On Trend: Fleece
Blurring the lines between purposeful outdoor wear and fashion, casual fleece styles have become a must-have year round staple. Pioneering the use of polyester fleece during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Patagonia developed its first deep pile fleece jacket as a quick drying alternative to knitted jumpers. The manufacturing process opened up greater possibilities where vibrant colour and detailed prints could be achieved, which encouraged the use of fleece as more than just hiking wear and into the realms of fashion. Developed from original animal-revived materials, brands such as Carhartt first selected fleece for insulating linings before experimenting with more statement pieces which has resulted in modern designs made entirely from the material.
Influenced by this innovative time, fleece styles for autumn/winter ‘19 remain focused on providing warmth and protection from the elements. High pile has been combined with contrasting nylon elements and weather-resistant treatments to portray modern progression within both the material and construction. Rich muted autumnal colour tones take centre stage this season and are enhanced by solid colour block features such as button plackets and pockets. With an array of options available, ranging from lightweight pullovers to heavier weight zip-throughs, whether you’re holidaying in the mountains, exploring the city or relaxing at home, Patagonia and Carhartt provide the best fleece designs that offer effortless transitions between activewear and leisure.
Continuing to lead the way when it comes to tried and tested fleece outerwear, Patagonia’s retro styling has taken centre stage for autumn/winter through signature pullovers, vests and a newly reintroduced archival style. Offered in their famous El Cap Khaki colourway with hints of red and navy, the Patagonia Retro Pile Pullover Jacket is perhaps the most distinctive of all Patagonia fleeces. Subtle tweaks and updates ensure the style remains at its best whilst also adapting to updates within the industry. As the first outdoor brand to use recycled polyester, the fabric is nothing new to Patagonia - who have worked hard to perfect its finish since the ‘90s - but is taking centre stage in the current sustainability debate. Retaining a soft and cosy finish, the 100% recycled polyester double-sided solid shearling reflects the brands ongoing efforts to better their production methods.
Interestingly favoured by both streetwear and casual business culture, the same features can be found in the sleeveless edition of the same design. Highlighted for its versatility and bulk-free warmth, the Patagonia Retro Pile Vest is a style for all seasons thanks to its ability to sit comfortably beneath a waterproof shell, as well as with either long or short sleeve cotton t-shirts for a lighter combination - we reckon it works best with two tone striped styles that contrast to the solid black colourway.
Tapping into alpine and aviator outerwear history, the Retro-X Bomber Jacket has been pulled from the archives as a special comeback for autumn/winter ‘19. Suiting denim and cargo trouser styles, the jacket has been introduced with a modern 70% recycled 1/4” pile sherpa fleece outer, and the vintage silhouette is reminiscent of varsity styles from the 1950’s which has been adapted with Patagonia’s climbing heritage to offer the perfect combination of style and purpose. In addition to a ribbed collar neckline and matching cuffs, a fully recycled polyester weave lining has been treated with a DWR finish, which matches the outer pocket on the chest that subtly contrasts to the rest of the design and enhances the signature Patagonia label stitched on top.
Hitting the spot in regards to urban utility trends, the Patagonia Classic Retro-X Jacket follows a similar aesthetic as a heavier weight option with an outer that is enhanced by the sage khaki colourway. Although not within Patagonia’s technical range, which includes more typical performance driven outerwear fleece that accommodates to specific sports, a 50% recycled HeiQ Fresh Tech durable odor control lining enhances daily wear of the Classic Retro-X Jacket into more than a purely fashion-driven piece.
Drawing influence from practical military clothing whilst incorporating contrasting nylon components and rich colour hues that are proving popular this season, Carhartt continues to lead the way through their confident streetwear pieces that tap into the brands iconic DNA. Bold but wearable, a rich dusty fuchsia is an unexpected key colour within the collection and has been selected for one of three colourways available across the Carhartt Prentis Liner Jacket. An essential winter style for anyone seeking a high level of warmth and comfort through mobility enabling raglan sleeves, a high collar neckline and narrow elasticated trims, contrasting black nylon enhances the practical details of the design whilst the brands golden ‘C’ emblem sits proudly on the chest.
A new take on the brands signature brown shade that portrays a look similar to classic teddy bear fleece, the dusty hamilton brown edition of the Carhartt Prentis Pullover Jacket is the quarter zip equivalent to the Prentis Liner Jacket with a few practical differences. Probably the cosiest of the bunch, the same fleece shell has been selected with contrasting black nylon elements, the quarter zip front fastening leads to an attached hood which has panel shaping for quality coverage. An elasticated pullcord has been concealed inside and allows the waist to be drawn in to prevent wind chill, alongside a side zip which allows for ease of access to pockets, or for ventilation when needed.
Catering to a variety of preferences when it comes to layering and warmth, a variety of weights and pile levels demonstrate the versatility of fleece. Whilst silhouettes remain classic and without too much innovation, where the real developments lie is in how the fleece is made and treated - whether this is through creating new fabric from post consumer waste or developing an intricate print design that gives the humble protective outerwear style a new character.
Shop all fleeces at Flatspot.