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Pica~Picks: Fleece

Long thought the reserve of garden centre employees and elderly market town lurkers, the majestic fleece has made gallant strides toward the mainstream in recent years, and we should all count our blessings that we’re living in the age of polyester pile pandemonium.

That being said, choosing the right fleece for the right situation can be a total minefield without proper understanding of the field of Fleeceology. Consider this Pica~Picks your first class.

Patagonia Retro Pile Jacket

At the top, who else but Patagonia? They might not necessarily hold the title of ‘Fleece Founding Fathers’ (that honour goes to Malden Mills) but considering how hard they backed it in the 80s, they’re the crew we think of when we think of fleece.

This one here is a modernised version of their classic Retro X jacket. Not only is it softer than a particularly-soft bag of lambs, it’s got that classic, ‘weather-beaten Colorado hiker taking it easy on the front porch’ look about it that deserves repeat servings.

Deus Ex Machine Luther Fleece Jacket

Next up, there’s this from Deus Ex Machina.

Sitting firmly in the ‘shacket’ sphere, this is probably the most ‘civilian’ fleece on this list, but don’t let that unfussy, laid-back design fool you – this corker still packs a heat-hoarding punch.

And perhaps best of all, it comes in a shade of red that screams “DANGER! DANGER! KEEP CLEAR!”.

Fjällräven Vardgag Pile Fleece

Unlike a lot of ‘outdoor’ brands who’s connection with the natural world is once having taken an out-of-focus 35mm photograph of some flowers in the local park, Fjällräven’s outdoor credentials are absolutely unquestionable. You need only look at something like this Vardag Pile Fleece to see why.

Zips in all the right places… raglan sleeves for added manoeuvrability… contrasting panel pocketry… just be careful with the Lingonberry jam around the white fabric and you could easily see out a winter in the Scandinavian wildness with this as your liner jacket.

Snow Peak Wool Fleece Jacket

Just like how you can make a decent lemon cake with chickpea water instead of eggs, you don’t have to utilise synthetic materials to make a damn fine fleece. This one from Snow Peak was made from wool, which gives it a slightly more rustic feel that calls to mind gentlemen explorers.

Alright, there’s nothing Shackleton-esque about that forward-thinking, highly-Japanese design, but you get the picture.

Note the curvature of those pockets too – someone knows their way around a calliper.

F/CE Recycled Wool Boa Pullover

Is this F/CE Recycled Wool Boa Pullover hued exactly like the original Game Boy Advance, or are we finally losing our marbles?

Regardless of where the colour inspo came from, there’s no denying this is a zesty specimen indeed, and should be prime for when you when you quickly need to flag down Mountain Rescue after getting lost up Kinder Scout.

orSlow Boa Fleece Jacket

And then there’s this Boa Fleece Jacket from orSlow. The contrasting panels and olive green hue bring an armoury’s worth of military flavour to the table, but like most hard-cases, this is a big softie at heart, thanks to some dangerously-fluffy fleece fabric.

Plunge your head into you screen and rub your face on it. Feels good, right?

Hankering for more fleece? Click here. Or else.

Top Ten Things of 2022

The 365 days collectively known as 2022 are coming to a close, and while it might be tempting to just jump straight to the prerequisite booze-based reverie, we thought we’d hold off on the Babycham for a bit and reflect on what was decent in this year.

So here you go – our favourite things of 2022…

10 – The Berghaus Ice Cap 78 jacket

Just making it in at number ten is the Berghaus Ice Cap 78 jacket.

No offense to the all the humanitarians and philanthropists out there, but considering he’s heroically badgered and helped reincarnate these things trice now, surely Uncle Nige deserves some sort of award?

The Nobel Foundation – our phones are open.

9 – Pastel Hues

Even a cursory glance at the broadsheets will tell you this year has been particularly rubbish, but considering 2022 saw tongue-tingling pastel hues make bold strides toward mainstream acceptance, maybe it’s not been all bad?

There’s were plenty who had a hand in pushing the boat out this year, but the prime optimism-inspirers this year were orSlow and their tuck-shop-hued climbing shorts (which, incidentally, we had a hand in making).

8 – The Clarks Trek 50

The Clarks Desert Trek reached the ripe old age of 50 this year, and we heartily rolled out the champers and finger food for them.

As the rest of the world barrels towards an ironic non-future filled with technical gimmicks and quirky nonsense, it’s comforting to know that the rootsy combination of suede and crepe continues to endure. Long may this continue.

7 – Leisure Suits

In at number seven we’ve got leisure suits.

With full seersucker safari suits from Fujito and the hyperactively-hued clothes we made with Universal Works on the scene, we’re hoping that 2022 will go down in the history books as the year when dressing like a nameless background baddie from a schlocky 60s TV serial reigned supreme.

6 – Fujito

And since we’re already on the subject, let’s give a round of applause to Fujito, who absolutely smashed it this year with a dangerously high-brow assortment of ultra-swanky Americana.

If we’re being honest, this lot definitely deserve the top spot, but seeing as there was a useful segue in the previous entry (and that the fact that this list is inadmissible at best), they’ll have to settle for number six.

5 – Wacky Knitwear

At five? Wacky knitwear.

Whilst low-profile knitwear should never be taken for granted, there’s been something in the air this year that’s pushed our appetites for bold patterns, brash colours and progressive designs into uncharted territories.

Beams Plus, Andersen-Andersen and Howlin’ did the Lord’s work in this regard.

4 – This Kaptain Sunshine Duffle Coat

Long associated with marmalade-munching bears from Peru, the humble duffle coat had a real renaissance this year. Gloverall was quietly working away making their pitch-perfect recreations, Engineered Garments freaked it with this progressive beast, but we’ve got to give the kudos to Kaptain Sunshine and their ultra-high-class version.

You may have noticed this is hued exactly like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange wrapper, which may or may not have tipped the balance in its favour.

3 – ‘Upscale Comfort’

Taking the top third spot is what we’ll call ‘Upscale Comfort’. Anyone who goes out jogging with King Siam will know what we mean by this – essentially, it’s wearable, everyday garb that’s had the luxury levels cranked up to 11. Think s.k. manor hill’s sweatpants… think A Kind of Guise’s mohair shirts… and most definitely think Teddy Santis and his ceaseless parade of dangerously-classy New Balance trainers.

2 – The Oi Polloi Extended Universe

Just missing out on the top spot we’ve got… err… ourselves.

Obviously it’s well conceited to put your own stuff in a list of the best things of the year, but considering we’ve stayed busy dancing the collaborative tango with Fred Perry, Universal Works, orSlow, Mephisto and Lavenham, as well crafting clobber under our own Sportswear and Knitwear labels, we thought we deserved a bit of a victory lap.

1 – The Pink Arpenteur Loft Jacket

Rightfully taking the top spot is this unbelievable howitzer from Arpenteur.

What do we need to say about this thing? It’s intricately designed… it’s dead warm… and it’s dead pink. A lot of things in life are open to debate, but others are universally, unimpeachably mega. You know what category this doozy lies in.