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The Wrong Trousers

This is an SF writer's blog, so once in a while I like to talk about what other SF authors are saying and doing.

Bruce Sterling is something of an object of emulation of mine. (Want to know where SF will be going in 20 years' time? Just read whatever Bruce is publishing this decade.) So I read his latest blog entry (yes, he blogs on WIRED) with fascination:

Since I'm a blogger and therefore a modern thought-leader type, my favorite maker of pants sent me some new-model pants in the mail.
I should explain now why I have been wearing "5.11 Tactical" trousers for a decade. It's pretty simple: before that time, I wore commonplace black jeans, for two decades. Jeans and tactical pants are the same school of garment. They're both repurposed American Western gear. I'm an American and it's common for us to re-adapt our frontier inventions.
Whereupon the Modern Thought-Leader Chairman Bruce launches into a fascinating exegesis on the design of outdoors wear, the role of clothing fashion in William Gibson's recent work, and the similarities between the use case for trouser choice among cops and SF writers.

Confession: I don't wear tactical assault police-pants, I wear Marks and Spencer moleskin jean-cut trousers with added elastane to better support my lardy arse when it's not plonked in the second-hand Aeron to bash out prose. Doubtless I'd look a lot less lardy-arsed if I went for the full steampunk look or wore power-assisted battle armour (the better to beat down bad reviewers), but either of those directions would make getting dressed in the morning a whole lot harder, and I'm not an early morning person. So when I'm out and about, my solution to Thought-Leader Sterling's SF writer/journalist gadget problem is a SeV Fleece 5.0 microfibre fleece with integral shoplifting system TravelSmartSystem™ — 24 pockets (some of them inside other pockets), wire management system, detachable sleeves (in case one of the gadgets' lithium ion batteries catches fire and I overheat), transparent capacitative panels so I can fondle my JesusPhone without taking it out of its compartment, and ... a user manual. Yes. A jacket that needs a user manual.

(I've been wearing it for a few months now (eeew) and am about to consult the user manual for washing instructions — sorry, sanitary maintenance protocol. Wish me luck.)

Anyway, in the brave new futuristic twenty-first century, what's your favourite example of brave new functionally futuristic clothing?



Like The Chairman (but not because of him!) I favour the 5.11 trousers. They look no worse than standard cargo pants, the pocketses are well-placed and robust.

I don't buy ScotteVest products any more after finding that their customer service policy for international sales is non-existant (bought combat trousers direct, which were wrong size. They not only insisted I pay international freight to return them, they couldn't even promise to replace item with correct size if I did so...)

The sizing on the trousers in question was so incorrect that I refer to them as The Ninja Clown Pants.


I've been wearing 5.11 Tactical pants and shirts for six years now, it's nice to know Sterling likes them too. I use the metal D-strap (which Sterling says he doesn't use) for Civilian Lab Rewind Gear-Retractor. Highly recommended for people with tendency to drop their keys or wallet.

D3O ribcap and SeV Revolution Plus are on my To-Buy list.


I've got a couple of pairs of 5.11's but find they're not the best fit - they're designed to be relatively high-waisted, which I don't find comfortable for long stretches.

My everyday wear is generally a pair of Lee jeans (Japanese denim preferred), a cotton t-shirt of some description and a Mountain Designs high-end windstopper fleece. MD's are an Aussie brand who make world-class outdoor equipment and their Eiger fleece is simply outstanding. I usually have an outdoor-style pair of sneakers on too and that's my everyday outfit.


Hm. I find pockets in excess of those needed to carry a wallet and electronic tracking device (a.k.a. phone) unnecessary. A back pocket I can slide a ticket stub into is helpful. As far as I'm concerned Marks and Spencer jumped the shark when they started selling nanotech clothes. As far as I'm concerned, their idea of nanotech is probably going to be the next asbestos. It's too bad—they used to have really nice stuff, and I'd look forward to my trips to the greater Marks and Spencer/Tesco co-dominion as an opportunity to get some new duds. Not anymore. Sometimes modernizing is bad.

Having said that, modern fabrics really are pretty amazing. My latest bicycle shorts breathe like a charm. My latest bicycle jersey practically disappears when I put it on—it seems to allow me to stay cool, but still keeps me warm. It would be very interesting to see some of this tech folded into regular outerwear, so that I could have a jacket that didn't produce a sweat bloom on entry to a heated space.

This could probably be accomplished with some real nanotech, not that lame nanofiber crap that M&S is pushing: sensor-driven nanolouvers that open and close depending on the ambient temperature, tiny capillaries that carry coolants through an evaporative cycle to either heat or cool my skin when mere exposure to ambient temperatures or protection from them isn't enough. Active channels for moving excess moisture to the surface.

Nanoscale rectennas on the surface could power the heat pumps and moisture movers. I suppose if you turned them into emitters they could also serve as a data display. Clearly there would be lots of compute cycles in a garment of this type...

It would also be really cool if the garment had a micro-scale actuator framework that could be used to gather energy from movement or provide a power assist, allowing one to walk further without fatigue, run faster, and keep one's balance if one's native balancing skills were less than perfect. My parents are both of an age where this is a serious problem for them, and while I would prefer a cure for the malady, a nearly invisible prosthetic would be a nice stopgap measure.


I note that Charlie is also in possession of a Kilt, which is reputed to sidestep some of the problems of garment choice.


I got my first kilt from about two and a half years ago. Now I have three of them, purchased once a year, in the spring. Wore kilts through last winter, with sweat pants t' keep me arse warm. I'm Scot, so I have an excuse, but I wear a kilt because it's bloody comfortable.


Perhaps this is more Accessory than Clothing but my wife and I have been rocking these watch-straps that allow us to use our iPod Nanos as watches and pedometers. They were a < href="">Kick-Starter project that exploded and now they are making these things in ginormous batches. Here is a link: TikTok

We love them! They come on more colors now but we got basic black (which accessorizes with EVERYTHING). They come in a couple of configuration but we prefer the one which allows us to easily pop it out and use it at the gym while working out. I also love that it is a case of the Internet enabling a really cool idea to get funded at a massive level by customers themselves! Maybe this is the future of everything from watches to self-published books.


The most comfortable are undoubtedly military. However, the modern fashion knock-offs of military gear are just total shit and, literally, a pain in the arse.


I rather like the old Roman tunic. Very practical for summer, but unless it comes with a sword most people will think you're a cross-dresser.


"Tactical pant solutions" according to the Stryker video, which sounds maybe a little more complicated than I need.

Funny that Michael Yon just posted about military pants a few days ago from Afghanistan:


I wear a highly advanced garment known as the Hawaiian Shirt, and carry the goddamn smartphone my boss made me buy in one of the pockets of said highly advanced garment. I buy them used at a nearby thrift store, because I work in environments where garments get torn easily, and I'd rather tear a $5.00 shirt than a $25.00 dollar shirt. That's right folks. I'm the guy with the torn Hawaiian Shirt and the gopher tape.

When I first purchased the Hawaiian Shirt my daughter screamed, "No Daddy. I'm a 13-year-old girl. I'm supposed to embarrass you. You're NOT supposed to embarrass me!"

When off-duty I wear T-Shirts given away at the Linux Show, band-tees, and one Incredibly Geeky Shirt I created myself from a picture of D&D dice I found on the Internet after reading Wil Wheaton's blog entry "Get Excited and Make Things."

IMHO, the "Get Excited and Make Things" approach to clothing is really, really cool, and probably The Way of the Future. I don't expect to make any real money selling shirts, (in fact, it's not really about the money) and I don't plan to quit my day job or the Really Important Side Project, but the chance to get my own design professionally printed on a T-Shirt without leaving my house was just too cool to pass up!


Afraid I'm not into 'futuristic' clothing. The closest I come would be the collarless dress shirts (that is, not t-shirts) that I make out of odd patterned calicos. Usual dress is jeans (Dickies--inexpensive, comfortable, and durable), and t-shirts, usually plain. I am not a billboard. Except one that's for a friend's band. The closest I get to black jeans is when Michael Penn's "No Myth" gets stuck in my head--which it is now, thanks.

For warmth, I have a 45 year old French army coat, that I've had for 22 years. It looks good and is warm and waterproof. I believe it's from when Pierre Cardin (iirc) redesigned their uniforms, which were stylish, but not terribly functional. The coat's tight in the shoulders, not easy to drive in. Unfortunately it is showing wear, and my stitching it up won't do forever, and can't find another.

One note on kilts. I don't consider Utilikilts to be real kilts. If you want, wear a toolbelt with a proper 16oz. wool one. Personally I'd never take the chance of mine getting dirty. And now and Old Scottish Saying (that I made up); If ye cannae stand cold knees, ye got nae business wearin' a kilt.


Not new, but cheap: I've grown fond of the "barefoot" walking fad. Rather than buying the five fingers shoes at (lots of money), I went for cheap water shoes. For those who don't know, water shoes are the thin shoes designed so that people can walk on coral or rocky beaches without cutting their feet. They're also about $18 a pair. I put in a thicker (flat) insole from REI ($8) and they work like five-fingers at one-third the price. You do have to get the thin-soled watershoes, though. The designers keep trying adding crap like arch supports and heels onto these shoes.

The advantages of hiking in thin-soled shoes: 1. They're much quieter. Actually, when wearing them, you learn quickly to stop heel-banging, because there's no cushioning in the heel. That makes your walk quieter, and you get to see more wildlife. 2. The same quiet stride helps knee and hip pain caused by heel-banging, which was the real reason I switched shoes. 3. They have better traction than boots. The reason is that your foot can move to accommodate the terrain, and as evolution figured out millions of years ago, a flexible foot grips better than a high-tech, stiff tread.

Obviously, I don't deal with freezing temperatures in these shoes, but for summer-wear, they are pretty good.


Hi Charlie,

In retrospect the previous post of mine was probably not appropriate. Please just erase the darn thing.

My apologies. I'll try again without URLs that might offend.


When it comes to footwear, last winter I got some Magnum Panther boots, since wearing trainers in 8" of snow was not a good idea. Most comfortable boots I have ever had.


