3 November 2015

FEATURE: Autumn clothing

All wrapped up.

Autumn can be an awkward time. Do you need a massive jacket yet? Will you be okay just popping out without your coat? Is it just gloomy or properly cold? We've all been plagued with such questions at this time of year, and so we've gathered together, (mainly from Helly Hansen and Weird Fish) a mixed bag of apparel to suit everything this transitional season can throw at you, be you male or female. You're welcome, by the way.

On top

Helly Hansen Paramount Softshell Jacket

This multi-use jacket is perfect to pop on at this time of year, as it is both light in weight, thick for warmth, and sealed against a down-pour. The softshell outer fabric is wind-proof yet breathable, and also water resistant. There is a fleece lining to keep you snug and side pockets great for shoving in your hands if the temperature plummets. Other than that there is a chest pocket which screams 'put your phone in here', adjustable cuffs, and YKK zips all over.

We found that the Paramount was a great autumnal choice, be it for trekking over the moors or popping to the pub at night. Despite the warmth it provides it can be tightly rolled up and popped in your bag should the sun make a prolonged and welcome appearance.


Fjällräven Kiruna Padded Jacket

If the weather does take a turn for the worst, and the above from Helly Hansen doesn't seem to be cutting it for you, you could break out the big guns. The Kiruna Padded Jacket from Swedish brand Fjällräven (making their first appearance on this site) has a chunkier design and can keep you warm well into the winter. The outer layer is a tough and hard-wearing wind and water resistant G-1000 fabric, while the insulation on the inside is recycled polyamide, doing the job of real down.

The Fjällräven Kiruna Padded Jacket also features a fixed adjustable hood, a two way zip on the front, hand pockets on the side, another phone-friendly chest pocket, and adjustable press-stud cuffs. This jacket is heavier than the Helly effort, but can certainly keep you warm in more extreme situations. We can imagine wearing this well into the spring, and thanks to the generous cut and design, it has a lot of freedom of movement, making it perfect for your autumnal adventures in the wild.


Weird Fish State Tech Soft Knit Fleece Sweatshirt

When we last did a clothing feature, we massively sang the praises of British brand Weird Fish and their signature Macaroni sweatshirt. Now it seems that the weirdys of Weird Fish will be remaining at the top of our favourite list thanks to this unbelievably soft and comfy sweatshirt, the State Soft Knit Fleece. Imagine falling asleep amongst a heard of sheep, who all smell like clean laundry, and who carry on their backs to the land of duvets and bouncy castles – that's basically what wearing this is like.

The fleece is 100% thick and fluffy polyester and features hand pockets on the front and a zip-closing chest pocket up to top. It also features a herringbone ¼ length zip at the neck, and an adjustable draw cord around the hem to stop any wind getting up there. Seriously, this thing is uber comfortable, and a perfect outer layer for the autumn when the weather is so-so.


Helly Hansen Luna Parka

The Luna Parka from Helly possesses that classic furry hooded look for women, along with some serious insulation. The jacket is water repellent and wind-proof, yet also breathable and surprisingly light despite the cosy bulk. The cut is thigh length with a drawn-in waist and features hand pockets at the hip and larger pockets on the chest.

This is the kind of jacket that you can truly sink into, and we've been uncharacteristically glad for the cooler weather in the past few weeks that has warranted us wearing this as much as possible. You will be glad to hear that it is faux fur used in the hood trim, and it certainly serves well at keeping out the chills. The wrists feature elasticated sections that also help to keep you snug, while the PrimaLOFT Silver insulation makes it perfect for treks further out than the office.


Weird Fish Bennet Longline Open Cardigan

Another way to keep warm from Weird Fish, the woman's Bennet Longline Open Cardigan is a mixture of acrylic, polyester, elastane, and a small amount of mohair – perfect for the big fluffy effect without the annoying itchiness. The cardigan is the ultimate autumn throw-over, as it doesn't feature any buttons or zips, meaning you can simply wrap yourself up in it's all-enveloping loveliness.

The Bennet is plainly styled coming in navy, foxberry (a kind of red) and pebble (a kind of grey), without much fanciness other than the pointelle knit detail running down the back. We've had happy use from this both out in the wilds (well, does York city centre count?) but also at home as the go-to 'it's getting a bit nippy' cardigan. Which is something we all need in our lives.



Helly Hansen Legacy Flannel Shirt

It's thick shirt time again, lads; when popping out on an evening in the silk number from Paul Smith just no longer cuts it (or gets you home without a trip for A&E suffering from hypothermia). Helly's range of Legacy flannel shirts come resplendent in 100% thick flannel cotton with dyed yarn check. You'll look like a lumber jack, and by God everyone else will stare at you with jealousy.

If merely keeping warm just isn't practical enough for you, the Legacy shirts feature two chest pockets with button closures, toughened elbow patches, an angled back yoke, and the obligatory HH logo on the sleeve. We found this shirt to be the absolute bees knees on chilly days when we had quite a bit of walking to do, neatly paired with the likes of a gillet on top.


