Fall is in the air, the leaves are turning, the temps are dropping, the snow is starting to fall(in some places…) and Starbucks and every other coffee shop is marketing their pumpkin spiced lattes. Fall is my favorite season, hands down. One of the best things about the Fall is that we can break out our warm cozy clothes and begin to put away our summer outfits.
Given that Fall is my favorite season, I took it upon myself to find some of the latest warm and cozy fall apparel from flannels and sweaters to pants. Some products are more technical while some are pure and simple, casual clothing.
Smartwool Kiva Ridge Crew Sweater $100
Smartwool has started to really come on strong in the sweater category. They are obviously no stranger when it comes to working with wool, so it’s no wonder why their sweaters rock. The Smartwool Kiva Ridge Crew Sweater has a traditional look, but the minute you slide this sweater on, it’s anything but traditional. This sweater can be wore with a shirt on underneath for colder days or can be worn standalone for those warmer fall days. This sweater is made from a 60% merino wool, 20% nylon, 20% acrylic blend that creates a blended material that is as soft as an eight week old puppy but has some resiliency to keep it from losing it’s shape. When this sweater showed up in the mail, I thought to myself, “ok, this sweater is nice”. When I put it on and wore it for a few days, I thought to myself, I need a Kiva Ridge Crew in every color for everyday of the week!
Columbia Pilot Peak Stretch Denim $65
Finding the right pair of jeans seems like a simple task, but if you’re like me, you dread the thought of shopping for jeans. The Columbia Pilot Peak Stretch Denim jeans are one of the better pairs of jeans on the market with regards to fit, durability, and design. These jeans have a regular fit, not too baggy and not too skinny. Coming in a 165lbs and 6’0, I ordered a size 32×32 and found the jeans to be the perfect fit for my style preference.
Unlike most other jeans on the market, the Columbia Pilot Peak Stretch Denim is coated with a water repellent treatment, so in the event you get caught in a storm, you won’t have to worry about your jeans wetting out. To put these jeans to the test, I was able to take them out for a hike/trail run combo in some early winter weather. Yes, you read that right, I went for a trail run in these jeans. I was out for a hike and decided I wanted to up my heart rate so I decided to log some quick trail running miles. While I received a few strange looks from running in jeans, they performed much better than expected. Keep in mind, I only put in 3 miles of trail running in these jeans.
The one downside I found with the Columbia Pilot Peak Stretch Denim is with the zipper on the fly. It tends to stick a little from time to time. Outside of this one downside, I am a big fan of the Columbia Pilot Peak Stretch Denim.
Mountain Khakis Original Mountain Pant with Organic Cotton $84.95
The Original Mountain Pant by Mountain Khakis has been a long time favorite of mine. The pant screams mountain living with a blend between a standard pair of Khakis and tough pair of work pants. The MK Original Mountain Pant has 2 styles, a relaxed fit and a slim fit, which I’ve tested the relaxed fit version in both the standard cotton and organic cotton version. The organic version has a little more grainy feel and the original has a smoother feel to it. With time, the organic cotton starts to soften up.
There are a few features with the original mountain pants that make them unique,;one is the gusseted crotch, the other feature is a heavy duty mud flap along the cuffs of the pants.With triple stitch seams and two ply fabric, these pants will hold up to nearly any type of abuse. With the two fly fabric, the Original Mountain Pant is great for colder temperature climates.
Craghoppers Bardsey Cord Ombre $65
The Craghoppers Bardsey Cord Ombre screams out fall and winter coziness. While most of us don’t have a full closet full of cords, it’s nice to have at least a pair or two to mix into your rotation. They work great for casual wear and can also cross over into business casual for work. These cords fit a little on the snug side compared to other cords I’ve worn over the years, so it took a little getting used to. They also fit a little snug when you first try them on, but they tend to stretch out a little over time. At first I thought the fit was too tight and that I wouldn’t like them, but after wearing them for a few hours, the fit quickly grew on me and I now find that I prefer the fit of the Craghopper Bardsey Cord over the traditional regular to baggy fit.