Considering the state of the economy, I think the brave new future of clothing is cheap and functional, and resale more often than not.

I've got a pair of BDU pants from army surplus. Ran about ten bucks as I recall. I almost never buy clothes new. I just scavenge the good stuff from resale and surplus after these fads have come and gone.

Only the toughest (though sometimes ugliest) garments survive to make it to the second hand shop. I do have to buy some things new of course. Work pants usually have to be bought new.

Mostly, I wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts and multi-pocket docker's shorts in the summer, and jeans and long sleeved solid color shirts in the winter. I only carry keys, wallet, and a phone. If I need to carry more I have a man-purse AKA courier bag, but fess up guys, it's a man-purse. If there's any trend I see around Madison, WI, it's that the man purse is an acceptable fashion option.

I also have a couple of wonderful wool overcoats also snagged from resale. Cost about five bucks each to buy, and a few hundred to fix the lining. Tailor told me that even if you could buy wool like that new the overcoats would run about $1200 each. Same thing with suits, I've snagged several nice suits from resale and made them good with a little tailoring. A good suit takes a long time to go out of style.

With the economy as it is, and is going to be for the next several years, frugality and clever shopping is going to be the future.


At work I generally wear a hi-tech garment known as the Hawaiian Shirt, which I purchase used at a thrift store nearby. I don't buy new shirts for work because I work in environments which can damage clothing, and I'd rather tear a five-dollar shirt than a twenty-five-dollar shirt. I carry the gigantic smart phone my boss made me buy in the shirt pocket. If you see a middle aged guy with a torn Hawaiian Shirt and a gopher tape, it's probably me.

When I bought my first Hawaiian Shirt, which was amazingly loud, my daughter took one look at me and said, "NO DADDY! I'm 13 years old. It's my job to embarrass you. It's not your job to embarrass me!"

Off work I wear T-shirts I got from the Linux show or band T-shirts. I also have one shirt I made myself and had printed online. You can see the design, but not purchase the shirt, right here. (I didn't include a link to the store because our host frowns on such things.)

I made the shirt after reading Wil Wheaton's blog post "Get Excited and Make Things," and I think that is the wave of the future - people exercising their own creativity and wearing the fruits thereof. I used free software to create the design, and opening the "store" (which I'm very unlikely to make any money from ) was free. I pay only for the shirts I actually order, and given the cheapness of storage, I can probably order the design 20 years from now with no more than a couple mouse clicks as long as the shirt company is still in business.


That's the way to do it.


Working in hospitals and labs cramps my style, but when I have a choice I always choose t-shirts (black) and trousers or shorts with four pockets (either two front two back, or to front and two on the thighs). Three pockets covers the essential: Wallet, keys and mobile phone. The fourth pocket is useful for those small black bags dog-owners carry in civilised countries (i.e. not France).

At work you get the cheapest available, generally white, mostly cotton, scrubs that are nothing like the scrubs shown on TV. They just don't have a fit, they have malplaced pockets that are too small and too large (yes, both, at the same time). On the positive side, they do save you from doing the laundry too often.

When I need to carry more things with me I go for a backpack, or ideally a rolling bag, but they are more difficult to bring along on a bicycle.


I do not wear 'tactical pants' (I had to go to their site to make sure that what I wear is not what they call tactical pants there -- and it isn't), but I wear BDUs, which aren't entirely dissimilar. US military surplus gear is fairly cheap, fairly rugged, and in the case of pants has various and sundry features that matter to me (lots of huge pockets -- I could carry two copies of the Illuminatus trilogy in my pants pockets in addition to a wallet, phone, and keys, without using the back pockets, and I wear a small -- tightening straps so I don't need a belt, and ties on the end of the pants legs so I can keep my socks from getting wet when walking in the rain). Aside from my constant use of BDUs (they make excellent pajama pants), the only other 'unusual' clothing choice I make is a predilection for dusters, especially naval pea-coats, because they keep my legs warm/dry and have pockets that I could fit small laptops into.


Actually, that's a bloody good shirt, and I encourage you to share the buy-me link!


Three pockets covers the essential: Wallet, keys and mobile phone.

I keep seeing this, and I boggle.

The essentials in my world are:

  • Keys

  • Wallet

  • Cash (separate pocket)

  • Phone

  • ear canal phones for iPhone

  • LED flashlight

  • Optional items:

  • Emergency shopping bag

  • MiFi

  • Pocket computer

  • Kindle

  • Folding windproof umbrella

  • survival tool

  • Baseball bat (in case of zombie invasion)

Seriously, I need more than 3 pockets, minimum. (Keys and coins do not play nice with iPhone screens or, indeed, anything else. Note for USAns: "coins" can include £1 and £2 coins, so small change up to the value of $20 or so may be in the form of archaic stamped metal disks with abrasive edges.)


I understand why you would want to have those things along, but I just hate the feel of them dangling against my legs. I tried using pants with extra pockets once, but quickly got sick of it, de-pocketed everything, and put it in a backpack, which I carry when I need that sort of thing.

Of course, here in the U.S. you have to drive everywhere, so typically you can get away with leaving the backpack in the car. But when I'm on your side of the pond I do find myself carrying it. We have a sledgehammer in the car in case of immersion, but the handle's probably too short for zombies—I should look into that. I wouldn't want to try to get it through airport security in any case.

I didn't realize they had baseball bats in Scotland—aren't you guys part of the cricket dominion? I would think a cricket bat would work a lot better than a baseball bat, because it's got an edge to it.


heteromeles @11: You might like climbing shoes even better. They offer terrific traction on anything other than mud. They also wear out pretty quickly (but surely no worse than beachwear?). Don't have the guys at the store fit them, because they'll set you up with something way too tight to wear for walking, but fit them yourself instead (and don't use that pair for real climbing, you'll be prone to slip a lot and tire easily).


(I was joking about the baseball bat.)


If I need to carry more I have a man-purse AKA courier bag, but fess up guys, it's a man-purse

Well, my laptop bag is a purse that I came across in my mother's basement, that she never used. Looks just like a courier bag, you'd never know its origins, and was the perfect size for my old laptop.

I feel like I need to give a pre-emptive apology to Bill St. Clair @6, no offense intended, just my opinion, and attempt at humor.


JamesPadraicR @24: I honestly don't grok the concept of a man purse this day and age. A good day pack will offer enough space for a laptop and all the gear Charlie suggested, while being a lot more comfortable to carry than the purse and not making you jingle person, like the 64 pocket garments.


@ Heteromeles: Water shoes are great. Get a good pair of wool socks and they're comfy down to about -5 to -10 C, depending on your cold tolerance (Warning: I grew up in Saskatchewan. My definition of "cold" is very different than most folks. If your flesh hasn't frozen, you're not cold). Going barefoot is very comfortable. The only problem with it in the city is that pavement is abrasive.

Wallet, smartphone, netbook, notepad, ereader, headphones... I keep most of that in my pack, since I find bulky pockets annoying when I sit. And I wear all-natural fibres, since for some reason synthetics make me incredibly static-y. One synthetic-fibre shirt and I'm getting zapped every time I touch a doorknob.


On the futuristic side, this Kickstarter project is promising custom-fit jeans at mass market designer prices.


I prefer to keep things simple.

I gravitate toward reflective silver jump-suits, with integrated silver helmet/radio receiver and dual antennas (almost always 5 bars of service!).

I find this practical, streamlined, and much less garish than Tron-style neon circuit board patterns. Also silver jump suits have the advantage of reflecting hostile laser beams before I get toasted, and it's easy to accessorize with oxygen tanks and bubble helmets. So I have less worries regarding depressurization of my space capsule.


I have a Trunk&Co bag for the bits i carry.. it has an audio pocket for media player/phone and a good sized interior for the vaio/droidslab if it needs to travel. It also holds the various meds it's always useful to tote.. along with the 4 quid leatherman knock-off, various USB connector cables, modular screwdriver that resembles a pen (intel give-away).. and some old thirty-pin simms that do a darn fine job of zip-tags when drilled and jump-ringed.

As for clothing, mostly cheap combats, trainers, black jeans various weighted microfiber tops and fleeces and various t-shirts - some old gig ones to remind me where i was in the nineties and some recently purchased online - the webcomic trend to produce t-shirts to monetise themselves is proving costlier than I'd anticipated.. the LOL shirts from jhonnywander were a gift along with the FSM noodles the Cistine's ceiling were gifts from carefully prompted family members.. the XKCD 'You're a Kitty!' may be next..

as for what's usually in my pocketses.. i'll usually have wallet, candy-bar phone, keys, glasses, MultiPass, cash, D20, rotring propelling pencil, the occasional long wheel-base screwdriver, occasional PCI card.. pockets of various sizes are useful.. to the point that I once purchased one of those mahoosively-multi-pocket wastecoaty things from the now sadly defunct Famous Army Stores.. it has a back pocket that holds anything up to my ten" tablet, and many layered small ones down to the case screws and other fixings for rummaging inside the servers and such.. but I'm pretty much over that now.. still, it was lovely to walk round the workshop with most of everything I needed within easy reach.. certainly beat the wandering up and down the 40m bench to fetch bits..


I try to travel "light", especially when commuting or going out. So right pocket: wallet (credit cards, insurance cards, ID etc etc) handkerchief cash (coins and notes) left pocket: keys (in leather key-holder) Travel cards/building passes etc in a small flexible plastic card holder Plus Smartphone (on belt-clip).

And that's it. I don't like carrying bags. I'm looking for something that'd be able to hold something the size of my ebook reader and clip it to a belt loop (a small bag on a tether or something) but haven't found anything nice yet.


Obviously I don't carry enough technology around with me as I get by with old-fashioned carpenter jeans and an even more old-fashioned sports jacket.


When I am at work its normally cheap german army knock off moleskin combats for me. They cost a tenner from a stall in the local market and have big pockets, fit well and last for at least 3 years. If could get hold of the genuine article though I would buy those.