Weird Fish Lynton Cotton Sueded Rugby Style Sweatshirt

A bit like a shirt, only you don't have to button anything down, many of us here have always been enamoured by the humble 'rugger', as it's a way for chaps to say 'yeah, I'm active' without having to get sweaty. Brilliant. Weird Fish have nailed it here with the Lyton Sweatshirt, having the looks and feel of a classic rugby shirt with the typical Weird Fish playful twist.

Completely cotton with a softness that needs to have hands ran all over it to be believed, this sweatshirt features a stiffer white collar, a button up neck (that should never be buttoned-up – come on!) and a bit of a surprise on the back. Emblazoned on a huge white panel, which is definitely not a mere print, are the words 'WEIRD FISH Supply & Co' and some lovely fishing hooks. To us it added further weight to the 'yeah, I'm active' statement, adding a possible 'at fishing and that. I might even own my own boat' which we appreciate. Anyway... soft, comfy, well-made and snug. Hook, line and sinker!


Helly Hansen Marstrand LS Polo

Not to be outdone, the Norwegians have also had a crack at winning over our rugby top loving eyes, with their own version. Sure, they call it a LS Polo (which we assume stands for long-sleeved), and certainly it feels very similar to polos we have reviewed from Helly Hansen in the past, but this is a tad different.

Marine themed, the Marstrand LS Polo is made from a rougher, tougher feeling cotton than Weird Fish's, making it feel thicker and slightly warmer. It features a dropped back (cyclists cheer!), small splits on the side with contrasting fabric, and also a cotton twill collar with contrasting piping. All the styles (there are five very pretty colour choices) are printed with a 57° emblem which we think alludes to some form of navigation, and not how hot you'll feel wearing it. Perfect on even chillier days, even with a t-shirt underneath or with a light jacket on top.


Weird Fish Ella ¾ Sleeve Printed Slub Tunic

This simple tunic is an absolute must for the autumn... or the spring... or the summer. Extremely versatile, it can be matched with just about anything – be it on top, underneath, above, or below – and still look awesome. The Ella is 60% cotton and 40% modal, making it snug yet stretchy, easily allowing you curl up in it and do that thing where you pull your top over your knees so it looks like you have huge boobs.

A flattering cut, with a gathering, elasticated section on the waist, the Ella tunic is long enough in both hem and sleeve to keep you wrapped up, while actually being practical to wear on its own indoors. Coupled with cosy leggings and a decent overcoat, this is a great autumnal wardrobe choice.


Helly Hansen Coastal Sweater

Again with the nautical style, Helly this time have produced a unique looking female sweater with lots of practical parts. The fabric of the Coastal Sweater is a French terry cotton mix, producing a soft yet tough body with a high cowl neck with cross-over fastening. The neck section is actually very useful for either letting it flap open on warm days, or buttoning it up to the top on chilly days. Which you can imagine you're doing while facing down a Perfect Storm on your yacht.

The sweater also features hand pockets at either side, hidden snap-buttons on the cowl, and long-cut sleeves in which you can easily withdraw your hands on cold mornings. We had this on over the above Weird Fish tunic a few times and the two worked well together to provide lots of warmth and movement. Just saying...


On your feet

Bogs Sidney Lace Plaid

If you think that the above items don't seem to be concerned enough about the rain and staying dry, these little beauties from Bogs should calm your worries. The Sidney Lace Plaid are unique footwear to say the least, essentially being shortened wellies that look like everyday boots. 100% waterproof (as you might have expected), the Sidneys are still great to wear casually thanks to the Bogs Max-Wick which moves sweat away from your feet to help keep you dry.

And just look at them. You will be different, that much is certain. You'll also laugh in the face of a puddle as you stride right through the damn thing. As well as keeping your tootsies dry, the Bogs Sidney Lace Plaid also keep them warm, and we found that wearing them was quite unlike wearing normal wellies. There's no need for massively thick socks for a start, as the Sidney's 5mm thick NeoTech Lite insulation does a rather splendid job by itself. Seems these will serve us well into winter and the (hoped for) snows therein.


Helly Hansen Alexandra

For women's cold weather boots that will draw fewer confused looks than the above, may we introduce you to you our dear friend Alexandra. The Alexandra boots certainly look the business, with a faux fur lining and rubber outsole. The top part of the shoe is premium suede, while lower down you get a soft and flexible leather. The quilt stitching makes for a great texture, while the grip on the tread will keep you stable even if it gets icy.

Slipping these on was akin to first popping on the Luna Parka... but for our feet, obviously. They are soft and comfortable, but also seem very robust when it comes to the elements. But, despite their more extreme intent, we felt very comfortable sporting these to the office and about town, even on fair weather days. We do love flexibility.


On your shoulder

Snugpak Utility Pak

Finally, we wanted to give a special shout-out to a feisty wee bag that has come in super handy recently. The Utility Pak from Snugpak is a great everyday autumn bag, providing enough space for the essentials, without upping the size and weight. This pint-sized bag has it all - from pockets of various sizes for cards, your phone, and even document storage, down to a lanyard to securely attach your keys.

Although designed mostly for travel, to help keep those all important essentials close by, we found it made a great bag for shopping trips and urban walks, when you need a few bits and bobs, but not, say, a sleeping bag or tent. All in all, this a great carry-along for this time of year.


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