definitely sprung, and as the days get longer and the temperatures (slightly) higher, we take a look at some awesome apparel to don this season.

Helly Hansen Pace Block Jacket

First up, something for the fitness freaks. If you've caught the warmer weather bug and decided to get an early start on your bathing suit workout routine, this is the jacket for you. Perfect for cycling or running in, this paper-thin outer layer is remarkably good at keeping you warm, while allowing heat to escape through the back and under-arm ventilation.

Seriously, this thing weighs nothing and feels like you might tear it if you give it a funny look. Fortunately it is actually very robust, and we love the flock print lining to stop it sticking to your sweaty back. Perfect for a work out, but also just as a light occasional jacket while the weather is still unpredictable.


Helly Hansen Graphic FZ Hoodie

We've tried a couple of hoodies from Helly Hansen in the past, and always adored them. This version is perfect for spring as it features a zip running right the way down the front. It's cotton throughout with a jersey hood lining, making it not only soft and comfortable, but damn good at keeping you snug.

You get the standard kangaroo pockets on the front (which actually feel more natural due to the zip turning them into separate hand pockets) and elasticised wrists and hem to keep it tight on. Although we're never normally fans of graphic prints on hoodies, this one, with latitude and longitude points printed in raised felt, is actually very nice.


EDZ Microfleece Midlayer Jacket

If you're not bothered about super-thin jackets and cosy hoodies, how about a fleece? This exceptionally comfortable microfleece from EDZ works for sport, popping out to the shops, and lazing about the house thanks to the thin-yet-strong plain fleece material. The front zip opens the fleece completely, while it also features pockets, a drop-down back (good for cycling) as well as being very quick to dry.

This fleece makes a perfect midlayer on a particularly cold day, while also serving as a decent outer layer once the temperatures start to rise. We all need a fleece from time to time, so getting one that offers as much comfort and versatility as possible is important - and we've found it in this one from EDZ.


Helly Hansen Jotun Convertible Pants

Don't worry, we mean pants in the American sense - we're not reviewing Y-fronts. What we are reviewing is a highly versatile pair of trousers which, by way of hidden zip seams, can quickly convert into shorts. Not only that but the Jotun Pants features seven pockets (including a handy secure zip-closing pocket on the hip), fast-drying material, and an adjustable waist thanks to Velcro fasteners.

The polymide material make these trousers both comfortable and tough, meaning you can wear them while out hiking around the hills, and also when lounging in a coffee shop hoping someone will ask you about the screenplay you're writing (just us?). All those pockets (including two cargo pockets on the thighs) mean you'll never be short (pun intended) on space, and the ability to change into shorts is one we welcome with open arms. Ah, imagine the possibilities on a hot day...


Helly Hansen VTR Core

The VTR Core is a thin long-sleeve top for women, designed for both training and general wearing. The polyester material has been cut to hug the female figure in all the right places, while leaving enough room for air to circulate. If you are planning to make this your spring morning jog top, you'll be happy to hear that it is quick drying and that all the seams are flatlocked, meaning they won't irritate your skin.

We love the slight opening on the back of the neck, and also the fact that the VTR Core will offer up to UPF 40 sun protection. Just in case we actually do see some sunshine this spring.


EDZ 200g Merino Wool Men's Zip Neck Top 

Merino wool is prized for its near miraculous insulative properties, while also being a material that can keep you cool. Having a versatile top made entirely out of the stuff is a handy thing to have then, and that is just what EDZ has put together in this Zip Neck Top.

Clearly designed as a base layer due to the figure-hugging cut (and figure-hugging it certainly is - especially on the arms), it can double as both an item of sporting and casual clothing. The athletes will love the cycle-friendly dropped back, the flat seams, and the thumb holes in the cuffs, while the rest of us will enjoy a garment that looks as good as it feels to wear.


Helly Hansen VTR Feather Singlet

Stripping everything down to the basics, the Feather Singlet is a light and airy top designed for women in the midst of a training regimen. The fabric is extremely quick drying (which we've worked out means 'your sweat won't show on it for too long') while also made to keep you cool. As the arm cuts are swept back away from the shoulder blades, it's great for running in.

We love also the laser cut details on the back, exposing petal-like patches of bare skin around the HH logo. More ventilation we assume. Can we get one of those clothes cutting lasers please Mr Hansen?


Helly Hansen Aquapace Shoes

These low-profile slip-on shoes are ideal for treading the boardwalks and padding around on your yacht. But if you're a normal person who tends not to spend time around either boardwalks or yachts, these are also pretty good every day shoes. That low profile means they won't get your feet hot on sunny days, and they slip on like a glove (for your feet) and feature an adjustable cord to keep them nice and firmly in place.

One use we found for them that we weren't expecting is as a pair of cycling shoes. Because they are very compact and light they fit onto bike pedals very well, and the low tops will never snag on your chain or wheel. And, despite their small size, they still offer tonnes of support while you're walking around. Big choice of colours with these beauties too.


Helly Hansen Symphony MJ Shoes

Finally, we looked at another pair of slip-ons from our Norwegian friends, this time built for women. The Symphony MJ shoes are made from suede and canvas and definitely pitched at a nautical lifestyle. But, once again, while most of us are severely landlocked, these are still great for slipping on during the coming spring.

The rubber cupsole is strong yet surprisingly flexible, while the high quality suede on top is both soft and fairly rugged. They slip on a treat and stay there, despite the lack of any adjustable cord as with the men's shoes above. Comfortable and cooling, you'll be wearing these until the snow starts to fall next winter.


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