Style Hack: Swap Out Your Backpack for Some Pocket-Heavy Outerwear
Style Hack is Highsnobiety’s weekly column set to clear the confusion around some of fashion’s biggest conundrums. So, if you’re looking to wear women’s sneakers, or need help styling a bolo tie, you’ve come to the right place. For the second edition of our series, we suggest binning your backpack for some seriously good, pocket-covered outerwear.
Carrying around a backpack, or any form of luggage can be an arduous affair. Irrespective of its contents, navigating it involves a lot of steps: first, you have to take it off, undo the zipper, and rustle through old receipts and various other bits lost in the abyss. If however you’re looking to travel light, and prefer to have everything within arm’s reach, buying into some pocket-heavy outerwear could be the answer.
Following the advent of technical apparel, and the need to extend the life of clothes through their functionality, designers have understandably turned to elements such as pockets to fulfill this need. With a lot of contemporary iterations drawing inspiration from the fashioning of military wear, brands rooted in this ideal — C.P. Company, Engineered Garments, Kapital, and so forth — have helped set a new precedent for style in functionality.
Having very much served to popularize the category of pocket-heavy garments, tactical vests like these promise the same amount of functionality as a backpack, with less than half the space. Featuring a wealth of pockets over the front, Polo Ralph Lauren references its earliest forays into functional clothing with a Sport-inspired Trek Vest.
The Hayes Jacket from Carhartt WIP feels as though it is more pocket than it is jacket, but who’s complaining? With enough space to fit just about everything you could need for a full day out, the design’s water repellant finish solidifies it as a piece fit for just about any season.
Having carved out its niche in the market by perfecting its run of highly-functional apparel, Italian stalwart C.P. Company continues to redefine the category with a wealth of pocket-heavy designs for 2020. The sleeveless Fili Zip-Up Vest is constructed from a blend of multifilament nylon and cotton, featuring five roomy pockets with press stud closures, and adjustable cinch straps at the waist.
Ideal for summer, the lightweight Technical Gilet from NemeN is a great alternative to the backpack, offering just as many storage possibilities, minus the possibility of a sweaty back. Constructed from a water-repellent Xlight technical shell, and framed by grosgrain edges, the gilet’s functionality is improved with velcro straps along the sides.
Call me wrong, but Engineered Garments is one of the first brands to really make pockets — an abnormal amount of pockets — a thing in mainstream, civilian fashion. Birthed out of the requirements of military wear, each Engineered Garments resembles functional fashion’s earliest ideals. The brand’s Poplin Field Vest is awash with large pockets and drawstrings, perfect for giving stability to anything heavy you might want to carry.
If you’re serious about substituting your backpack for a jacket that allows you to store more stuff while on the move, military-inspired layers like this Margaret Howell Field Jacket are a good place to start. Featuring a solid, four-pocket build, the design sits perfectly at the center of form and function.
Constructed from lightweight nylon, this jacket is for those of you who are really serious about traveling light. Building off the avant-garde sensibilities of Samuel Ross’ A-COLD-WALL*, the jacket itself feels more like an art piece, highlighted by curved hemming and overlays.
Snow Peak has been flourishing recently, expanding out of Japan to take the American and European markets by storm. The design’s cotton and nylon blend construction has created a color so unique, it might be one of the main reasons you’d need to own this. The size of the pockets also pack a seriously functional punch.
Not an interpretation you get to see every day. Kapital proves once again why its ability to subvert the ideals of even the most tried-and-true silhouettes remains unbeatable. Building on the form of your standard cardigan, this rather interesting interpretation features a heavily-pocketed front, rich with military calling cards.
Speaking to the more utilitarian ideals of Stone Island, pieces like the Coated Cotton Field Jacket depart from the brand’s more subdued nature, presenting a clash of colorful panels. Layered with external and internal pockets, the design is the final stage in your bid to replace smaller luggage options with a single jacket.
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