When I am working around the house and garden I normally wear a pair of Dickies Eisenhower work trousers. They are incredibly tough with kevlar re-inforced knees and cordura on all the trailing edges and inside the many pockets. They are also the only trousers I have ever bought that came with a karibena supplied with them.

For the top half its what ever t-shirts I pick up and a hoodie generally. I will put in a big plus vote for my rat bags fishermans smock which I wear around the house and garden. Its made out of sailcloth and is tremndously tough and hardwearing with two big patch pockets on the front.


Clothes also must fit the climate. Traipsing about Edinburgh is very different than in California. No need for a brolly, and clothes must be light, airy and shorts and no sleeves in summer. Leather sandals in summer.

I prefer pants with extra pockets, but I also think that this is a transition period while our toys are still too bulky.

I carry 2 sets of keys (car plus everything else) an overfull wallet and Jesus phone. I also often carry a pen and a small notebook.

Recently I have found that carrying the phone in a shirt pocket is better than my pants as it reduces the effect of gravity on the position of my pants around my "waist" (wherever it is).

Unfashionable as they may be, suspenders (braces) are a much better solution than a belt for apple/pear shaped bodies. Healthier too. They have pretty much disappeared from retail clothes stores, but can be bought in greater variety on the intertoobs.

I absolutely hate the "road warrior" laptop bags, any laptop bag and indeed any bag. I am so looking forward to powerful computing devices that can be slipped into a pocket, or even worn.

I am [not very] surprised that men's shirt makers are so incredibly conservative that shirts have either 0, 1 or maybe 2 breast pockets. They should have more, because supporting objects off the shoulders, is far easier than off the waist/hips. The jacket was the conventional place for pockets, but this makes no sense in hot weather for most people and professions.


Question: did you notice how the "SeV Fleece 5.0" page has a logo that says, "Compatible with iPad and MacBook Air (Most models)"? It's the sort of badge I don't think I've seen outside of computer peripherals, which briefly made me wonder if I was confused or if the fleece itself was a computer peripheral.


First off, my take on man-purse vs backpack: If you take a lot of public transportation, yanking a pack on and off can be a hassle, and a "murse" is thus more convenient.

High tech fashion? Well, our here in Japan, they've been selling "do-ra-i(dry)" underwear that purport to keep one's nether bits from becoming steamed dumplings during the absolutely jungle-horrid summers here.

Some are better than others (depending on price, material and whatnot), but it's nice to be able to keep that critical bit of kit even marginally more comfortable.

And it seems to be a growth industry (I guess the power problems Nippon is currently suffering have helped at least a few local entrepreneurs), as I saw a lot more variety on offer this summer, including options for the ladies as well.


I buy my jeans at Costco: they cost $12 a pair for a garment that is made in the West, fits well, and lasts for a year or two in rotation for daily use. I carry a phone, wallet with cash, keys, multitool, and small notebook and pen directly on my person; the rest of my EDC lives in a Tom Bihn knapsack that goes with me most places.


My solution to the "barefoot" thing is a pair of dirt-cheap (4 euro) Converse knock-offs with the insoles stripped out. The cheapness is a serious bonus: braking manoeuvres on a skateboard can leave large portions of your shoe on the tarmac. My other, more weatherproof footwear are Bates raid-responder combat boots; side-zips in boots are not to be sniffed at. ",)


Clearly you do not take the threat of zombie hordes seriously enough.


Right. A satchel (murse seems like an unnecessary neologism) is also easier to keep pickpockets' hands out of. If you keep your backpack on your back when you board a train, it's one-stop shopping for anyone who wants to rifle through it, and you won't know it's happening unless someone tells you.


Day packs are all very well until you discover the joy of lower back pain in middle age. Sometimes a shoulder bag or hand-held bag just plain works better (and without all the extras like chest straps that dangle in the way).


Wow. I shop at Penny's and wear slacks/khaki's[1]. Us teacher types are told to dress casually . . . but unofficially, but not that casually. I carry the usual bits of Civilization about with me (that flashlight Charlie mentioned my daughter calls a Dadlight), but most of the time it's mostly all in a backpack. That teacher thing again; instead of classrooms we get "offices" and have to walk between three different classrooms (often in three different buildings!) to boot.

[1]And Mr. Rogers sweaters in cooler weather.


Thanks Charlie, the opportunity to pimp my shirt on your blog is highly appreciated. When we meet in person I will definitely buy the beer.

Shirts Are Available Here.

When I'm done with work for today I'll upload some free wallpapers I made for Ipad, Iphone, and Android in case anyone wants them. They just show the matrix of falling dice without the "All I see is Orc, Kobold, Goblin" text.


I quite like the 5.11 Tactical trousers. Interesting design features. Found the back pockets to be crap, but the front pockets are enormous.

Still curious about the hems that would appear to allow you the thread a small drawstring through. Isn't documented on their site, so I don't know the intended purpose.

Huge downside is the cotton is a massive pet hair magnet.


I have one of the Scott Vest jackets. It's nice, even though not all of the pockets are really useful. I especially like the cable runs between the pockets, so you can set up your own pocket-switching network. (Sorry, but somebody had to say it.)

Their shorts, OTOH, are so high- waisted that the crotch is about the level of my knees. Not useful or comfortable.


You really can't beat Army Surplus coats (and shirts in summer)

I seriously intend to be buried in my M65 jacket, Che T-shirt, Levi 501s and whatever cheap hiking boots I am using when the end comes.

One thing I do wish I could afford these days are the top of the range Wolverine Fulcrum hiking boots - most comfortable and serviceable footwear I've ever owned but impossible to find in UK shops.


Honestly, Ted. You wouldn't want to risk damaging a good cricket bat by using it to hit zombies. Don't you know those things are works of art?


My go-to travel pants the past few years have been a couple pair of Columbia sportswear's Lander Pants.

They have a side-zip pocket on the right leg outside seam for stashing the cash an coin.

Yes, only three pockets (I don't count back pockets as usable,) so I go with a shirt with a zip-able breast pocket for carrying the mobile phone/web browser.

I also carry a small shoulder-slung satchel for the notebook and tablet. Tom Bhin of Seattle is good for those.


Hmm. Have you tried German army surplus paratroop boots? Seriously hardcore leather lined with fleece, tongues bonded to the uppers so that they're waterproof right up your calves, just the thing for jumping out of aeroplanes into a swamp. (I seem to recall that Inspector Gadget had a discussion running about the ideal footware for a cop, and despite his being a hang'em and flog'em reactionary of the first water, he knows his boots. The only thing they're not good for is delicate pedal control when you're driving ...)


I might try climbing shoes someday, but the water shoes are about one-third the price of climbing shoes. The cost makes it possible to buy more and experiment, and not worry if they get trashed.


I have a lovely pair of "Propper" Multicam combats and I love them, the fabric is hard wearing and fairly breathable. And there are pockets galore!


On pockets, I find it so handy having at least 4 at the top and 2 on the legs. The two used most are of course the front top two, for wallet and keys. But the hip pockets are handy for putting reciepts in or keys when you want easy access later. The leg pockets take a mobile phone and a torch or whatever, in some cases tent pegs when I'm putting a plastic tent up.
Jackets also need pockets, at least 2 decent sized ones for holding bags, random stuff a torch, whatever I need to carry really.


My requirements are similar to Charlie's, except I also tend to have either a laptop or an iPad with me - job-wise, I have to be able to ssh to various machines, and while my phone can do that, it is a royal pain typing Unix shell-ese on it. So that pulls in the direction of a bag. I don't have a favorite bag at the moment. So I'll talk about the best pair of boots I've ever found instead.

Which is the Rocky Paraboot. They last forever, the zipper is extremely handy, they shine up nicely for casual business wear, and they aren't that heavy. I've worn them everywhere from offices to Burning Man, and they've held up superbly. Plus, they aren't that pricey for a boot.

Now that my hair is starting to go, I'm experimenting with hats. I'll have to report back on that one - still feeling self-conscious about them.


I love the fact that with the very newest insulation fibers I can buy gloves that I can wear all through winter, even when it's 40 degrees below, or 233k if you prefer. I don't need to buy mittens anymore.

Now if only they were properly fitted to my big hands they might not rip so easily after just a few winters.


heteromeles, in Edinburgh it is perfectly practical to take the barefoot fad literally. Spinning this as a futuristic clothing choice is tricky, but the basic point is that modern man uses wheeled transport; shoes are obsolete. Indeed, modern man is concerned with delicate pedal control. Shoes are a barrier between man and machine, and no longer appropriate as we stride, barefoot, towards our post-human future :-)


Fishing jacket (not tactical vest), loads of pockets


What the heck is it about pockets? My other half is mad for them, every jacket he has ever bought has been covered in patch pockets, if it doesn't have at least 6 pockets he won't even try it on, and that's not to mention combat trousers etc.

I have a selection of bags with appropriate compartments for my daily needs. The good thing about this is, when I need to put my clothes in the wash I don't need to pull things out of a score of pockets before I do so and I don't risk washing my stuff, I just strip and chuck everything in the basket. Also, I can keep a chocolate bar in there and because it's not worn next to the body it won't melt.

The one technical piece of clothing I will swear by though is M&S thermals. When you grow up in Aberdeenshire you don't underestimate the importance of the base layer!


I absolutely despise tactical pants, because having all that crap fwapping around on my legs is just distracting, and unusable pockets irritate me. I'm a minimalist as far as EDC, anyway: wallet, keys, phone. Knitting bag with a couple of projects if I might end up waiting somewhere for any length of time. You don't need more than a couple of pockets for what I carry with me.

My favourite high-tech piece of clothing is my heart-rate monitor bra (not sure if there is a masculine equivalent; I think guys just have to use the chest strap). Not only does it do a superb job of warning me when I am overworking my heart, but it also holds everything in the right spot without pinching or poking. I look forward to the day when I don't need to wear a gigantic digital watch along with it.


Of COURSE you were joking about the baseball bat! You know very well that what's needed in the event of Zombie Attack is a A Soviet MPL-50 entrenching tool ...


