Windbreaker Guide

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What is a Windbreaker? | History | When to Wear | Conclusion

The windbreaker, or sometimes called the windcheater, does exactly what its name claims - provides protection from the wind (and so much more!). Worn by men and women alike, windbreakers pair well with casual dress and active wear, and serve to be both functional and stylish.

What is a Windbreaker Jacket?

Windbreakers are lightweight, often close fitting and tailored jackets with an elasticized waistband and wristbands for added protection and warmth. They are particularly useful for outdoor activities, as they’re not just weather resistant but also easily packable, breathable and provide flexibility so they’ll move with you, no matter the activity.

They are often sold during milder seasons, as they’re most ideal for the spring and fall months when it’s not too hot and not too cold. However, thanks to their recent fashion revival they can now be found year-round. Though very similar in style and features, cuts and designs do vary slightly for each gender.

Because they provide comfort in a range of temperatures and are made for the active wearer, you will also find windbreakers for children too. As an added bonus, they are usually constructed from synthetic fibers making them more stain-resistant compared to natural fibers, and an excellent wardrobe choice for kids, in preparation of spills and accidents.

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Windbreaker History

The windbreaker first hit the fashion scene in the early 1970s. They were the perfect solution for workingmen, as long overcoats were too bulky and burdensome to wear without hindering productivity. They were often lined with wool or fur for extra warmth, but modern versions became much thinner.

Once they became more lightweight, motorbike racers, auto racers and aviators quickly adopted the trendy jackets, which led to them becoming synonymous with speed sports. The fashion movement continued to grow within the athletic arena (basketball, tennis, etc.), and windbreakers were soon worn by players, coaches and fans alike. Frequently bright, bold and unflattering, they developed a bad rap through the years, until now.

With decades of new advancements in fabric and technology, paired with the current “athleisure” trend, windbreakers are perfectly poised for a comeback. And a comeback they have made. In fact, designers like Gucci, Valentino and Alexander Wang have even created their own luxe versions of the jacket.

The modern windbreaker is still all about flexibility and movement, but in recent years, they’ve also gotten a major style upgrade. Today’s windbreakers are usually crafted from materials like nylon, polyester, poly-cotton or a blend of these fabrics. They’re often then treated with a waterproofing finish. The hood usually folds down, closes with a drawstring and is either detachable or can be tucked away into the collar. Other added features can also include a snap-close or zip-close front and side pockets.

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When to Wear a Windbreaker

During spring and fall months we can always count on the weather to be a bit indecisive. It can be cold in the early morning and can then warm up quite quickly during the afternoon. And the unpredictability of precipitation should always be expected. As one of the most versatile jackets available, they are ideal for these undecided days.

They are often used as a layering piece, and can be worn over a shirt, sweater or even a sweatshirt depending on the fit and size. Overall, the windbreaker will serve as your insurance policy against any sudden weather changes. Here are a few other scenarios where you might want to grab your windbreaker and go:

  • Running: Chills from cool weather can put a damper on outdoor exercise if you don’t have the right gear. A windbreaker can add a comfortable layer of warmth and protection that won’t weigh you down. Wear it over a tee shirt or tank top and it can easily be taken off and tied around your waist should things start heating up.
  • Hunting: Windbreakers are breathable and therefore make great jackets for navigating the woods and/or sitting sedentary for long periods of time. Elasticized wristbands can also help to protect the skin from bugs and other forms of nature. One can be worn underneath heavier outerwear for the colder hunting months.
  • Fishing: Light and flexible, windbreakers are a go-to choice for many anglers, as they don’t restrict movement for casting and reeling, and they also are resistant to the typical frequent water splashes encountered. Overall these jackets work really well on the water.
  • Hiking/camping: Super portable (perfect for stuffing into a backpack), a windbreaker is a great choice for activities like camping, hiking and backpacking. They’re versatile for many situations where mobility is important, and are again a great layering piece. Deep pockets will also allow you to bring along necessities like snacks and a compass.

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To summarize, sporty, practical and stylish, a windbreaker is an excellent, must-have addition to any closet- especially for those with an active outdoor lifestyle. Shop windbreakers and other jackets at Burlington at a store near you to save up to 65% off other retailers’ prices every day!

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