Truth #1: Clothing reviews will be outdated soon
Sure, clothing reviews will be outdated before too long—some of the specific items we review here on AOW won’t be available by the time you read the review. Or they will have updated the fit or style so we don’t like it as well…or like it even better.
But there are great outdoor brands that continue to make high-quality, stylish, well-fitting apparel year after year.
Find brands that make clothes you like, fit your body type and fit your budget. Shop those brands and you won’t run out of options. When I find something I especially love, I go back for 2-3 more if I can since, inevitably, the fit and colors will change after a year or two.
My personal favorite outdoor/performance clothing comes from just a handful of companies:
- L.L. Bean (Use their credit card to rack up member points for free stuff)
- Lands’ End (they have great sales if you’re on their email list)
- Duluth Trading Company (
- Columbia (some of my favorite tech tees and capris, plus jackets)
- Marmot (my favorite rain jacket and baseball hat)
The North Face is usually above my budget. But I bought my first NF item this winter—Gortex shell pants—on a clearance/sale combo from REI and love them.
Truth #2: Clothing reviews are highly subjective
Admittedly, clothing reviews are going to be highly subjective. We’re all shaped differently, like different styles, live in different climates, and use our apparel for different activities. But I’ll give it a try!
Whether it’s to stay warm or stay cool, today’s synthetic fabrics have come a long way. I still buy some cotton and wool-blend items (especially wool socks). But I’m steering more and more towards high-tech materials. Especially in what I wear for specific activities.
The nice thing is, the clothing is also getting more and more stylish so we can wear them for regular life too. Not just out on the trail, in the boat or on the bike.
Sharon is the founder and publisher of Active Outdoor Women. She loves getting outside in beautiful places to hike, paddle, camp, snowshoe, ski, ride—and encouraging others to come along! Besides maintaining AOW and her other website, Twin Cities Outdoors, Sharon writes and designs websites, newsletters, blogs, emails, books and other marketing tools for clients.