The tipping point for me was the Canada Goose Parka in the Vetements SS17 show.
Lusciously durable, plump with thermal down and water resistant with a two-way zipper and bungee ties. The hood was especially arousing. Everything leading up to that point slipped away into sartorial insignificance, and everything afterwards streamlined my desires into Stuff That Works.
I am not alone. A quick glance at the New In collections on the most prominent shopping sites shows that function is taking the lead on form in people’s shopping habits: the first 9 rows of Net-a-Porter’s boots selection is comprised of sturdy waterproof hiking boots (the waterproofness of Proenza Schouler’s tiger print calf hair ones yet to be verified). A glance over the rails at Goodhood shows capacious hoods and reflective strips on parkas aplenty. Even ASOS has its own exclusive collaboration with North Face.
It’s not surprising that our love for athleisure has snowballed into a love for performance gear. The seismic cultural shift from the pub into the gym, compounded with extreme weather trends across the planet, means that we need wardrobes that can handle Beasts from the East, floodwater rapids on our cycle to work and Friday nights that wind up with a moving meditation. We need all the track soled, ‘sweat-wicking’, multi-thermal garms we can get.
My AW18 shopping list:
The North Face, 1990 Mountain Q Jacket in Red, £150, ASOS
I won't even wear this shrugged off the shoulders, just plain old zipped up to my chin with the hood strings pulled tight. See you later drizzle.
'We have a long way to go before we catch up with the US in our activewear shopping habits’, says Reema Stanbury, founder of boutique gym chain BLOK and buyer for the gym’s shopping rails which are regularly replenished with ADAY, Wang and Les Girls Les Boys. ‘People have long been very price sensitive about functional wear. However, as activewear increasingly becomes every-wear, we are seeing this changing, and people are willing to invest’.
From an economical standpoint, it makes much more sense to invest your big bucks in the yoga leggings or track boots you’ll be wearing to and from the gym every week for a year, rather than the wide-cut tailored trousers that turn your legs into straws on a rainy walk to work. Plus, let’s face it, winter is a definite serotonin sapper. Why add to the daily anxiety of endless darkness, running noses and howling winds by putting on clothes that fail to deal with the task in hand? Women, it’s time to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them.