Move Over, Coastal Grandma—This Winter Is All About Gorpcore Dressing

Another day, another trending aesthetic that reminds me, yet again, that I need to get off the grid.

Meet gorpcore: the outdoorsy joie de vivre that's taken over among camping enthusiasts and techwear fanatics alike. The fashion crowd—which may not equate cross-country backpacking with the pinnacle of style—would be surprised to learn that some of gorpcore's essential items are already well within their closets. Parachute pants, athletic sneakers, and fleece jackets are all reminiscent of the granola life TikTok has desperately been pining over for the last few months. 

First adopted in the menswear space and named in The Cut, gorpcore is defined as a sleeker, elevated take on hiking clothing. "The outfit isn't designer, but it is fashion, in the way that any aesthetic executed with intentionality—ever insistent and dissonant—can become “a look,'" Jason Chen wrote. Simply put, gorpcore is the love child of ready-to-wear runway brands and sports retailers like REI and Dick's. 

For a young post-pandemic generation of fashion enthusiasts seeking the next big thing in a highly digitized world, frankly, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to look like a cool, crunchy Pacific Northwest native on their way to a weekend workout? Sign me up. 

Photo:

@MARIELWILEY

Photo:

 @ANIYAHMORINIA

A quick scroll on the #gorpcore hashtag on Instagram conjures up endless 'fit pics, mostly of men hiking, camping, and staring longly at gloomy mountainscapes. Fashion boys have long dominated the outdoorsy look—until now.  

Long gone are the days of soft-shell jackets and hiking pants made with men in mind. The introduction of cargo skirts, colorful sneakers, and cropped puffer jackets from labels such as The North Face, Patagonia, and Arc'teryx (gorpcore's crowning glory) means that brands are taking notice of a growing list of female clientele. Gorpcore's reputation as a solid aesthetic is taking flight now that women are claiming it as their own. It's about time. 

"As a trend or as a shifting perspective on the functionality of garments in fashion, gorpcore can serve as a point of access to exploring the greater world of outdoor recreation for people who haven't had a way in before," Mariel Wiley, a photographer based in Colorado, tells Who What Wear. With one foot in fashion and the other in rugged outdoor sports, Wiley says the biggest hurdle to overcome is having "granola" people leave their disdain for fashion at the door. (But at times, especially when looking at fashion's pollution problem, the sour taste in their mouths seeing people wear hiking boots for the 'gram makes sense.)

Photo:

GETTY IMAGES

Photo:

CHRISTIAN VIERIG/GETTY IMAGES

While fashion is functional, there is no denying that clothing conjures up a form of escapism. Tie-dyed lockdown sweatsuits were a way to spice up a boring day stuck inside. French-girl dressing is the epitome of romantic style for women who are aiming to look chic, sophisticated, and like they have their lives put together. Even coastal grandmother, the aesthetic tied to Ina Garten and the internet's favorite mom Martha Stewart, has its place in the discourse, giving a place of solace for those who value the simpler, finer things in life like antique dishware and frivolous candles. And at the end of the day, the same goes for gorpcore.

"If looking cute in your drawstring cargo pants is what makes you feel confident enough to try your first route at the local climbing gym, I think that's awesome," Wiley says, noting the rising trend. "I'm sure there are many first-time down-filled-puffy owners who are staying a bit cozier this winter too."

All in all, everyone deserves to escape the cold. Below, shop all of the gorpcore essentials you need in your life. Like I always say, if it's good enough for Bella Hadid, it's good enough for me.

One final ode to our favorite coastal grandmothers:

Next, see all the Shopbop finds you need for 2023.