I would like purses more if I could be certain I would never forget them. I can't forget a pocket.


Okay, I have the joint problems of being female (which limits the amount of practical clothing it's socially acceptable to wear... no, really) and being fat (which limits the range of practical clothing it's possible for me to purchase) and short (which limits the range of practical space available for said practical clothing to fit on). So my definition of "functionally futuristic clothing" tends to include such novelties in women's couture as "trousers with pockets", "comfortably warm winter clothing" and "shoes which don't make my feet hurt".

I have simple tastes.

In these times of economic hardship, there's an additional constraint on purchases, which is that they have to be cheap as well.

That being said, I will now rave about my single most expensive clothing purchase. It's underwear. I'm fairly large in the chest (E/F-cup), which means I have to spend money on bras, otherwise I wind up with a sore neck, sore shoulders, sore back, and a lot of chafing. So my one little luxury is my bras. I also have a long-standing preference for avoiding underwires (mostly because while my tits themselves are large, the chest beneath them is comparatively narrow). Underwire bras tend to mean I wind up with my least favourite form of bodily adornment - pierced armpits - because the underwire itself doesn't tend to remain in the reinforced channel forever. Underwires want to be free, they want to explore the world. So, no underwires.

As any of your female readers will know, finding a bra in the standard stores is basically a question of "12B or not 12B" - or in other words, if you're not a "standard" size (ladies size 10 - 16 band, cup size DD maximum) you are SOL. Which means no matter how much I'd like it, I can't find myself a reliable source of cheap bras. Thus it used to be that buying bras meant going into one of the upmarket department stores, finding their lingerie fitter, and trying to find a decent bra (where "decent" covered any two of "fits properly", "no underwires", "doesn't look like it was originally designed for concrete and reinforced steel", "isn't in one-shade-matches-nobody's-skintone beige", "comfortable", and "affordable"). However, somewhere in the last ten years, I was introduced to a wonderful Australian firm: Bodywise.

Bodywise create and sell bras which are comfortable (comfortable enough that I can forget I'm wearing a bra, which used to be unthinkable), which don't have underwires, and which come in shades other than 'orrible beige. They also cost about the same as the highly-manufactured, underwired designs which resemble the life's work of an engineer who's spent most of his career working on hydro-electric projects. I've been buying my bras from them by mail order over the internet for years, and raving about their product for almost as long.

(Oh, and my essential kit - wallet, phone, transport pass, Zen, one pen - mostly fits in my pockets. Then I have my bag - a repurposed "Borders" cloth bag - which carries all the other essentials, such as whichever paperback I'm reading at present).


Actually, there's a really good use for a brolly in California: keeping the sun off in summer. It works better than a hat, especially in the desert.

While I like packs in some situations, I like my computer bag (man purse?) because it's fairly waterproof. The best evidence was when I threw it in the washer after it had gotten splashed with something sticky. I didn't get all the paper out of the central pocket, yet that paper was still dry after the bag came out of the washer. That's the kind of waterproofing I can respect, especially since the bag was unsealed at the time.


My favourite brand of multi-pocket everyday pants is Craghoppers Kiwi pants. After buying a pair by chance because they were on sale in the Blacks shop next to the London Tun meet, they have been my go to trousers for work as they are comfortable, reasonably smart (I've bought most of them in black) and last well. In fact the only problem I've had with them is needing to replace the velcro on the single cargo pocket after long use.


a really good use for a brolly in California: keeping the sun off in summer.

I have tried that with a reflective, rather than dark waterproof fabric. They seem inconvenient to me. On the rare California shower, I keep a golfing umbrella in the car. But for everyday use, a light hat is perfect for me. I use straw hat in summer and a dark felt fedora in winter.

I always liked our English saying: "You need 3 umbrellas. One for the home, one for the office and one to lose on the train!". I don't think I have ever lost a brolly in California.


Jewel colours from Pleats Please* (when my budget stretches to it)** a long with appropriate thickness of leggings for the weather if the skirt is short enough. I've given up trying to find fitted trousers that fit my shape at the moment. For more technical forays I go with a nice technical wool layer, a Paramo soft shell over that, a wool buff for drafts and Berghaus running legging for the lower half. I don't do much bog hopping at the moment, so a light weight approach shoe is good and doesn't wear out too quickly in town (even if it does look a bit silly with the pretty dress).

I wouldn't even think about using climbing shoes for walking in, they are like point shoes in ballet your foot isn't meant to flex.

Handbag! the smaller the better. Because although I get twitchy if I don't have a notebook with me (paper) I know I'm getting silly when I'm carrying three around. Also small handbag goes in what every other bag I've got my kit in. I've learnt over the years how prone I am to loosing things - The fact i'm too tired to recognise the warning signs doesn't help - so i like to keep bag quantity consistent. Also chest pockets on a lady!

*its late and google is your friend.

**I've come to accept I'm a girl, I look like a girl, I may as well dress like a girl. And the clothes are fun. You're encouraged to wear them up-side-down… I swore long ago to stear clear of the black linen look.


@59 - that would be what is known as a "parasol", surely?


I've worn the same stuff Pant wise now for about 50 yrs, Black jeans in winter & Dickys chinos summer. Wrangler has work line called Riggs & they came out w/a leather & kevlar reinforced black jean I love, bought 5 pair & to my regret I can't find anymore. Shirts winter are Tees (100% cotton) topped chamois, summer a real aloha for the most part. Work is a very differing story, there I'm in chef's pant & coat w/clogs for footwear.


I carry a purse, so don't feel a need for pockets. Clothing of choice is t-shirt plus shorts. (Shorts handsewn by me, from a pattern tweaked to my odd anatomy.) For dress-up, salwar kameez, also hand-tailored to fit.

Salwars are the perfect pants! Loose, comfortable. The only tweak I've added to the traditional pattern is the insertion of an elastic strip in the back of the gathering string at the waist, so that the string has some give.


I put my wallet in my right pocket (no back pockets) and my keys and phone in my left pocket. If I have receipts or coupons or something similar, I prefer to have pockets on my shirt, but if it doesn't, they go in the left pocket.

I keep a fair number of the things you mention, or similar things, in the van and since I can't walk far, I'm always close to them.


Personally, I keep a black, windproof umbrella in my desert gear. Yes, I also use it when it rains, but the nice thing is that it casts good shade in the sun, and even though the fabric gets almost too hot to touch, it's far enough away from my skin that it doesn't particularly matter.

Personally, though, I wish I had your luck in California with umbrellas. I've lost a bunch, mostly around the SF Bay area.


5.11 trousers. Sorry, no. I've been target shooting for a long time and as a sport, we get viewed askance by the police, the government, the media and most of the public who've not tried the sport; lots of us tend to keep away from military clothing and anything that looks scary to those outside the sport as a result.

Besides, I can't get the story of the Mall Ninja out of my head whenever someone mentions "5.11", "tactical clothing" or in fact the word "tactical" when used as an adverb for any products bought by individuals (police and army personnel have a reason for this stuff, so they get an obvious pass).

However, on the principle that you shouldn't join a conversation just to pooh-pooh its initial thesis, I offer the following link, because it's exactly what you're talking about with pocket contents and so forth:

Everyday Carry


Future clothes:

Level 1: I want clothes that actually fit me, even though I'm a fat strangely-proportioned woman. I want to just say "I want that in purple" and have it arrive the next day. Shoes that actually fit, too, although their problem is that they're very narrow & long -- 10 AAAA & AAAAAAA heel.

Level 2: I want clothes that clean themselves. You shake them or something and they're just fine. You don't need to use water or electricity.

Level 3: I want clothes that will change color, texture, or fabric when I tell them to.

Level 4: I want clothes that automatically adapt to where I am and what the weather is.


Living in Oregon, I favor a lightweight Columbia all-weather resistant jacket for the fall and winter. Fleece-lined with zipable pockets (alas only 3). It breathes well enough for warmer weather but still insulates for colder weather.

When I started working as a librarian I found I needed sturdier pants than your stock black/khaki chinos and invested in a few pairs of Dickies black pants. They have reinforced knees (I spend a lot of time doing IT work including climbing under tables and desks to fiddle with wires) and it has a cellphone pocket beside the right knee.


Man purse yes, tables don't fit in pocketesses my precious

future, probably VR glasses




"Of course, here in the U.S. you have to drive everywhere...." Not really. I lived in Los Angeles without a car for about ten years, for example. Living without a car in Minneapolis is more convenient -- as is living here with a car. (Aside from the very few times a year when the weather is bad enough to shut down traffic.)


Must be using BART to lose them on. ;)


Yup, BART gets a lot of 'em.


What I carry in my trouser pockets: Wallet in left front pocket. Eyeglass-cleaning cloth in right front pocket.

Most of what I carry around with me goes in a backpack; usually a daypack, sometimes a large pack.

I also use a small shoulder bag from an outdoor store. (About the size of a medium-to-large camera case.) It contains: notebook, pens, jackknife, keys, checks, watch, addresses (on index cards, various other stuff from time to time.

My clothing mostly comes from thrift stores and rummage sales. Main exception is shoes; my shoe size is a bit uncommon.

Keys and coins do not play nice with iPhone screens or, indeed, anything else

I learned this the hard way when I had rotating on-call trouble-shooting duty for the global ordering system. We had a single candybar-style phone we passed around, so the sysops had a single number to call. I kept it in my pocket with change and keys and discovered fairly quickly that I was dialing out at the mercy of the coins hitting the keys.

Now I have an iPhone which has fallen into water once and into hot coffee once and been replaced under warranty both times; I don't fancy having to replace it again if I can help it, because the next time I might not be able to glamor the Genius Bar tech into allowing the warranty, so I keep it in an OtterBox Defender case in a plastic clip attached to my belt. No worry about coins, easy access to the phone, and some protection against hard knocks.