I’ve tested these cords out for six weeks with a use or two a week and I am finding the pants to hold up great with no wear or durability issues.
Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket $139
The Patagonia Better Sweater is one of the classic fall/winter styles for us outdoor lovers. This jacket provides with perfect fit for the average sized man and even has a little forgiveness in case you eat too much turkey, or Tofurkey for the vegans out there. The outside of this jacket has the traditional sweater ribs but the inside is fleece lined for comfort and warmth. This jacket has two side pockets with plenty of room for cell phones and other small items along with a chest zippered pocket.
The side panels of this jacket use Polartec fleece which helps if you end up using this jacket for winter activities. This fleece is smooth which also helps cut down on friction between the side of the jacket and arms, which prevents pilling in these areas. For more strenuous activities, I prefer to use a stretch fleece jacket or shirt vs having the sweater-like material. The sweater material tends to stretch more and doesn’t bounce back as good as traditional stretch fleece material.
I’ve been testing the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater for eight weeks now in everyday use and light activity. As mentioned before, this jacket acts more like a sweater and you have to know this going into the purchase. It’s not going to hold up as well compared to a traditional jacket and if you’re wearing it everyday through the fall and winter, it will start to wear.
The North Face Alpine Zone Shirt – $74.95
If you’re looking for a unique pattern of flannel this season, The North Face Alpine Zone Shirt sets itself apart from other flannels with tighter patterns and 100% cotton fabric. Having only worn this shirt 5-10 times, I’m amazed by all the compliments I get from wearing this shirt. I thought it was somewhat traditional, but given the number of compliments on the unique style, I can say it’s a little more unique in style than most. The shirt is made with 100% cotton compared to 100% polyester which is common in many flannels. I find the cotton to be a little less fuzzy compared to polyester, but the amount of fabric used in this shirt makes it feel a little more beefy than most flannel shirts. With the thickness of this shirt, it can also be used a lightweight jacket.
Toad & Co Indigo Slim Flannel $79
Flannel is one of the best materials around when it comes to fall and winter, but sometimes the fit on most flannel shirts can be a little baggy for some guys. The Toad & Co Indigo Slim Flannel has a fit that has us trimmer guys jumping for joy. The Indigo Slim Flannel has a lightweight denim lined cuff on the sleeves and underside denim lined under the front pockets to gives this shirt a little more style compared to the traditional flannel shirt. This flannel works well when untucked as well as tucked in. I work in a semi professional business environment where they prefer you to tuck in your shirt and found the shirt to stay tucked in throughout the day. To have a shirt remain tucked in throughout the day and still look good untucked in a big win in my book. Toad & Co continues to impress with style and attention to detail this season.
Sorel Madson Hiker Waterproof Boot $190
The Sorel Madson line has been around for a couple years now where the focus is fashion with hints of winter function. The Madson Hiker Waterproof Boot is a full grain leather boot with the seams sealed to keep out elements. The inside of the Madson Hiker has a synthetic fabric liner to keep your foot from sloshing around inside the boot which often causes blisters. The boot comes with an Ortholite footbed liner that is super comfortable on the bottom of your foot and allows you to stay comfortable for hours. In case you need to swap the liner our for orthotics, these footbeds are removable. The midsole is comprised of an EVA foam that helps create a soft ride and the rubber outsole allows for good traction on city streets and sidewalks.
This boot is intended for city streets and sidewalks and gravel paths. It’s not designed for rugged hikes, so compared to a traditional hiking boot, it will wear out much faster and won’t provide the same level of traction if you consistently use it for hiking.
I’ve worn this boot for 8-10 hours at a time and have been super happy with the comfort of the Sorel Madson Hiker. I’ve had other casual hiking boots that tend to give you hot spots, but this is not the case here. For sizing, I found this boot to be too big for traditional boot sizing and ended up having to size down from a 12 to an 11 to get the right fit. Once I got the right size, I have have been very happy with the Sorel Madson Hiker.