Gear trends: 2015/16 Men's fall outdoor lifestyle apparel

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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 20 – 24. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Rap artist Macklemore (who performed at Winter Market 2013) likely didn’t intend to herald fall/winter 2015-16 menswear apparel trends when he sang, “Im’ma take your grandpa style…” in his hit song Thrift Shop, but he was onto something.

As fellas increasingly care about buying clothes that don’t fall apart after one season, brands are now moving forward by looking back. This means durable clothes that hearken back to the well-made clothing our grandparents wore, using time-tested natural, industrious fibers such as wool, canvas and flannel — often sourced and manufactured in the United States. “Quality and craftsmanship are beginning to trump cheap fashion,” said Kate Larramendy, design director for Toad&Co., formerly Horny Toad.

“The notion of heritage we’ve seen for the past few years is shifting more into a mountain-man-type look. It will be less important for garments to look ‘vintage-inspired’ and more important that they look and act like practical outdoor apparel,” said Gina Jacquart Thorsen, vice president of marketing and sales for Stormy Kromer. The brand’s Waxed Button Vest (MSRP $130) and Ironton Vest (MSRP $180) — made from quilted, waxed cotton — are trend-blind clothes that are intended to be as much in style now as they will be in a decade.

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Similarly, Outdoor Research’s Whitefish Down Jacket (MSRP $295), featuring 700 fill-power down and a Western work-wear style, is designed for the deepest days of winter, and the Sherman Jacket improves on classic flannel by adding a slyly technical high-loft Sherpa fleece backer. Icebreaker’s lightly insulated Helix Long-Sleeve Shirt, made with recycled polyester and merino flannel lining, also boosts technical performance by using varying weights of lofting to suit different conditions and activities.

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Yet, as much as dudes wish to wear and maintain new clothes for decades, they still want to express their individuality through subtle details like patterns, textures and colors. “We continue to see growth and energy through texture,” said James Fisher, vice president of product for Ibex. The brand is using ponte knits, boiled wools, varying yarn dyes and boucle in its latest designs. Ibex applies natural materials and enduring cuts to its woolen Hunter’s Point Pullover (MSRP $200), sewn in the United States from a blend of heavyweight mixed-media milled wool and twill. Toad&Co.’s new Yonder LS Shirt features Neo Denim, a directional woven blend of organic cotton, and hollow-core and wicking polyester. Dale of Norway’s sporty and sophisticated Rondane Sweater (MSRP $249) weaves 16.5-micron merino wool fibers into a super-soft ski-worthy sweater, and is available in interesting color combinations like navy-white-raspberry. “Our men’s customer continues to be conservative, but we feel they are opening up a bit and are ready to embrace splashes of fun,” said Senior Designer Svanhild Strom.

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United By Blue founder Brian Linton agrees that pattern beyond Outdoor Retailer’s “sea of plaid” has ample room to grow. “Our big focus is patterned wovens, such as abstract prints like arrows, or nature-inspired bird or firefly patterns,” he said, referring to the brand’s Firefly Patterned Woven Button Down (MSRP $78), made with 100-percent organic cotton. “The concept here is that patterns are a bit more expressive and more individual.”

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Okay, your grandpa may not have worn a shirt printed with miniature fireflies, but he might have loved United By Blue’s Banff Colorblock Wool Button Down (MSRP $94), which provides warmth via wrinkle-resistant wool blended with recycled polyester. Due to the nature of wool’s antimicrobial properties, the company says, customers don’t have to wash it for weeks … you mountain man, you.

Speaking of mountain men, we can’t talk about men’s outdoor apparel without mentioning the new buzzword, “lumbersexual.” Coined by GearJunkie contributor Tom Puzak and repeated by publications including Time, The Atlantic, and even Cosmopolitan (in an article titled “Are you dating a lumbersexual?”), this burgeoning style demonstrates a widespread cultural desire to connect more with the outdoors. The Toad&Co. Sidecar Vest appeals to modern lumberjacks with recycled wool- and–polyester fleece, ideal for layering over flannels. And keep the sun off that bearded face with Sunday Afternoon’s rugged Rain Shadow Hat (MSRP $49), complete with ventilation construction.

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--Jenna Blumenfeld

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