Choosing Jackets For Every Occasion
Jackets can be a style statement on their own or layer up under a bigger coat. They can also be a great choice for cold weather workouts.
Waxed cotton jackets require little daily maintenance. A few scratches and mud won’t hurt them, as long as you rinse the dirt off.
Jackets are designed to keep you warm, but they’re also a fashion staple. They can help you look edgy and stylish, especially when you’re wearing ripped jeans and a classy dress. They can also be worn for work and to protect yourself from harmful sun rays. Jackets are made of a variety of materials, but it is important to choose the right jacket for you.
The main way that a jacket keeps you warm is by trapping your body heat with its insulation. The type of insulation that a jacket uses can make a big difference in how warm it is and how much mobility you have while wearing it.
Most winter jackets use either down or synthetic insulation. Down is the most popular option because it’s lightweight, compresses down easily, and is highly effective at keeping you warm. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, doesn’t pack down as well and can be more expensive than down.
The construction of a jacket also impacts its warmth. The way in which the shell fabric and inner liner fabrics are sewn together affects how warm the jacket will be. The traditional, so-called “sewn through” construction stitches the outer, shell fabric to the inner, liner fabric. This method reduces the weight and cost of a jacket but creates cold spots where there’s effectively no insulation. A more costly, but warmer and more comfortable option is to use a stitching pattern called “box baffles,” which creates a more consistent insulation. Look for this stitching technique in puffy jackets made for cold and even freezing temps.
Another feature that makes some jackets warmer is adding a layer of reflective material. For example, some jackets by Columbia incorporate Omni-Heat(tm) technology that adds a layer of silver to the inside of the jacket. This technology is inspired by spacesuits, which contain layers of aluminized foil that reflect astronauts’ body warmth back at them instead of letting it escape through the jacket shell.
The material of a jacket’s shell is important for warmth and waterproofing. For a winter jacket that will be used in snowy, rainy conditions, look for a shell fabric like nylon or DWR-treated heavyweight cotton. If you’re looking for a more stylish jacket, consider a waxed canvas. This type of fabric has been dipped in paraffin wax and beaten with metal implements to create a tough, weather-resistant surface.
Depending on style and fabric, jackets can be casual or dressed up. There is a jacket for every jackets occasion, from hiking and camping to working in the office. Jackets are typically shorter than coats and extend to the waist, whereas coats may reach mid-thigh or even further. They can also be fitted or loose. Jackets can have hoods attached or be hoodless, and many styles include pockets.
Choosing a jacket that fits your body shape is key to comfort and warmth. At evo, we use a blend of materials and construction methods that allow our jackets to mold to your body. Our fully canvassed jackets are the most premium, with the canvas extending from the shoulders and through the lapels to provide structure and shape. This type of jacket takes more time to make and is more expensive, but it will last the longest.
We use a mix of fabrics to create the right balance of warmth and comfort, with breathable waterproof membranes and warm down or synthetic filling. Regardless of the fabric, we ensure that all seams are properly taped to protect against water and wind, so you can be comfortable in any conditions.
Once the design is complete, a first confection is made (often called a prototype). This helps you to test and adjust your garment before making it final. Once the final jacket looks great, SMS (Sales Merchant Samples) are made to be used by sales representatives to show to retailers to decide which jackets they will buy and sell to consumers.
If you’re looking for a jacket that will look dapper while still being functional, check out our bomber jackets. These are uber-stylish and tomboyish, yet feminine, so they look fabulous with pencil skirts, ripped jeans or anything else you might want to wear them with.
Another great option is a blouson, which is military-style and resembles a peacoat. These are more casual than a flight jacket and often include a bomber collar with classic-style fold-down flaps. To care for these, we recommend using a high-quality leather conditioner on your jacket once or twice per year.
A rain jacket’s ability to withstand wet weather is a vital quality. But even a waterproof jacket needs to be breathable enough to manage your body’s heat and moisture. This is a complex equation that depends on the membrane, coating or laminate that forms the outer shell of the garment, the insulating layer inside and the fabrics surrounding it. The amount of pressure required to break through a fabric’s water resistance, known as its “water column,” is typically listed in millimetres and can be found on the label. A higher number means a more durable, long-lasting jacket.
The big name brands of membrane-based jackets like GORE-TEX and eVent use a variety of construction techniques, but they all operate on the same principle: a waterproof membrane keeps precipitation out, while a breathable lining moves sweat vapor to the outside. Adding a third textile to the interior of a jacket offers a bump in breathability but adds weight and price. The Arc’teryx Beta LT, for example, has a 3L membrane and wicking lining that performed well in our testing against an all-day deluge.
2-layer jackets are more common in the moderately priced range and work well for light-to-moderate outdoor pursuits. They have an outer face fabric and a loose-hanging lining that protects the membrane or coating from scuffs and scrapes. The lining also allows the jacket to be quieter as you walk (less swishing). This type of construction is less expensive than 3-layer models and often has a slightly higher water column rating than its more expensive counterparts.
1-layer jackets are a good choice for hiking, snowshoeing jackets and other recreational activities where you may encounter showers but not full-fledged rainstorms. These lightweight jackets typically have a lower water column rating than their more expensive siblings and offer good value for the money.
Sustainable practices have gained prominence in the outdoor gear world and rainwear is no exception. A few key indicators to look for include recycled materials, PFC-free DWR coatings (traditional waterproof coatings are made with perfluorocarbons), bluesign-approved fabrics and Fair Trade Certification. Patagonia’s Torrentshell 3L jacket, for example, uses a 100%-recycled face fabric and a PU membrane that’s 13% biobased.
Ventilation is needed to provide oxygen for metabolism and to dilute metabolic pollutants (carbon dioxide, odour) that are emitted into the space. Ventilation also assists in maintaining good indoor air quality by delivering outdoor air to spaces and removing stale air.
Jackets with venting are great for mild exertion when you want to be comfortable but don’t need to keep the cold out. Typically found in rain jackets, some of these jackets include zippered underarm vents and/or core vents that are easy to open when your exertion level rises.
Most high-performing waterproof breathable fabrics use a membrane to prevent liquid water from entering the fabric and to allow water vapor to vent out. Gore-Tex was the first to do this and is still a leader but other manufacturers are creating similar products with similar performance for less money.
Some jackets may also have a mesh or fabric lining in the shell that hangs loose inside the garment and is not bonded to the membrane. These jackets are known as 2 Layer or two and a half layer constructions and can be a little bulkier than jackets with a bonded third layer but offer solid weather protection.
A few insulated jackets may have back venting as well. This is particularly useful when you’re going to be climbing or skiing as the wind will push warm air from the bottom of your jacket up toward your head and back. Jackets with this feature often have a slit down the back of the jacket, usually near the center.
Some manufacturers will refer to their jackets as windproof or wind-resistant. These jackets are a good choice for moderate exertion and light to moderate winds.
Unlike the oil and wax coatings of long ago that need to be regularly reapplied, today’s jackets are constructed with tightly woven fabrics on both sides that prevent moisture from coming in and allow water vapor to vent out. Some brands have added a polymer treatment to the outer fabric that helps the jacket handle dampness better, making it more durable and easier to clean when it gets wet.