From country to athleisure, it’s clear that giving up comfort isn’t a prerequisite for embracing the latest fashion trends. While gorpcore isn’t entirely new, it features loose fit, color and utility, elements we can always outdo. Plus, the plethora of down jackets is enough to incorporate some elements of this trend into your wardrobe this winter. Next, stylists break down the trend, explain why it’s so popular, and pick out some of their favorite pieces.
“Gorpcore is essentially wearing traditional functional and utilitarian outdoor clothing outside of its intended use,” explains stylist and creative director Todd Johnson. Think hiking boots, cardigans, and cargo pants—the list goes on. While these pieces are often built for a specific technical purpose, gorpcore aims to make them wearable in a stylish, more everyday way. “I think gorpcore is a lighter, more colorful, less serious take on techwear,” explains Brooklyn-based stylist Megan Wilson, “and a more functional, outdoorsy version of normcore.”
As for the aesthetic component of the trend, “color stories tend to be either earthy, nature-inspired tones (think chestnut brown, burnt orange, and charcoal gray) or bright, bold, and recognizable,” explains Wilson. “Silhouettes are often looser and looser than tech suits, so they’re easier to layer,” she adds, “and the pants are often wide, with lots of pockets or elaborate details, and sometimes slim enough to tuck into boots.” ’ ” Overall, Johnson notes, it’s “a very clean, relaxed look.”
The “gorp” part of the word gorpcore refers to “good ol’ raises and peanuts” – an acronym used by hikers and outdoorsmen to refer to trail mix. Still, it’s no surprise that pick-me-up snacks aren’t usually a part of this fashion trend. Celebrity stylist Shalev Lavàn describes gorpcore as “a trend for people who rarely spend time outdoors but still want to wear practical and functional mountaineering gear,” often “mixed with more stylish designer pieces.” While these functional and utilitarian outdoor apparel brands have been around for decades, mainstream adoption of these pieces in streetwear is still a relatively recent phenomenon.
So how exactly does gorpcore attract so many people? “I think the combination of functionality and the desire to look cool and effortless is what makes it popular,” explains Johnson. “I think there’s an unattainable vibe that attracts a lot of fashion people,” he shares, particularly Because “a lot of these gorpcore staples are tied to activities that are socially considered ‘rich people’s activities,’ like skiing and recreational hiking.”
On the other hand, the trend’s accessibility is also what’s attracting a more mainstream audience, Wilson explained. “It’s often possible to find second-hand pieces at an outlet, or to wear them for a lifetime, since they’re usually not as trendy,” she shares. “I think of gorpcore as an investment look, not like some trends that require a huge down payment,” explains Wilson. “Since so many items are relatively timeless and generally functional—even if you end up becoming less gorpcore-focused—you’ll probably always have a cardigan on hand for colder nights.”
There was also an element of escapism that appealed to many, as fashion trends usually tend to do. “There’s something inherently comforting about being ready for the elements, even in everyday clothing, and fostering a sense of adventure without actually having to go off the road,” Wilson shares. “Gorpcore can also give the wearer a sense of being transported — like you can go hiking in the Catskills in your clothes, but now Prospect Park is fine,” she explains.
Lavàn credits the popularity of the trend with the pandemic. “As our social lives move more outdoors,” he explains, gorpcore fashion “becomes a functional and stylish way for people to meet and get together.”
Gorpcore Jackets & Tops
“I spent hours researching the perfect Gore-Tex softshell jacket, and I settled on this one because I found it to be the most versatile—tech-savvy yet still lightweight,” explains Wilson. “I wear it at least a few times a week, no matter the weather,” she adds. “There’s nothing more gorpcore than Arc’teryx,” explains Johnson. He describes the jacket as lightweight and comfortable, noting that the Gore-Tex material “works its magic in the rain.”
Johnson calls it a classic outdoor piece. “You have to have at least one Patagonia in your rotation,” he shared.
Snow Peak $270
A vest is a layering must-have, and this Shetland wool pullover is as stylish as it is functional. It’s cut for an oversized fit and can be layered over heavier shirts or even sweaters on chilly days.
Gucci sells for $2,700
Speaking of the intersection of fashion and gorpcore, Lavàn describes the piece as trendsetting. Classic down jacket, bright orange is a classic gorpcore.
