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Techwear is one of the hottest men’s fashion trends right now. But what the hell is it? Here’s your techwear style guide that explains all. If you’re an avid hiker, mountain climber or outdoorsy type of guy, you’re probably familiar with clothing that’s created for a specific purpose and the way it’s styled allows you to wear it “off-duty” i.e when not doing that sport. Think hiking pants with zip-off legs, tons of pockets and a nylon-blend fabric. Cool. So, techwear takes that to the Nth degree with a tad of dystopian-movie vibes thrown for extra panache. Think “Bike Messenger Assassin,” someone who swiftly weaves their way through traffic, leaving no wake; unnoticeable, yet deadly. Another way to get a handle on techwear is to think the trend is paramilitary meets street style.
Techwear pants lean to either being slim-cut joggers or almost drop-crotched baggy and voluminous trousers. Jackets range from front-zipped carcoats, anoraks, hoodies to even trek ponchos. Tops, much like techwear trousers, are either cut loosely, which when worn for climbing or trekking is a trail must, to almost figure-hugging runway-chic looks.
Dig deep into your angsty teen self and grab that color palette of black, black, more black, a dose of deep gray, oh possibly that super dark green that’s almost black — yep, that’s the color palette you’ll be utilizing when wearing techwear. Matching items to create an outfit has never been easier. As for fabrications, it’s all matte, all the time. Materials are water-resistant, waterproof nylon, Gore-tex and fabrics that move with you.
As with any trend, there are brands that seem to capture the zeitgeist perfectly, and any techwear style guide that’s worth its salt should mention the following companies.
- Private Policy mixes sustainable fabrics with their form-follow-functions philosophy.
- Patagonia and their multifunctional clothing in dark hues that are made to withstand the vagaries of weather and activities.
- Uniqlo has always leaned on seasonless minimalism when designing pieces and has always incorporated high-tech materials as a matter of course.
- Techwear Club combines the techwear aesthetic with fast fashion pricing. They even bill themselves as “techwear on a budget.”
- Arc’teryx is a Canadian-based performance gear company whose techwear is as trendy as it’s made for hitting the trail during inclement weather.
- Acronym is a cult label that has spearheaded the trend. Based in Germany, this techwear company is on the very high-end of the spectrum.
- North Face Black Series repurposes hi-tech materials for urban life. That’s not to say you can’t use them outdoors, you can, but they’re the brand’s stylish techwear offerings.
- Public Rec is an athleisure company that utilizes techwear fabrications in its offerings.
While we’ve mentioned eight brands, many outdoor sports and fashion brands also carry techwear. The key is to look for what the item is made from; it should be a mix of technical and non-tech fabric. The silhouette should be streamlined, and the colorways are dark.
Below are techwear items that can be worn now and through the summer.
1. Private Policy 100% Biodegradable Everyday Jacket
Made from lightweight Italian biodegradable nylon, this front-zippered jacket has reflective seams on the front, as well as elasticated cuffs on the sleeves and waist. The dark color and silhouette are in keeping with the techwear mode.
2. Patagonia Terrebonne Joggers
Fairtrade sewn and made with recycled polyester stretch ripstop with a water repellent finish, these joggers can be used for hiking on a trail or walking down the street. Other special features include articulated shaping at the knees for ease of movement, one back zippered pocket and two front pockets.
3. Arc’Teryx Aerios Fl Mid Gtx Shoe
Techwear shoes are as minimally styled as the rest of the gear. These lightweight Gore-Tex hiking boots fit the archetype. Waterproof, windproof, yet breathable, these supportive hiking shoes have an EVA midsole and a gripping Vibram outsole.
4. Acronym P35-DS Schoeller Dryskin Drawcord Cargo Trouser
Acronym is on the tippy top or highest end of the techwear brands, leading the pack, their designs are thoughtfully created using top materials. Made with Worryfree Schoeller 3XDRY DRYSKIN fabrication, four-way stretch capabilities and abrasion-resistant, water- repellent and fast-drying fabric, the pants are styled with numerous pockets and a beltless waistband that can be cinched down to fit.
5. North Face Black Series Engineered Knit T-Shirt
For their techwear series, the North Face does what they do best; combine technical fabrications within a touch of streetwear style so their clothes can be worn anywhere. The engineered tee is made for hard trekking as it has mesh side and underarm panels. The front of the shirt has the brand’s logo in a tonal print.
6. Uniqlo Blocktech Hooded Coat
This hooded cotton poplin blend coat is water-resistant and windproof. The minimalist styling keeps the silhouette looking sharp no matter the weather. Made oversized, it can be worn over a lighter jacket or sweater.
7. Public Rec Go-To Long Sleeve Henley
Made with Tencel, spandex and pima cotton, this henley shirt is designed to move with you while it wicks moisture away from your body. It’s wrinkle-resistant and is sewn with flatlock stitching (to prevent chafing) so the pullover is as comfortable on the road as it is on the couch.
8. Techwear Club Project – X Utility Vest
One of the linchpin pieces, if you will, of techwear style is the utility vest. Call it paramilitary or utilitarian chic, by no longer having to shove everything in pockets and thereby ruining the line of a pair of pants, the idea of wearing an item that has thousands of pockets to hold even the most random item has some guys cheering.
9. Alpha Industries M-59 Fishtail Parka
Alpha Industries makes military and military-grade clothing, so it’s a no-brainer to add them to the techwear style guide. Their M-59 fishtail parka is based on the US Army’s M-51 version. Made for intermediate weather, this parka has a drawstring waist, storm-flap collar, two-way zipper, side zippered pocket on the sleeve and a roomy hood.
10. Vuori Ease Performance Half-Zip
Vuori has a sterling reputation for creating performance gear, athleisure wear and outdoor adventure clothing. Their performance half-zip wicks away moisture from the skin, has built-in SPF30 into the fabric, and the performance stretch knit has anti-odor properties and utilizes flatlock stitching to prevent chafing.
11. Hoka Challenger Mid Gore-Tex Boot
Made to handle any type of road, from off-track to city streets, the boot features a waterproof leather upper, Gore-Tex bootie made to keep feet warm, and an anatomical mid-cut collar that provides support. This techwear boot has a stitched midfoot seatbelt which keeps the foot in place. The oversized EVA midsole provides the brand’s signature cushioning.
12. SHEIN Solid Drawstring Detail Cargo Pants
SHEIN’s techwear cargo pants have patch pockets down the leg, slash front pockets and a jogger bottom. Made from a cotton/polyester blend, they’re made to move with you, and are lightweight.