On my recent trip home to Vancouver, one of the best things that happened was my brother and I getting mistaken for European tourists by the salesperson at The Old Faithful Shop ("you guys aren't from Vancouver, are you?"). The well-earned knock against Vancouverites is that they've taken the local climate and outdoor lifestyle as an excuse to dress in baggy fleece and Goretex all the time (blame MEC). Now, there is a small group of Vancouverites doing amazing things in men's style focussed in Gastown (Inventory, Roden Gray, Haven, Lark, Four Horsemen, and the aforementioned Old Faithful Shop), but the general state of affairs on the street is pretty sad. Given my Vancouver heritage, I of course have a few of these legacy pieces in my arsenal. Now as I gradually look to replace key foul-weather items, I am I going for natural fibre equivalents of fleece and Goretex. Namely, wool and waxed/oiled cotton. While these materials are not as lightweight as their synthetic successors, they more than make up for it in durability and aesthetics.
My absolute best "thrift" find ever has been this deadstock 1952 heavy wool Swedish army jacket from a local odds and ends shop for a whopping five euros. The thing is just perfect for all but the coldest temperatures, and has great deep pockets front and back (presumably for carrying ammo). While it doesn't rain a whole lot here in Lapland (most annual precipitation comes in the form of snow), there are still occasions where something a bit more waterproof is called for. I'd been thinking for a while of picking up a second hand Barbour Bedale off eBay, instead I'm going to go for the Seattle equivalent, Filson. Originally made for loggers, ranchers and hunters Filson is now another darling of the men's style blogosphere, still locally manufacturing the same time-tested goods. I think I'll go for the Tin Jacket, to which I can add a zip in Mackintosh wool vest when the temperature really dips. And how cool that I can order it from a real country general store in Williamsburg, MO.
So Vancouverites, and other denizens of the Goretex and fleece brigade, go natural for your next piece of outerwear!