My Flirtation With Windbreakers is Now a Full-On Relationship

Juliana Salazar wears a windbreaker by Isabel Marant.

I can’t stop thinking about windbreakers. It started with Isabel Marant’s Spring/Summer 18 collection (those jogging pants! That hooded jacket!) and my love for all things nylon has only gotten stronger since. I’m admittedly fickle when it comes to trends, but when I saw Marant’s nylon pieces for sale a few months later, I got that same tingly feeling I did the first time I spotted them on the runway. Not to be dramatic or anything, but this feels like more than just impulsive, fleeting love.

After seeing similar wind-breaking iterations pop up at Gucci, Prada, Tibi and Heron Preston (just to name a few), I started to wonder if these reimagined nylon classics were the new wave of athleisure. Part of the 80s resurgence, perhaps? It didn’t matter; visually, I was in. But I knew I had to try the trend out to make sure I was committed from a wearability perspective — not just as an admirer.

To do so, I called in a sample of the Isabel Marant pants and hoodie that hooked me, and an Edward Crutchley jacket (there are also matching pants!) to test-drive my latest obsession. You know, for the sake of research. As fortune would have it, my experimentation coincided with New York’s confusing spring-not-spring/rainy weather. Transitional dressing is always weird, yet here I had unboxed what seemed like the perfect solution to my transitional wardrobe woes.

These pieces were light! Waterproof! Cool! So many brownie points already! Here’s how I wore them, and how you can, too.

Look 1:

Wool, suede, nylon, raffia… I told you transitional dressing is always weird. Nothing makes sense, yet this ended up being my favorite outfit of the bunch. The skirt fabric can be changed depending on the weather you’re working with; the main idea here is to wear the jacket as a top. (It was so lightweight that I was comfortable with it zipped up all day, but that said, I kept a T-shirt on underneath just in case.)

Look 2:

Madewell shirt -- similar here, Isabel Marant pants -- another option here, Celine shoes -- similar here and hereMadewell shirt -- similar here, Isabel Marant pants -- another option here, Celine shoes -- similar here and here

These pants make me feel like a really cool surfer. I would wear them with a button-down and sandals at least 90 percent of the time if I owned them. The pants are so special on their own, of course, that they can be styled with whatever kind of top you want. (I wore them with a sweatshirt when it was chillier.) For drinks in warm weather, I think I’ll take them for a spin with something a bit less expected like a — dare I say it — “going out” top. This lilac one-shoulder one from Do + Be could not be a more perfect match (it also comes in green here).

If you work out of an office every day with a fairly casual dress code, might I suggest these windbreaker pants under $30 as an update to work trousers? They’d look great with a striped button-down and pointy flats.

As for your out-of-office notice: These pants are extremely lightweight and breezy. I never feel fully comfortable walking around in leggings when I’m running errands, so these were a game-changer. They’re officially my new favorite kind of pants for leisurely activities.

Look 3:

This is a version of the same hooded nylon shirt/jacket that I originally fell in love with on the runway. It’s a stand-out item, so I styled it the most relaxed way possible: with my favorite light-wash Levi’s and ATP Atelier slides. I’d wear it again over a slip dress or with a pleated skirt and sneakers. If you’re tired of your trench coat, a jacket like this is such a great alternative.

After concluding my research, I’m left with a few takeaways:

  1. Yes: Nylon windbreakers and joggers are (or should be) part of the next wave of athleisure.
  2. Classic wardrobe staples in nylon just might be the transitional-dressing answer we’ve all been looking for.
  3. We may or may not have skipped spring and headed straight into summer — and that’s fine. Perfect windbreaker weather.

Photos by Edith Young. 

Juliana Salazar

Juliana Salazar is a freelance stylist and brand strategist and contributing fashion editor for Man Repeller.

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