Women’s Outdoor Wear
Spending time outdoors is a hallmark of our Northwest lifestyle.
In general, Seattle attire is casual and functional even for business.
And when it’s play time we demand clothing that works well, is comfortable
-- and looks good -- whether we’re biking, hiking, paddling or skiing.
As women, we can now choose from a broader selection of sports apparel
that’s been designed specifically for us, and because manufacturers
have merged trendy street designs with technical requirements, we can
buy clothing that works for both business and pleasure.
Have you heard these brand names: Kokatat, Isis, Patagonia, Snow Angel and Terry Bike? All of these manufacturing companies have introduced products specially or exclusively designed for women. Patagonia was the first to appear with women’s hiking/climbing shorts; Kokatat was the first to fit women in paddlesports outerwear; and Terry Bicycle, Isis and Snow Angel have led the way for women-specific athletic clothing collections.
Close to You
One of the best innovations in outdoor undergarments is seamless apparel, following trends in the intimate apparel industry. Seamless means no chafing, light weight and a close fit that allows for maximum mobility. Both Isis and Snow Angel make intimates that can be found in either specialty outdoor stores or department store lingerie departments.
Natural fibers such as wool have always been known for their warmth, and with new processing of merino wool, you can find luxurious, soft, lightweight fabrics you’ll want to where year-round. Wool’s inner structure can absorb moisture up to 30 percent of its weight and release it into the air, keeping you warm when it’s cold outside. Wool clothing is ideal for Seattle’s rainy days. Icebreaker, Ibex and Smartwool are premier manufacturers for these products.
Whether you wear a base layer under your paddlesport dry suit, winter apparel or bike jersey, remember it’s a layer that can also be worn alone and it should fit you well.
All Seasons, Anywhere
With the introduction of waterproof/breathable fabrics, you can find a jacket for almost any outdoor activity that crosses over into Seattle street style. Marmot and Kokatat make women’s jackets in Gore-tex Paclite, an outstanding waterproof/breathable fabric with very little weight. Isis makes jackets in HydraEV, a durable waterproof/breathable fabric.
Don’t underestimate the importance of color. Your mood can be dictated by the weather, so take time to consider not just “your colors” but sporty hues like blue, orange, green and yellow. Don’t pass up an outing because of the weather; outdoor clothing offers protection in almost any conditions.
So, whether you’re headed off to the wilderness or just to the office or grocery store, you can wear clothing that keeps you warm or cool, lets you perform well, looks good -- and, most importantly -- feels great! Happy shopping.
Barbara Sherrill has 30 years experience working as an instructor, guide, and apparel product manager in the outdoor industry. She is currently working with Kayak Academy in Issaquah as an instructor and in retail sales.
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