A few months ago, Outerknown, Kelly Slater’s surf-fashion-eco-concious apparel company, launched its first ever women’s line. And we, the women editors of Outside, are here to tell you that the collection really, really rocks.
I tend to be skeptical of outdoor companies’ forays into the world of lifestyle apparel. The end result, especially for women, tends to be too beige and too boxy. Granted, Outerknown is known for making sharp-looking, wearable men’s stuff, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the quality of the women’s clothes. But still, it’s rare for a company to nail a brand-new collection for lady shredders and that is absolutely what Outerknown appears to have done.
A few weeks ago, the company shipped a box of eight products to our Santa Fe office for our staff to test. (We did not specifically request this gear, nor did we pay for it.) We did happily wear the clothing throughout the month and found that it appears uniformly well made (durable, sturdy fabric that’s still soft and supple) and that the cuts were fun and cute.
Take my favorite piece, the S.E.A Suit. If Carhartt partnered with Lululemon to make a full-length jumpsuit, I imagine you’d get something like Outerknown’s S.E.A. It’s made from a mix of cotton and linen, which makes for fabric that looks burly, yet feels buttery. I can’t imagine I’m going to run into any wear issues with this thing, at least not for years. I’ve worn it to work, then into my garden, and it’s ideally suited to both places. Do I look like a mechanic? A little bit, yeah. But at least I feel like a sexy one when I’m in it.
Really, the only obvious flaw we’ve seen across the collection is in sizing: many pieces seem to run pretty small and I’d suggest sizing up if you’re thinking of buying. The extra-small and small seem to run fairly true to size, but the medium and large were tiny. One of our editors ended up with a large cropped sweatshirt, even though she almost exclusively wears medium in other brands. I guess that’s the skinny surf industry for you.
Here’s what the other editors had to say about the pieces they tried.
Vintage S.E.A. Tee ($48)
I’m always on the hunt for chic basics that will last. This cropped tee checks all the boxes: high quality, a nice cut, and thoughtfully made. The Vintage S.E.A. Tee—that stands for Social and Environmental Accountability, referring to the ethical standards behind its manufacture—is knit and dyed in Los Angeles, and sewn in Mexico in a Fair Trade Certified facility, meaning the makers have been paid a premium to produce it. —Ali Van Houten, editorial fellow
Currents Dress ($128)
The Currents Dress is lightweight and flowy, and the fabric is semi-sheer—all things that add up to keeping you cool on warm days. Plus, it’s super cute, with big bell sleeves. The dress is made entirely of organic cotton, which uses less pesticides than conventional cotton. —AV
Solstice Hoodie ($118)
I wear this classic sweatshirt everywhere from at the climbing gym to the office. At first, I was a little skeptical of how the shorter crop would look on my long torso (I'm 5’11”), but the sleeves fit perfectly and the mid-section hits just below my bellybutton—I wear a workout tank underneath for a layered look. The Solstice is fitted enough that it’s flattering but baggy enough that it hides my post-climbing burrito babies. —Abigail Wise, online managing editor
Costa Shirt ($98)
This is my new favorite travel top. Wear it with black pants and flats to dress it up or denim cut-offs to dress it down. Plus, the linen-nylon blend looks even better a little wrinkled, ideal for tossing it into the bottom of a suitcase. —AW