The North Face sells for $320
“The bubble jacket is a great example of gorpcore because it’s classic and iconic,” explains Wilson. Its boxy cut creates effortless layering, while the ripstop fabric and coating are a utilitarian touch. “There are a lot of colorblock iterations of this jacket,” she adds, “but I personally love the tapered orange-lapis blue-pyronaceous green colorway, which is retro and modern.”
Wilson explains that half-zip and hooded jackets are a mainstay at sustainability-conscious brands like Patagonia, and this option is one of her favourites. “It’s made from more environmentally friendly materials like recycled polyester and nylon, and it’s sewn with fair trade.”
This delightful oversized down jacket from quintessential gorpcore label Goldwin is made from recycled ocean plastic waste and used as insulation in the outerwear. This material keeps the jacket insulated even when it gets wet.
Made from 100% recycled polyester, this mid-weight fleece is warm, soft and perfect for layering. “I love that gorpcore pieces are functional and usually last for years,” explains Wilson. “They also usually have some resale value,” she added. Some brands, like Arc’teryx, even have programs to help you repair, resell, and upcycle.
Lavàn recommends this stylish Vetements raincoat, which he says is a brand that embodies gorpcore. In addition to the super practical drawstring hood and button closure, it also has internal and external pockets.
“This is the most beautiful collaboration between Moncler x JW-Anderson,” shares Lavàn. Made from a soft denim material, this jacket is definitely geared more towards fashion than function. But the sheepskin collar, shoulder straps and chic construction make it a gorgeous and irresistible nod to the gorpcore trend.
One of Wilson’s favorite parts of the gorpcore trend is that the pieces are often made with earth-friendly materials and practices. Many trendsetting brands are also “integrating sustainability into their company ethos — like Patagonia,” she adds. This vest is a perfect example, made from 100% recycled material.
Ssense is $205
“Cargo pants are a must-have for any gorpcore silhouette, and these ACG pants are a perfect example,” shares Wilson. “I love the hybrid pant in Cordura nylon canvas with olive and contrast stitching, which is functional and statement-making.”
100 dollars Huckleberry $49
Made from recycled nylon material, these shorts are lightweight and stylish. They feature handy features like key rings and an adjustable webbing belt, and the gold honeycomb shade is classic gorpcore.
According to all of our experts, Gore-Tex and other weather or weatherproof shell materials are an important part of the gorpcore. These high-performance, waterproof ski pants come in a bold copper color that looks great on the slopes as well as in the city.
This collaboration between classic gorpcore brand Snowpeak and Japanese menswear brand Kozaburo is the perfect combination of fashion and function.
Snow Peak $310
Crafted from canvas with a flame-retardant acrylic finish, these classic cargo pants are tough, functional and very on-trend. An oversized look and relaxed fit with plenty of pockets make these pants the perfect way to incorporate gorpcore into any casual street style outfit.
Gorpcore Shoes & Accessories
$300 at Asolo
One of Johnson’s personal favorite gorpcore shoes, which he describes as a “late 2000s must-have.” Luckily, the design, comfort, and durability make it a timeless choice, equally suited for urban trekking and easy hiking.
Snow Peak $90
Low brim hats are a gorpcore must-have, and we’re obsessed with this wool cap sporting ear muffs.
“It’s a must-have gorpcore shoe,” shares Johnson. “Extremely versatile and perfect for dodging New York rats.”
Mister $255 Porter
Made from econyl, a strong yet lightweight recycled nylon material, Wilson originally purchased it as an everyday bag and travel tote. “I took it to the jungles of Costa Rica and the streets of New York,” she explains. “Its versatile carrying options, endless pockets and minimal silhouette are functional and easy to mix and match.”
Packer Shoes $140
“These are really cool and I love the silhouette,” Johnson shared. The iconic 2000s Nike shoe was recently brought back in an earth tone that perfectly complements the gorpcore.
A colorful take on this classic all-weather hiking boot, crafted from heavily recycled materials. It’s waterproof and durable while still being lightweight and breathable for ultimate all-day comfort.
$163 Oakley $130
“Oakleys are a classic, especially in the outdoor community,” explains Johnson, “so they’re definitely going to be a gorpcore must-have.”