How I Learned to Love Wearing Patagonia

Living in NYC, the idea of wearing head-to-toe Patagonia never once crossed my mind. I was familiar with Patagonia, having owned a few base layer items to keep me warm during the brutal New York winters, but when I moved to Denver, locals told me wearing “Patagucci” would become a way of life.

I chuckled a little, poo-pooing such a statement. After all, I’d lived in New York all of my adult life – where the sidewalks are our runways, and if you don’t keep your game on point, the police come out and imprison you for crimes against fashion. (For anyone who has never been to New York City, this is the absolute truth. Be careful out there!) I would never, ever put function over style. No no no no no!

However, within the first couple weeks of moving in the middle of January, I had a problem. I hated all the winter coats I’d brought with me from New York. They were too thick and heavy for Denver’s constantly changing, sometimes chilly, but mostly mild weather. I was a woman in need of a solution. I explained this very serious issue to my husband.

My husband had a suggestion: He pulled one of his coats out from the closet – a Patagonia Nano Puff. It was now his favorite jacket. His brother, who has lived in Denver for about three years, had recommended it to him a few months back.

“Really?” I asked, scrunching up my face, perturbed. “It’s not very cute.”

“It may not be cute, but it’s lightweight and will keep your warm when you need it,” my husband replied. “You should get one.”

I sighed. This man was trying to kill me.

The next day I headed out to work: 45 degrees and cloudy in the morning, cheerily walking down the street suited up in a wool coat + hat. Cut the early evening: 70 degrees and sunny, me with a grimace on my face as I haul the wool coat home in the crook of my arm – my dreaded albatross.

I was now willing to try anything. Even the un-cute.

I ordered a lavender Nano Puff on sale at REI. As soon as I put it on, I instantly realized why this jacket is basically standard issue in Denver. The Nano Puff is incredibly light (9.9 oz), making it easy to carry around, and water repellent, keeping you dry from the occasional drizzle, but very warm when it’s zipped up. No, it’s not the cutest coat on the planet, but frankly the utility and reliability of this item has won me over.

Since buying that Nano (aka -“The Gateway Jacket“) I’ve bought numerous other Patagonia items including a knee-length coat (the surprisingly stylish Kai Lee Parker in a navy blue), two Better Sweaters (jacket and swing jacket) the a lightweight fleece pullover, and the 3/4 sleeve version of the Glorya, a UPF 40 shirt (shown in the photo above, and great for wearing while riding bikes out in the strong Colorado sunshine). I love how lightweight and protective each of these items is to wear. Their clothing is often pretty expensive (most of my stuff was bought on sale), however, it is really well-made and I really like how they support the fair trade and sustainable clothing conversation.

Patagonia party outfit

La Canadienne suede booties sz 6.5 (sold out, similar), Patagonia nano puff jacket xs (on sale $139), Madewell beanie (old), Patagonia fleece xs (6 colors), Ann Taylor modern slim jeans sz 00p (old), J.Crew orange belt (old)

On a Friday afternoon last month, towards the end of class my barre class teacher oh-so-casually mentioned that Paper Bird, the local indie band she was playing during cool down, would be performing for free that evening at a free party on 15th Street to celebrate the new Patagonia store redesign.

I ran home and promptly told my husband that we’d be going to the party at 7pm. But then the question dawned on me, “What does one wear to a Patagonia store party?” Was it a faux pas to wear clothing that came from the store? Kinda like wearing the t-shirt of the band you’re going to go see? Seeing as how it was a cold and rainy night, wearing some durable, comfy gear was appropriate, so at risk of looking like a goober, I went two layers deep on the Pat – pairing my gray fleece pullover with jeans, and the trusty Nano Puff under a Gore-Tex shell.

Patagonia Denver store party

When we got to the party, I could see all my fears were unfounded – everyone was wearing Pat on Pat, practically a Patagucci runway show. I pointed out all the different Patagonia items people were wearing, referring to them by style name. “Oh, he’s wearing a R1,” I cooed to my husband as I followed up with an explanation of its features. I walked by a display of  Lightweight Synchilla Snap-Ts, running my hands over the soft fleece and explaining how I thought the Synchillas were a little too heavy for my liking and not as good for layering. I was converted!

The party was so much fun, with free beer from Ratio Beerworks, the aforementioned great live music from Paper Bird, and free scoops from local favorite Little Man Ice Cream (I went with the Peach Cobbler – so yummy)!

Best part was how casual the party was – we rolled up around 7:20, no list, no line, no fuss, kinda unheard of for an NYC party where free booze, music, and sweets are involved. Gotta love the super casual Denver style!  I think I’m going to like it here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you also rock the Patagucci style? What’s your favorite piece?

6 replies on “How I Learned to Love Wearing Patagonia”

โ€œThe gateway jacket.โ€ -Such a true statement… I followed the Nano puff deeeeeeeep down the hole.
Started with a Nano Puff Hoody. Now I have 2 hoodies, 5 regular Nano puffs, and 2 Nano bivy pull overs. Why so many? I love all the different colors. Damn you Yvon Chouinard. I have a problem and need help. But first one more Nano Air….

Favorite piece: Nano Puff Bivy Pull Over. It was the last jacket I thought I would like, but it turned out to be the one I always reach for. The kangaroo zip pocket is amazing, the tunnel hand warmer pocket is genius. Best use: hiking, lounging, working, boating, any where you find yourself being active and need something functional.

Favorite travel/everyday jacket? Regular full zip nano puff (black). Itโ€™s just amazing and I use it as a pillow on a plane and it looks great with everything!

Damn Iโ€™m hooked.

Nice!! I picked up a Nano Air last year to wear under my ski jacket and I’m a fan! I also use my puffs on trips as makeshift pillows. These things don’t quit! Thanks so much for responding!!

Thank you so much Ginger! I love that Patagonia is now making so much UPF gear, like that hoody you linked to. I wish all clothing was UPF. We certainly need it here in Denver.

Thanks for the kind words! ๐Ÿ™‚

Laura, love the post!! All is true! My love for Patagonia started in the 90s in college at UW-Madison where it was sooooo cool and stylish, but then my move to Atlanta in my early 20s made me question my style sense and I mostly closeted my favorite outdoor gear, except for true sport activities and Sunday mornings at home. SF and Denver have been much more accepting and I’m slowly updating some of my 90s classics (yes, your winter base layers will last forever!). This is my latest favorite purchase in the Channel Blue

Keep up the great writing !! Can’t wait to see more Ginger

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