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Item of the week: the windbreaker

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Madewell, Na-kd, Lacoste. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

What it is:

With a history that dates back over 500 years, the windbreaker is by no means a ‘new’ wardrobe staple. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the garment was granted the status of an informal fashion attire and took on a more modernised flair. A descendant of the ‘parka’, the windbreaker typically refers to an insulating outwear item manufactured in a lightweight material. The piece can be found in varying cuts, and often comes with details like adjustable hemlines, workwear-like pockets, hoods and waterproof fabrics. It is mostly linked to the sportswear category, but occasionally crosses over boundaries when adapted by fashion designers and brands.

G-Star Raw. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Why you’ll want it:

For spring/summer, the windbreaker is the outerwear option of choice. The typical use of a lightweight material makes it easy for customers to pack the garment when travelling or when they are out-and-about, to then have on hand if summer rain suddenly falls. The piece is often considered a cross-category garment, most often linked to sportswear but as it continues to seep into the collections of fashion-forward brands, has become a more trend-led item in recent years. This means that it can appeal to both those seeking either sports attire or simply just a stylish outerwear option, giving it a broader appeal than other weatherproof pieces.

Blutsgeschwister. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Where we’ve seen it:

This is evidenced by its prominence on the SS24 runways of menswear collections, where the windbreaker took on a variety of forms. While Rains stuck to the silhouette’s traditional shape, brands like Givenchy updated the look through contrasting panelling and bold colourways. This also rang true for Louis Vuitton and Denzilpatrick, where graphic patterns were donned on the piece, the latter being more reminiscent of an 80s training jacket. Junya Watanabe, on the other hand, drew inspiration more from the military-trend, adding an excessive amount of pockets to the front of the windbreaker to make it even more useful.

Hurley. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

How to style it:

As the windbreaker is more of an outerwear option for rainy summer days, its initial purpose is to simply be there as an easy-to-wear layer that has the ability to be carried around without fuss. Despite this, the increased presence of the look in fashion-forward collections has allowed for it to also become a statement piece in itself, making it a stylish addition to an outfit that can be worn all year round. Look to artists like Liam Gallagher for inspiration when it comes to how to adopt a British ‘blokecore’ aesthetic, or to celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, who each bring a more feminine yet alternative twist to the jacket.

Porsche Design. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

The windbreaker, with all of its history, has undoubtedly become a widely accepted outerwear piece for the fashionable trendsetters, donned by celebrities as a statement garment in place of its sole rainy day origin. Now present in an array of colours and patterns, the modernised item still offers function to those in need of easy-to-pack weather protection throughout the warmer months.

Guess. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

Item of the Week