Many-pocketed pants have always seemed like overkill to me; I use the front pockets of my cheap CostCo blue jeans to hold wallet and bandana (I sweat a lot when walking any distance and learned to always carry a bandana working in the high desert in New Mexico) on one side, and keys, coins, and Swiss Army Knife on the other. I moved the wallet to the front from the back a few years ago when it started to aggravate my chronic back pain. I bought the iPhone because I don't want to have more than one electronic gadget on me when I'm out and about, so I have phone, net browser, calculator, and MP3 player all in one case (plus about 40 or 50 other apps, including, wait for it, a slide rule).

And since I also live in Oregon only 20 minutes drive on surface roads from a Columbia factory outlet store, I have 3 water-proof Columbia jackets of various weights for autumn, winter, and winter-on-the-mountain. Of course I keep several umbrellas in the car, but carrying one when out for a walk isn't necessary for anyone who's lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years.

Oh yes, boots. There's a Danner Shoe factory outlet over by the Portland airport. Their hiking boots are very comfortable and also very sturdy; the first pair I bought, about 25 years ago, were the best boots I've ever had for hiking in rocky terrain. That one pair lasted about 7 or 8 years of hiking in the Portland hills and on the trails of the Columbia Gorge, and kept rocks and assorted debris on unmaintained trails from hurting my feet. They also had fabulous traction on almost any surface: one time I was walking the trails in the West Hills in Portland right after a snowstorm followed by a short thaw and then a freeze that turned the trails into sheets of ice. I came across a woman who was not wearing good boots and had gotten out on a stretch of ice and couldn't move. I was able to hold onto her and walk her off the ice without losing any traction at all because of the Danner boots (which were not hobnails by the way). I can't hike long distances or large altitude changes any more because of my back, so I don't need to pay for the best hiking boots; now I buy boots at the Columbia outlet store, and they work quite well for walking on everything except glare ice.



In view of keeping the kruft down to a reasonable level:

  • The Keys can have a keyfob doing the LED flashlight, survival tool job.

  • Phone and earphones can go together. Phone case can also hold tickets, etc.

  • MiFi can be handled with tethering on the phone

  • Kindle/Android Tablet can go in a folio, which is socially acceptable for a man to carry.

All I really need is the small foldup shopping bag and an umbrella that fits in the spine of the folio and it will meet the four pockets + folio target.

Added advantage, paper notepad in the folio.


* The Keys can have a keyfob doing the LED flashlight, survival tool job.

Er, not for me. I need a proper flashlight, after dark, in case of encountering a stretch of pavement where the stret light is out or blocked by a truck or something. (Night blind in one eye, poor vision in the other.) So it's either an LED Lenser or MagLite LED torch for me.

Phone tethering is unfortunately an expensive extra over here (and the cellcos allegedly use DPI to enforce it). Plus, I keep the mifi on a different network so that if the regular mobile network has no coverage the mifi might be okay.

Not sure how you define "folio" -- over here it's a sheet of paper, or a type of book.


As a climber I wear climbing shoes a lot, and wouldn't really recommend them for walking around.

Going for a looser fit can get you something reasonably comfortable, but you will still know about it if you wear them for more than a couple of hours.

The shape tends to be optimised for standing on the tip of the big toe, and the rigidity & shape of the shoe follows from that. Expect compensation problems if you do a lot of walking around in some of them.

Finally, sticky rubber wears out quite quickly and gives you no traction whatsoever on grass. Great on rough surfaces, but falling on your arse crossing a lawn is embarrassing.

Personally I go for 5-10 trainer/approach shoes for general wear. Sticky rubber on the toes so I can climb in them if I need to, but decent soles with treads that let me walk around.

Given the choice for general use I would stick with the water shoes.


Phone tethering is unfortunately an expensive extra over here

I'm surprised to hear that. I have a Galaxy S 2 with a Vodafone SIM, and have never had any problems with that on either expense or usage. Is it something to do with perhaps your phone provider and/or iPhone?

(Power drain, yes, running a WiFi hotspot eats battery.)


O2 contract iphone: they want £2/day for the privilege of tethering. (More evidence that O2 are Evil.) Whereas I've got a £15/month contract mifi on Three.


Do you go for a hand held light or a headtorch design? I tend to keep one of those small LED headtorches in a jacket pocket most of the time, as they take up hardly any room & I spend a lot of time on camp sites.

They are about as easy to aim hand held, and can free up both hands when I need to deal with those pesky outbreaks of cannibalism.


Likely choice of clothing depends on what I'm up to, and what the weather's like (Note that I live even further North in Scotland than Charlie, and right on the Atlantic coast):- 1) Work - dress slacks with 2 front pockets, dress or flannel shirt with at least 1 breast pocket, probably (worn or carried) a weather suitable jacket preferably with square rather than slash-cut pockets, possibly a sweater of some description. 2) Casual, not at home - Chinos or sometimes shorts with 2 front pockets, flannel, tee or polo shirt (weather-dependant), jacket and/or sweater as above. 3) Casual at home - Jogging pants, shirt as (2), sometimes a sweater. 4) Semi-formal - dress slacks and shirt, teamed with one of my "smarter" jackets and/or sweaters. 5) SF Conventions - mix of (2) and (3), probably with the addition of a waistcoat for extra pockets.

Footwear will be "gents walking shoes", trainers (US sneakers) or walking boots dependant on weather underfoot, with the exception of (5) where it's likely to be gents' sandals.

This gives me enough pocket space for separate billfold and credit card wallet, door and car keys, hankerchief, change, book, phone (flip-front; I don't do jPhones), shopping bag...


I could add a "Mini Maglite" to the pocket lumber in #85 if I needed one. Of course, in the Zombie apocalypse, what you really want is the 5x C-cell Maglite; nearly as good as a baseball bat, but less likely to be classed as an offensive weapon just because you have it.


Jeez - remind me to stay off that network.

(My total contract including data is less than that, and it's one that was including the cost of the phone.)


The 5.11 tactical parka.

It's hideous, but there's hardly any centimetre of it that's not made of pockets. There is even a sort of cushion on which you can sit that actually consists in a security jacket (instant from-mate-black-to-fluo-yellow).|+5.11+Tactical+3+in+1+Parka+-+Black/4310ngp.htm


Oh, O2 only charge you for tethering on days when you use it. But if I used it a bunch, I could blow through a month's worth of my mifi's charges in under a week. Hence the mifi. Which usually works in pubs that don't have working wifi.


For Charlie to admit that Bruce Sterling is a mentor translates to a cool event. That being said, I don't believe Wired is a good home for Sterling's blog. Too much censorship. Yes...that could be Sterling's fault, but unless he leaves Wired for possibly greener pastures, we may never know the truth.


I'm suprised nobody has mentioned Miguel Caballero's range of bullet-proof clothing. Urban fashion at it's most protective here:

I do think that we'lll see more of this going forward.


Well this is nice, I thought I was a bit weird for buying trousers from a specificly 'work-wear' site. ie the trousers are pretty similar to the tactical ones (many, strangely shaped, pockets), but designed for builders and couriers rather than soldiers and people who think they should be soldiers (and people who just want trousers with pockets). Also they're quite cheap and really hard wearing. I would plug the site, but I can't remember their name, just search for 'work wear'


At work Levi's 501, shirt or polo shirt, casual jacket and black shoes, often all-black light athletic shoes - one of the best things working in IT has is, no one expects us to use business suits and ties every day. Being an old hand close to 50 I avoid hoodies, t-shirts and sandals, but many young programmers use them as a matter of course.

Out of work I usually prefer 'tactical pants', t-shirt and M-65 jacket. A man can't have too many pockets, specially pockets able to handle relatively bulky items, like a Kindle or a PSP.

Regarding the future, I wonder when (if) we will see light, disposable garments, designed to be used and then discarded. Perhaps 100 years from now they won't dream of reusing their shirts, socks, underwear or silver jumpsuits, no more than we reuse napkins, handkerchiefs or diapers today in rich, developed countries.

Sounds awfully wasteful at first sight, but washing and drying is not free or environmentally friendly. So many millions of washing machines and driers need huge amounts of water and energy daily, and besides items conceived from the start to be used once or twice would in all probability be manufactured using less resources and raw materials.


Sounds awfully wasteful at first sight, but washing and drying is not free or environmentally friendly.

Indeed so. And if you can produce these disposable products without involving washing and/or drying or other water usage in their production, then you might be onto something. But for now, original production uses quantities of water that make mere clothes washing look positively parsimonious. (Farewell Aral Sea, victim of cotton farming.)

Disposable products not only require more material input, they also require more shipping, and they cause more waste.

Reusable diapers (to take the worst possible item to want to wash) at worst aren't particularly worse than disposable ones regarding environmental impact, and at best can actually be better. For anything else, the washing requirement is less. (How messy do your napkins get?)


Maglite or LED lenser? You can do a lot better than that, unless you feel you desperately need the flood/focus capability.
You can certainly get torches of similar size or smaller which are a lot brighter, with more choices of brightness and regulated so you get constant brightness until the batteries die on you.

(My understanding is that LED lenser's are unregulated, so you get a bright light for 5 minutes, then it stars dying. By constrast my 4 7's quark just finished its first AA battery after a year of intermitten use, and it maintained constant brightness up until it really lost it.)

There's a whole world of high performance torches out there, and yes they do cost more than a maglite, but they are also a lot brighter and most are of good quality build. I dropped my quark outside last October and it spent 2 months in snow and ice and worked fine after I found it. Also my large torch is excessively bright, but yet small enough to put into a jacket pocket, unlike a maglite. (In fact it's so bright that I've hard used it since the smaller one is better for personal lighting)


As a climber, I'm suspicious of 5.11's history as stated by Sterling. When I'm rock climbing, the first thing I do is take all the stuff out of my pockets - junk in pockets equals restricted freedom of movement and/or broken item when I wedge my thigh against the side of a crack. When I need to clip my karabiners to something, I'm wearing a harness, and if I need to carry anything non-clippable I'm wearing a rucksack (and, in winter, a jacket with pockets). The description of the US climbing grade system on the "About Us" section is also wrong - YDS grades originally went up to 5.9 (hence Yosemite Decimal System), but now go up to around 5.15a. I've had bad experiences with polycotton clothing, which I've always found to be unpleasant and sweaty in outdoor use. But maybe I've only ever tried the cheap stuff. The 5.11s also appear to lack the most important feature for climbing trousers, namely a diamond-pattern crotch. Here's a legwear discussion from the Reddit climbing forum, for reference: nobody mentions 5.11s.

