A recent family wedding gave me, a born and bred East Coaster, the excuse to visit Northern California for the first time. I consider myself somewhat of an expert packer, but despite stuffing my luggage full of wool sweaters, hoodies and thick socks, I was already freezing the moment I hopped off the plane at the San Francisco airport. Being that I'd be spending a full week doing outdoorsy things — and staying nights on both a Carmel ranch and a cabin in the Big Sur woods — I was forced to do some shopping, the one activity I tend to avoid on vacation.
While wandering one hilly side street in SF with my parents, we stumbled upon a Patagonia store — an obvious destination for adventurers and wilderness enthusiasts, as well as for the relatively new class of fans drawn to its wares thanks to the "gorpcore" movement and its popularity among streetwear heads. After a thorough browse of the shop, I came up empty handed, until I spotted an older employee quietly folding stock in a corner. He picked up this classic men's fleece, immediately catching my eye; when I asked if he had any more available in a small size, he told me that there might be just one left hidden in the back, as this was the "holy grail" of fleeces, with several people coming in daily to ask for it specifically. Apparently it was my lucky day, and I scored the last of their supply, wearing it out of the store.
Now that I've had plenty of opportunities to wear it, I can see why this jacket is a top seller: The cream color and navy accents go with just about anything I try to pair them with, and the fuzzy texture is somehow even cozier than it looks. This particular item has gotten a bad rap in the past thanks to finance and frat bros, but I guarantee with the right styling, you can wear it and look cool as hell — all while keeping toasty warm with its windproof and moisture wicking construction. If you can snag one before they sell out for the season, I highly recommend doing so.
Patagonia Men's classic x-retro fleece jacket, $199, available here.
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