There are many fashion brands which become famous for their ‘marine look‘ and ‘maritime fashion‘. That kind of fashion has always been extremely elegant but sportive and casual at the same time. Also, there are many brands that tend to be sailors’ fashion but not all of them are useful on board.
I would say that there is fashion which is to be worn on board and that which is suitable for parading on docks and marina bars once you leave your charter yacht. Clothes worn on board must have certain features in order to be useful. The design and appearance here come to the second plan.
It’s easier to choose proper on board clothing when sailing in the summer. However, summer sailing also has some demands in terms of clothing. Since our bodies are exposed to the sun and the wind and our clothes have to protect us from UV radiation, keeping us dry at all times. Therefore, summer sailing clothes should be made of breathable and water-resistant but comfortable materials, preferably UV protected. The same demands refer to hats while sunglasses should be equipped with UV protective and polarization layers. Don’t forget that sunglasses protect your eyes both from the sun and from the wind.
A similar philosophy is followed when choosing winter sailing clothes. The main purpose of our sailing clothes is to keep us dry and warm. All successful sailing work wear manufacturers use waterproof but breathable and semi-permeable materials to produce smocks, jackets, trousers, boots, socks, middle layers and underwear. These clothes have to protect us from being wet by swell or rain, but at the same time, they have to let vaporized sweat and redundant body-heat out of our storm suits.
There are many brands on the market who offer such clothes but the most reliable ones are those who use Gore Tex technology. It is very important to adjust clothing in line with weather conditions because overheating is as dangerous as hypothermia.
Sailing clothes sizes should be larger than usual ones because lots of bending and twisting are required when sailing – too small sizes limit movements while the too big mean loss of temperature and leaking of splash and rain.
Last but not least, sailing clothes have to be rinsed in fresh water after every use because the salt from the sea ruins impregnation, while washing is recommended only with mild conditioner.
Finally, always consider your sailing clothes a work wear while ‘marine fashion’ is allowed off board.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!