That said, I'm a huge fan of trousers-with-many-pockets for non-climbing use. My EDC is phone, keys (home, office, bike), wallet, pens, small notepad, multitool, trouser elastic (for use on the bike), used rail tickets (for use as bookmarks, change (in small crocheted bag, for easy removal from pockets and to save wear on pocket lining). I'm currently using a pair of cut-off German Army combat trousers (£20 from my local Army Surplus shop) and a pair of Cordura builder's trousers made by Snickers - the thigh pockets aren't so good as on the combats, but I love the durability and the extra flap pockets hanging off the waistband. My netbook, full-sized paper notepad and extra clothing all live in a rucksack.

In terms of future!clothing, the thing that springs immediately to mind is EPIC silicone-impregnated fabric, used by online outdoor retailer Alpkit to make their wonderful Jeanius waterproof climbing jeans (which I can confirm are good for climbing in - if only they had more pockets for street use...).


When I am ruler of the universe it will be mandatory for skirts and dresses to have at least one pocket!

I don't do trousers due to hip/waist ratio* and finding a summer dress with sleeves and a pocket is like finding gold. Its just so nice to be able to grab a hanky (for sudden hayfever sneezing) quickly without rummaging down my cleavage to find one.

  • Imagine! a woman with a smaller waist than hips! So unheard of that manufacturers ignore us....

I used to have an LED flashlight on my keychain, but now I find that an LED flashlight app on my Android phone does a better job. For climbing/hillwalking/etc, I use a Petzl Tikka LED headtorch. Not the best possible headtorch, but pretty decent for the price.


Charlie, I am deeply disappointed in this entire conversation. Deeply and personally. Alas.

As you know, the answer to your question is simple and clear. It is known in Britain as the leisure suit, but with modern cellphone pockets in the jacket and interior front pants pocket, with a somewhat unmodish but eminently practical (and classically stylish) pleated front.

For true futurism, get it with Cool Effect fabric from Zegna and partial lining in the jacket. (Nanotech! Or so they call it.) Very good in hot weather.

I have, as you know, worn such garb in places where I slept in trucks and have been threatened by people willing to use kinetic energy to kill me. There is rarely need to go the BDU route.

In short, as someone cited by Randy McDonald once said, "The Spanish dress for other people, the English dress for themselves. And it shows." I am mystified, entirely, by this thread, and gravely disappointed that our previous public correspondence on this point has been lost in the ether. The sartorial decline of civilization continues apace, alas.

I suppose I'll add that I spent the weekend with family in Wakefield and Norwood, in the North Bronx, without air conditioning. Dressed in a Cool Effect blazer and slacks. Carrying about as much as Miles listed above. (Sighs deeply.)

Just have to reconcile myself to the fact that most North Americans (and growing numbers of Europeans, but rather fewer Latin Americans) these days don't care much about the esthetic experience they're opposing on those who have to look at them. There are worse things.


"Opposing" should be "imposing." Hello, Freud!


"the story of the Mall Ninja "

Ack! I had to look. Wasn't this the story that nearly made it into Cory Doctorow's "With a Little Help"? (I kid. The book contains much better written Urban Paranoia stories, although the idea of writing such a story as a message board thread is now lodged in my pointy little head.)

The 5.1 Tactical Trousers are right out for me. I just don't like stuff flapping around my legs. On the other hand, I can think of some interesting things to build around a jacket with support for a Personal Area Network.


I find Australian "Drizabone" wax coats very useful out and about, as they have big enough pockets for all my equipment I need for my job.
Laser measuring device.

Two metre folding ruler.

Twenty metre tape measure.

Digital Camera.

Two mobile phones (chocolate bar type)

Large notebook and assorted pencils


I see I'm not the first to mention the Utilikilt, but they do come with pockets; the Workman's model almost satisfies even my pocket fetish, and I'd like the Survivor model. (I've got a more traditional kilt too, but one sporran just won't do it.) They're seen fairly often in the Pacific Northwest, so kilts may be gaining market share. Most of the time I'm wearing rather ordinary slacks, though.

My useful kit includes a 2-AA Maglite and a Victorinox Swisschamp on the belt, as the obvious part. (I've nothing against the Leatherman, but I've been using the Swisschamp since before the Leatherman hit the market.) I carry a four-color Bic pen and a cheap 3x5" notebook (of which there's a large pile in a drawer by now), plus the usual pocket litter of wallet, keys, USB stick, nail clippers, etc.

The duster is catching on here, as I live in a rather rainy climate. There may be little to say about the long coat as a fashion statement, and we'll probably see new variations of it in the future as we already have duster, trenchcoat, etc.


ObSF: Asimov's It’s Such a Beautiful Day, collected in Nightfall and other Stories.

I'm also reminded of the story about Baron Curzon and napkin rings, recounted by Michael "I am a banana" Gove MP here.

I still use cloth handkerchiefs, FWIW: should have listed one among my EDC earlier. Easier to grab than the paper kind (which must be furkled out of packaging) in the event of a sudden sneeze, and they don't run out when you need them most. You get used to washing them quickly enough.


My experience of living in the future is that I buy my clothes from Primark, a dirt-cheap clothing store, owing to being both dirt-poor and fashion-unconscious with regard to myself. Why this is living in the future is that the clothes wouldn't be as cheap without modern shipping. By which I mean containers, which reportedly brought shipping and transport costs down thirty-fold from the days of crates and loose cargoes.

Typically worn by me: jeans, cargo pants or whatever. In the summer, a tee-shirt and sandals; in the winter, a tee, a long-sleeved shirt and a pullover, with a pair of Dr Martens on my feet (currently steel-capped, since they were on sale and in my size). While my ankle was healing from a bad twist, I forewent the DMs and wore a cheap pair of trainers. Footware only goes on when I go out; I make do with bare feet or socks at home.

For pockets, I wear a denim jacket in the summer. If it's terribly hot, or I have too much to carry for my pockets, I carry a satchel, manbag or camera bag. In the winter, a very cheap leather coat I picked up at Primark on sale.

Oh, and a hat. To keep the sun off in summer and the wind and other elements out in the winter. At the moment I sport a peaked cap of some design I don't know the name of; in the coldest days of winter I'll wear a Russian-style fur hat.

Things I carry: wallet, house keys, car keys, change in my trouser pockets; sometimes a phone, compact camera, iPod Touch or Mifi widget in my trouser or jacket pockets. Key fob includes mini wind-up LED torch and USB stick. Satchel might contain camera and accessories, drinks flask, iPad or laptop, rain jacket, notebook or sketchpad, pens, map, etc. Oh, and there's usually a light-weight, folding umbrella in coat or jacket pocket or bag, because this is Britain, and I might get rained on at any time, even in the summer.

I wouldn't know what to do with the forty-odd pockets in Charlie's Fleece. Lose a lot of stuff is my guess, and serendipitously discover it far later.


But your attire would be unacceptable to a generation or two earlier, and certainly not even remotely fashionable/acceptable in earlier periods.

Clothes are just fashion. Some of the current items are just strange, like ties, with little function.

I am not so enamored of the faux military or even apocalyse chic, but what is considered "looking good" varies from generation to generation (indeed from month to month, these days). Given the wide variety of styles available to day, it is a testament to the power of peer pressure of "correct attire" that professional men are so conforming. Perhaps Umberto Eco is correct, suits are the modern knight's armor and therefore need to be recognizable as such.


I did not realize that cricket bats were works of art. I appreciate the lesson in culture. Here in the U.S., bats are treated with very little respect, sadly. E.g., we use them to brain zombies, which really cruds them up.


Cripes, you rich people and your fashions!

I wear blue Levis, mostly 'cuz I'm too lazy to go look for a brand to switch to.

I wear the same no-name sneakers I did a decade and more ago. Every time the heel on the right one blows out, I go get an identical replacement. Sometimes at the store, I'm tempted to shuffle the contents and buy two right ones as if they were a pair, but that would be cheating.


I only wear tactical pants when on a date (Sloggi) ... otherwise it's bog standard M&S black briefs ... freshly laundered in either case


Another person here who thinks of clothing as equipment.

I get my trousers in bulk from Land's End in the US, and Hawkshead in the UK. Very basic black jeans, but better in harsh weather than levis. Berghaus jackets, generally far too big for me, on the principle that in an emergency I can use it as a shelter, it's long enough at the back to give me something to sit on without taking it off, and most importantly I can lend it to larger people if they're trouble. There's not enough pockets though, so I might get one of those fleeces to wear under it.

Merrell shoes do me for everything from urban use to serious climbing, but I used to swear by Bundeswehr paratroop boots. They are a bit heavy for a long walk but they're really tough. For more formal wear I go for Dr Marten's police/postman shoes, the SWB Land Rover of the shoe world.

Bundeswehr parkas are very good - the kind with a removable fleece liner.

Military stuff I find generally too heavy compared to the civilian, even if it is gas, heat, cold, shock and squaddie proof.

While we're talking outward bound equipment, I have a Timex watch with an e-compass that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It's heavy, and horribly inaccurate, to the point of confusing north with south.

The best pocket torch I've found is the Petzl e+ headtorch. It's very small and quite bright, with a red LED option for night vision work.


Cripes, you rich people and your fashions! I wear blue Levis

Sheesh! Levi's are too damn expensive.

It seems that average Stross readers are a thrifty bunch.


I'll put in a little plug for Duluth Trading Company's Ballroom Jeans, at least for people who have to squat or otherwise move. About a decade ago, I preferred chinos to jeans, precisely because you could move in them better.


