Outdoor Clothing: 6 Tips to Help Men Look Great While Exploring

Unless you’re talking about glamping — camping’s posh, high-maintenance relative — the great outdoors and high fashion don’t mix. And we understand: Why would anyone want to trot around muddy grounds in those coveted leather brogues or bespoke suit? But just because you’re leaving your finest garments out of the equation doesn’t mean that you have to nix style altogether during your next outdoor adventure. Instead, any adventurer can look great in his outdoor clothing a few simple style rules. Planning to spend time in the wide open soon? Read on for these six tips to look your best while on your next forest excursion.

1. Invest in a field jacket

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Man wearing a jacket in the woods | iStock

Between bombers and blazers, keeping track of every cool new type of jacket for everyday use is not easy. But when it comes to your next camping trip, there’s only one variety you need to own: the field jacket. At first, a boxy silhouette with a nipped waist may not seem like anything special, but the several pockets that adorn the garment’s chest and hip regions make it an outerwear must-have. Not only are the pockets a slight homage to the oh-so practical cargo pants many guys sport on an adventurous trip, they’re perfect for carrying your smartphone, snacks, and trusty pocket-knife. Mostly available in cozy cottons, this jacket is also breathable during those uphill hikes. Another plus? This piece will look equally stylish indoors. And don’t think jackets are just for cold weather. Depending on the location, you may face some surprisingly chilly weather if you’re out late. While there are some bright-hued iterations of this pick, opt for a jacket in a subtle brown or olive.

2. Take a hike in neutral sneakers

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Sneaker-clad guy walking over leaves | iStock.com

Be honest: Not much thought goes into selecting a pair of sneakers. Do they fit? Yes. Are the comfortable? Yes. Are they affordable? Yes. Case closed, right? Not necessarily. While fit and price are vital when picking out a new pair of kicks, don’t rule out aesthetics so quickly. Sure, you may be connected to a pair that could easily be mistaken for Joseph’s Techincolor Dream-shoe, but you know they’re not the most fashion-forward option. Instead of looking like a grown man, your multicolored gym shoes come across as childish. The next time you have to replenish your sneaker selection, integrate style and comfort by selecting a neutral-colored pair. For example, a navy shoe with a sleek white accent streak and laces will act like a clean palette for the rest of your look, whether you opt for baggy jeans or your running shorts.

3. Opt for durable fabrics

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Man checking his camera outside | iStock.com

From getting lost on your hiking trail, to being face-to-face with a huge water rapid, to encountering rain on an overnight camp-out, the great outdoors has a nasty reputation of being stressful. Thanks to Mother Nature’s unruly ways, there are some things the most prepared adventurers can’t control. However, fashion faux pas such as ripping your favorite lightweight sweater are completely avoidable. Instead of sporting your flimsy (read: tearable) threads, opt for your thicker garments. For example, substitute your lightly woven sweater for a chunky knit. Or your thin button-down can be easily replaced by a thicker flannel or field jacket. All stylish choices, but your heavier picks make your outdoor style a little less stressful.

4. The more layers, the merrier

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Hiker with a backpack full of clothing | iStock.com

While wearing only thick clothing is a great way to prevent any unwanted wears and tears, most experienced campers will tell you that that the woods can get warm — especially after walking miles all day. Beat the heat by wearing layers. A simple T-shirt can easily slip under a chunky knit or flannel, and your thicker piece can fit snugly into your backpack. Unless you’re spending the night outdoors, which may require more layers depending on the season, or embracing the great outdoors in the middle of winter or summer, try sticking to two layers: a short-sleeved shirt and a heavier sweater, jacket, or button-down that can easily be taken off when you find yourself sweating after a long stretch.

5. Ditch your tight pants for a looser fit

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Man looking out over a lake | iStock.com

Does anything about climbing rocks in ultra-tight pants sound attractive to you? Exactly. Save yourself from some major discomfort by selecting a pair of pants with a looser fit. With the recent rise of normcore and athleisure, there are a slew of dressy sweatpants on the market that blend comfort and style. Out of all the options to choose from, select a pair in a subtle shade that’s made of a breathable fabric like cotton.  Not looking to pick up a new pair of pants? Drag a neutral pair of running shorts or those baggy jeans out from hiding. The versatile hue will make it easy to incorporate them into the rest of your outfit.

6. Don’t forget your accessories

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Hiker wearing sunglasses | iStock.com

We know what you’re thinking: “Why should I care about accessorizing when I’m spending a day in the forest?” But once you consider adding some accessories to your outdoor clothing, it makes sense. Some of your favorite add-ons are practical and vital for your time in the woods. While it’s no secret that a sleek baseball hat and sunglasses will protect you from those harsh rays, a watch will also help you keep track of your day. Instead of sporting your treasured heritage watch or a baseball hat with your favorite team’s logo embroidered on, switch up your look by selecting some sleek and sporty alternatives. Not only will you spare your favorite pieces from the grime of the outdoors, these pieces will instantly transform your outfit from a ho-hum selection of clothes to a thoughtful ensemble. A baseball hat in a rich wool or felt material ups the sartorial ante, while a classic pair of wayfarers will instantly upgrade any ensemble. As for your timepiece, a slim silhouette with a metal or polyurethane band is the perfect finishing touch to a sporty, chic outfit.

Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs