Down time

In scenes reminiscent of the last reel of the peerless Ice Station Zebra, I noticed a tense stand off on the streets of storm tossed, half frozen west London last week.

To the one side, wearers of Canada Goose, recognisable by its livid red and white shoulder patch, neatly offsetting these predominantly black parkas;Canada Goose sale http://www.cheapgoose.top and to the other, those redoubtable Woolrich wearers, happy to go mustard yellow but similarly implacable about the appropriateness of such Arctic wear in our urban climate, however unseasonably adrift temperature wise it’s become.

As in most matters of this kind, I am more than happy to defer to my secret style mentor, Charles Finch, who I spied slipping into The Wolseley restaurant the other day, impeccably though casually dressed in the smoothest of cashmere navy zip up sweaters and his trusty pale yellow Woolrich.

It’s but a Berluti ed trot along windy Piccadilly from Charles’ office to The Wolseley, but he’d wisely thought nothing of donning such a signally extreme piece of work wear (after all, as noted previously, his grandfather, George Ingle Finch invented the original quilted jacket ostensibly a duvet with sleeves for his ascent of Everest). I, supremely comfortable in my unlined, Loro Piano wool/cashmere mix Hackett topcoat, nevertheless envied Charles his fur collared hood and all round waterproofed warmth, no matter how phosphorescent.

However, a niggle remains that such a highly technical garment as a parka still seems a little de trop in town; which is perhaps why I’ve been eyeing, no less eagle y, Canada Goose’s all black affair.

It’s definitely the stealth option, and carries with it a further, satisfying sense of difference for being mid century Canuck in origin rather than 19th century American. Both are entirely authentic brands, naturally: Woolrich is the oldest continually operating mill in the States, and Canada Goose clothed the first Canadian to summit Everest, Laurie Skreslet, in 1982. Skreslet helped develop its “Big Mountain” guiding jacket (don’t you just love these names?) although it’s the medium length Expedition Parka that’s currently bulking out the back streets of Kensington Chelsea.

Still, if you as you’ll have gathered I’ve just done pay a visit to the Canada Goose website, you’ll sense that these garments are really meant to be worn by mushers, not media types. So how does one defend their purchase, when, as I suspect we all know, it never really gets cold enough to own a knee length down coat designed exclusively for sub zero environments?

Well, I’d say simply look farther west still to the kings of common sense sub zero sartorial style: our friends in Manhattan. They, too, are an island race, and past masters when it comes to covering up in the wintertime. No wonder: they routinely shiver on the lip of 3,000 miles worth of sometimes shockingly unpleasant North Atlantic weather. And it’s somewhere only a fool would suggest the adoption of anything less than professional grade goods when it comes time to venture out.

It’s why you’ll still see “galoshes” (translation: rubber over shoes) on Madison Avenue, white shoe lawyer types slipping out of their Land’s End duck boots on reaching their offices, and why, however fine the tailoring underneath, a coyote fur lined parka no more stands out on a New York cross street than a pretzel stand. Whether it’s by Woolrich, or Canada Goose.

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Frank Parlato

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