I have a Scottevest Tropical Jacket (which I've worn almost exclusively as a vest), and while the pockets are certainly handy, I've found that my stuff doesn't fit into it all that naturally, and that it feels awkward once I've got it on unless I'm not making use of more than a few pockets. Plus, it's ended up being warmer than I'd like - I bought it with the intention of replacing my messenger bag, but it hasn't worked out that way in the heat and humidity of an NYC summer.

My requirements for going out and about are as follows:

  • keys (one set for the house, possibly one for the car as well - the house keys have an LED flashlight on them)
  • phone (a small and very out-of-date Nokia at the moment)
  • wallet
  • clip-on sunglasses (and their case, which is nice and flat)
  • pens (usually)
  • notepad (usually)
  • iPod Nano

The keys, phone and sunglasses case normally fit into my pants pockets, so that just leaves the other stuff to go elsewhere. I hate carrying the wallet in my pants, so I either need a jacket or a bag to put it in (creating a nice excuse to use it for the other extras as well).


On the subject of LED keyfobs: I was dismissive of them as well, until James Macdonald posted a link to the "Doug Ritter Special Edition" Photon Freedom Micro. Runs off a pair of coin batteries, boasts power-saving technology and variable-output control, but its best feature is a collar that ensures the light goes out in a proper cone, instead of all around.

Flashlight apps on phones are a mixed bag--in either case, you're holding the flat side out, which for me increases the risk of dropping. Plus, if the app uses the flash-LED and the app-developer didn't do their homework, it'll die in short order(some people with certain Droid models found that out the hard way, on the order of a few seconds).

Also, seconding the handiness of murse/satchels/courier bags on mass transit. Dealing with Seattle's Metro system for many years, the ability to swing the bag around and squeeze through a crowd or nab a seat meant not being left behind at a overcrowded stop. Conversely, there was no end to the number of tourists/twentysomethings with enormous climbing packs who would mill about in the forward handicapped section, preventing anyone else from squeezing by into the only-three-quarters-full back.


In a thousand years, someone's still going to be making a knockoff version of the Chuck Taylor All-Star. They might be made out of unobtanium, and have more processing power than the entire planet does right now, but they're going to look and fit the same.

Ditto for at least one version of Levi's blue jeans.

There are some nice keyfob LEDs out there - you can get one from Energizer for about $7 that's made of metal and will last for for months on the same battery - bright enough to read by, too. For that matter, there are so many different kinds of small LED lights for such low prices that you should probably have them scattered around the house.


I'll put in a plug for Doug Ritter's stuff in general. I've got his photon freedom light and I love it. I've even used it to chase a deer out of the yard (on strobe). His knives are also quite good, although not quite as versatile as a Swiss Army knife or multitool.


5.11s for me — and not just because I spend too much time pulling floor tiles and racking servers to wear any of those frou-frou clothes. (If I had to wear a suit, I'd have to acquire a collection like the ones Dean Stockwell wore on Quantum Leap.)

My EDC stuff: keychain, wallet, hand sanitizer, eyeglass cleaner, microfibre cloth, CRKT M16-12LE knife, SureFire E1B Backup flashlight, HTC Evo "4G" and SOG PowerLock multitool. (Geared pliers FTW.)

122: 108 - Here in the UK, we do play "baseball". However, we call it "rounders", and it's normally only played by Year 1..7 schoolchildren of both sexes, and Year 8..12 females. Accordingly, we're well aware that the "baseball bat" is a simple wood turning. OTOH a cricket bat is a piece of engineering art . 112 - There are more important things in life than "designer labels", like new SF books, and attending SF cons.

Actually I don't think disposable garments would be necessarily 'greener', the opposite is more probably in my opinion. But they could be if manufacturing methods, design and material were different - just like disposable napkins and handkerchiefs are cellulose, not cloth. And even if they were environmentally unfriendly I think light disposable socks, for example, will be an instant hit if they are comfortable to use and reasonably priced. Just like disposable contact lenses...

@Noel Maurer

Regarding "The Spanish dress for other people, the English dress for themselves. And it shows." I'm Spanish myself, and I can attest I was very surprised the first time I visited Britain, many years ago, because it seemed to me British people dressed either better than us, very smartly - above all at work - or incredibly badly, with almost no one between the extremes.


I've owned a Utilikilt for nearly a decade now, and it's not a bad kilt. I've also recently picked up a kilt from Stumptown Kilts (they're about a ten-minute walk from my home), which has some interesting features, like a deep pocket in the front apron of the kilt, and separately-sold pockets that can be snapped on wherever you feel the need to put them. The fabric is a bit thicker than my Utilikilt, so it's actually pretty sweaty on hot summer days, but it's also quite a bit less expensive, so that's definitely a plus. (I could buy two for the price of one Survival Utilikilt, and their snap closure offers more flexibility for fluctuating waistlines.)

That being said, I'm such a cheapskate with regard to pants that I've got a fairly wide variety of configurations, so I've factored the contents of my pocket down to bare essentials: wallet, Jesusphone, keys, lip goo, eyeglass-cleaning cloth (I'm prone to eyestrain-induced headaches, so if the sun's up, I'm wearing sunglasses), pocketknife, earbud headphones (in a small drawstring bag so they don't get completely trashed).

Secondary essentials (headache meds, titanium spork, asthma inhaler, and so on) go inside a small zippered bag, which in turn gets tossed into my main bag. There's a tertiary bag for various USB plugs and wall-warts; using the "bags in bags" system makes it less of a pain to switch bags when I feel the need. I've been on a lifelong quest for the One True Bag(tm), but I've actually been quite happy with my REI Urban Sling bag for over a year now -- my only complaints are that (a) the smaller vertical pockets aren't terribly useful, and (b) the designers seem a bit confused about which pocket is for the water bottle and which one is for the umbrella. (When I carry an umbrella, I actually stuff it into the "zippered water bottle pocket" and clip the wrist strap to the bag with a cheap carabiner; the elasticized pocket fits a wider variety of water bottle diameters and keeps them in better as well.)

As for shoes, I do have a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and while I can't say I like them for everyday wear (living in Portland, Oregon, I like shoes that keep my feet dry when exposed to trace amounts water), I absolutely adore them for hiking and casual boulder-scrambling, of the variety one does on a short trail to a waterfall.


I'm equally happy in jeans or (rarely these days) wearing a suit, which meant at first I thought this topic was irrelevant to me. Then I remembered...

I won't buy a pair of trousers (US = pants) unless I've tried them on AND performed a head-high side kick in them, to ensure my karate techniques are not compromised.

When it comes to shoes, I make sure the soles are rubber with a good grip in wet outdoor conditions, but not such a tough grip that it prevents rotating on the ball of the foot.

And when I'm wearing them, I double-knot the laces.

prepared ≠ paranoid


... I should add for the knowledgeable, like Dirk, that I know high kicks are not the first choice when everything goes to hell. But you react the way you train, and I whack in high roundhouse kicks pretty hard.

I wouldn't deliberately use a high side kick, but it tests the range of motion and it's more discreet in a changing room. :-)


Ooops... I meant 'more probable', not 'more probably'. Sorry.


Plus a high kick is one of those moves that makes people who've only ever encountered proper martial arts by watching action movies go "oh sh!t" and back off if anything's going to!


Since you bring it up first, I think you mean "Actually I don't think disposable garments would be necessarily 'greener', the opposite is more probably in my opinion", in which case the best English would be "Actually I don't think disposable garments would be necessarily 'greener', the opposite is more probably true in my opinion".

More generally, I don't think there's anyone here who would make fun of you for a typo or a grammatical error unless it turned your post into something funny, like say a .


Levis are overpriced and the 501 fit looks dreadful on most people.

I bought a pair of GSTAR Japanese denims when they first got to Leeds and wore them to death (I actually took them to north-west Australia and wore them literally in the saddle). I don't like their current line much - too much pseudo-patchy faff.

I nearly bought a new pair of Carhartt Klondikes at the weekend in the Japanese denim and what they call black (actually just really, really overdye). Spendy, but my last pair has lasted two years. Instead, for more fashion-y purposes, I went to Uniqlo and spent thirty quid on their Japanese overdye denim in their most aggressive Shoreditch spacesuit fit.

I'm currently looking for a really good pair of cords - specification as follows. 33x32 size. Tobacco/very dark khaki. Jumbo cord cloth. Tapered leg fit. Any ideas? The nearest match so far are the 1980s Lois ones favoured by football thugs, but they're hard to obtain, only produced in short runs these days and the shape isn't ideal.

As far as combats go, when they were still acceptable, I had a couple of pairs of German para surplus. Bluish-field grey, unusually sharp fit rather than baggy, covered buttons, one big patch pocket. Silvermans occasionally has them in stock.


Nothing wrong with a high kick as long as the floor isn't slippery and the opponent is moving backwards at the time its executed. About the only time I ever had a confrontation with a local teen gang a demo "air kick" was sufficient to convince them that more than me was going to hospital if things went bad.


And I should add that I have done high kicks in the Wrong Trousers. The audience was well amused by the ripping sound and my arse hanging out afterwards.


#112 - There are more important things in life than "designer labels", like new SF books, and attending SF cons.

Absolutely. I should have said that I include myself among the thrifty, but thought that was obvious from my earlier comments.


In the interests of "full disclosure" I suppose I should admit to owning an "O'Neill Sportswear" tee-shirt, but:- 1) It was a present. 2) O'Neill is my real World surname.


RE: 52 @Jaimie, hats.

As a spectacles wearer I have to have hats with brims, otherwise the glare bothers me a lot. Having said that, I have three hats I love to bits:

  • A Tilly winter hat, heavy wool tweed with a brim that has fold-down ear flaps and even a forehead flap. Living in NorthEast USA, it is a must for winter time.

  • An old vietnam-era boonie hat for hiking, yard work, anything where I want to keep sweat/rain/sun out of my eyes and don't require sartorial splendor of any kind.

  • A Stetson Gunclub wool felt "cowboy" hat for being out in public when in sun or rain. Not really a typical cowboy style, but not a fedora either. Wearing that until I save up for an Akubra "Banjo Peterson" from Austalia.



Isidro @121; WRT recyclable clothing, I give you the 1960s version of the Clothing Of The Future: Paper Clothes.

Sam Livingston-Gray @ 122 One last comment on kilts from me. As I said, I don't care for Utilikilts (imo they're hideous), and am not familiar with Stumptown. If they look more traditional they might be interesting. I've been wanting to make a solid color Regimental style kilt ever since I got a good look at one at the Black Watch Museum in Perth, but haven't been able to find suitable/affordable fabric. It had a large pocket on the front apron, like you describe. Personally I have nothing against a sporran, I don't generally carry too much, and it can be useful in avoiding embarrassing situations. I should add that I don't wear my kilt more than a couple times a year.

Another Old Scottish Saying (that I made up--last one. Promise): The bigger the sporran, the less behind it.


Speaking of sporrans, a nice alternative is something like this:


I can't remember who manufactured them but the E-Wear clothing line was futuristic and really cool. The concepts have since been .... acquired ... by other manufacturers. Except the charging mechanism based on piezoelectrics was pretty neat.

PS. As a Scot I am offended by Utilikilts. Yanks have no culture. That is all.


I have a leather man-purse for my crap (which isn't actually all that much), and dress for style else-wise. I prefer to have well-fitting jeans, a dress shirt (or a T-shirt during summer) than giant pants with hundreds of clinking objects in them. I despise all branding, and you will have to search me very closely to find any brand names. It's quite hard to find well-made clothes without giant logos on them. I'm quite fond of wearing a decent blazer (usually with a uni T-shirt not tucked into pants) and leather business shoes to most occasions where it's not outright impractical (such as sports). Certainly no sneakers, ever.

There is no such thing as being overdressed, it's just everyone else who looks bad.


A place worth visiting if you're in London is Cyberdog at Camden Lock Market:

Expensive and trendy - teenagers love it (esp the girls)


Actually, I am middle aged with lower back pain and I love my North Face laptop-carrying backpack to death. The key is to actually use the chest strap --- it moves all the weight forward and off the position that hurts my back. Close to miraculous.


@ JamesPadraicR: if you don't like the look of the Utilikilt, you probably won't like the the Stumptown Kilts design either. It's very much in the same vein: heavy cotton cloth, sewn-in pleats (it's box-pleated, which I don't like quite as much), external pockets, rivets and snaps all over. They have a website with plenty of photos.


I have intermittently frequented the Cyberdog mothership since the early to mid nineties; their store in Camden Market is well worth a visit for the retrofuturistic art, even if you have no intention of buying anything!

Alas, I'm about 20 years too old and 20 kilos to heavy to be their target demographic, although some of the tee shirts fit ...


Every time I drop in I wonder whether their staff suffer from occupational hearing loss...


re cyberdog. i have a long sleeve top of theirs with tribal raised bits on it (circa ermm '91-ish?) and I've worn it to bits, almost litterally. Got it in Afflecks in Manchester. They still inhabit there but it's been a while since i felt able to wander into it and look at stuff without feeling slighly ludicrous.. you're right about the deafness.. but the same is probably true of most of the Afflecks denizens. the close fitting clingy-thing is a terrible thing to behold these days..


I need a flashlight only once every few weeks. When I do, I use the free LED Light iPhone app.

I used it at a barbecue this weekend when it got dark enough we couldn't see the food. It was a hit.


PS. As a Scot I am offended by Utilikilts. Yanks have no culture. That is all.

Then you would not have enjoyed this exchange at the supermarket the other day:

Shopper: Hey, that's one of them, uh, whatsit...pants? Me: Utilikilt. Shopper: 'Cause yer, uh, Swedish!


To drag the conversation up away from the gutter a little, what about hats? We're coming into winter again (maybe not in the US, but Ireland gets a head-start on that season and Scotland, well, I don't think it ever really gives up on Winter :D ) and last winter in Ireland taught me that apart from cleats and snow shovels, I need a decent hat. I have a mountain cap for when it gets really bad, but day-to-day it's overkill but a bucket hat just doesn't cut it really, I need a larger brim to keep the rain and snow out of the back of my neck. Has anyone tried the Tilley rain hat or the Bailey Dalton hat and are they worth the ridiculous amount of money they're charging?


From late fall to early spring I live in my Filson Mackinaw cruiser, plenty of pockets and just the right weight of wool for the pacific northwest. Oddly enough after 8 years I'm starting to wear on the elbows from driving of all things.


Hats are generally unnecessary in winter in my opinion - they blow off, they have large gaps and can get in the way. I just buy clothing with hoods. In the case of my walking waterproofs, I specifically bought a jacket with a large, deep hood, so as to stop windblown snow getting in my eyes.

On utilikilts, speaking as a purebred Scot, I have no problem with them, given the monkeying around with the basic idea that has taken place over the last 600 years.

Now, decent gloves is also a little tricky. PLain old leather driving ones are quite useful (especially when stewarding at Beltane) but insulated mittens are great in really bad weather.


Plus the diapers can be made in places with plenty of water, and then used in an arid area.

A Stetson Gunclub wool felt "cowboy" hat for being out in public when in sun or rain.

I reserve my wool Stetson for the rain; when it rains pretty much continuously for 6 to 8 months out of the year, as it does here in Portland, you damn well need a hat with a brim, or a hood with a visor, or all you're doing is transferring the water from the top of your head to back or side of your neck. I've had the Stetson now for about 15 years, and it's just become nicely worn in; I wouldn't be surprised if it lasts another 15 years.


Been experimenting with barefoot running myself. According to the guy I read, the abrasive surfaces are good practice for proper form, the idea is to run without letting your soles slide. Any blisters that develop show you where you're doing it wrong.

I can do 3-4 km now without injury and a decent turn of speed, but the idea is to improve my gait while wearing the expensive cushions that have given me the beginning of plantar fascitis and knee pain. So far I'm cautiously optimistic, and it's been an interesting experience.


Yes, this. (For an international blog hosted in the UK, we have an unusual number of people here from Portland Oregon USA.) Rain gear is important; while the weather rarely gets seriously cold, we get quite a lot of precipitation. I've got a wide-brim hat and duster combination that keeps me mostly dry, which is about as much as one can ask for here.


I run in sandals. Its the closest to barefoot given my dislike of the copious amounts of dogshit in the park. Running on tarmac causes unnaturally hard impacts


Well, a significant amount of science fiction and Sci Fi occurs (real-World physical place, not $off-World_setting) in the Pacific NorthWest, so finding a significant community from Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia would seem reasonable to me.


Wasn't there a Japanese astronaut on a two-week shuttle mission that trialled some new biocidal underwear by not changing them for the duration of the flight? Yarg.

Another fascinating technology is P2i's ion-mask plasma treatment. Permanent waterproofing for anything...

Kim Stanley Robinson's thoughts on jeans as only being suitable for heated/air-conditioned office work struck a chord for me... Fortunately, I work in a comfortable office.

My prejudices come from non-summer weekends in the Scottish hills; it will rain, dark comes early, visibility is not guaranteed, the temperature will yo-yo to either side of freezing (often very quickly), and you'd better be prepared. While it's completely inappropriate for indoors, Buffalo clothing is everything they say (shirt, trousers, and the full five-season sleeping bag). There are various copies by Montane and Snugpak, so the design has legs. When you see the serious mountain rescue teams wearing it, you know it's good stuff.

At the moment, I'm a sucker for Scandinavian gear. I wear a nice Seeland hunting jacket; reinforcement where it needs it, waterproof but non-rustling, plenty of pockets in the right places. It gets a bit heavy when I've got everything in it, but it saves me from the abuse I got from the wife for always having my rucksack either on my shoulder or at my feet. She never carries a handbag, and we have two children under ten, so it's me that carries wet wipes, tissues, pens and paper for short-notice entertainment. That, along with the torch, whistle, lighter, Leatherman, and phone...

I've still got my old army gloves (goretex-lined, and if it gets cold I wear an extra pair of thin contact gloves inside them).

Seeing as John was talking about "prepared", you might consider some glass-handling gloves as your liners or contact gloves. Kevlar weave, won't stop a point, might stop an edge.


Currently, in the rain I wear a black Barmah Foldaway Bronco leather hat I bought in Melbourne and in the sun I wear a black Greg Norman wide brim woven paper hat I bought in Charlotte. Now autumn has arrived, I'll probably start wearing my black wide-brim felt hat, and the cheap and cheerful paper Panama (whose major shortcoming is not being black) will be packed away.

I have coming up a dozen hats, and I feel naked going outside without one on. When travelling somewhere that may be hot, the Foldaway or a felt hat will be in the case and the Norman on my head, since the Norman really doesn't pack well.

I don't like stiff hats such as bowlers or top hats, or totally floppy ones like the Tilley. I don't disapprove of them, I just don't enjoy wearing them.


Heh. Computer Exchange Ltd used to be the worst offender for noise level. So much so that I used to pause outside and put a set of ear defenders on before entering the shop....


Sandals? The floppy kind? I tried running in cheap slippers, kind of like the ones Bruce Lee wore before I decided to go fully barefoot, it did strengthen my feet a little (Or at least I got some new and unfamiliar aches that seemed to indicate underused muscles being asked to work) but I would recommend the full barefoot experience as it really does teach you to pay attention to your feet. Accidentally stepping on dog doody isn't really an option since you have to really pay attention to where you're putting your feet. And the idea is to learn to run without jarring impacts, regardless of surface.


Is there any way of buying the multi-pocket jacket systems in the UK rather than US mail order? Being tall and slightly tubby, I'm slightly loath to spend that much, (then pay non-refundable import tax and VAT and tax and handling fee and tax and then tax) without being able to try it on to see if it'll zip up....


Fishing jackets are quite cheap. For example:

Mine cost less than £20


I wear this hat when I'm out walking for exercise, and a billed cap when I'm just out and the sun is bright. I love hats, but I have an unusually hard, hard-to-fit head, so hats that fit me are hard to find.


Martin #155 - yes, Buffalo shirts are great. I've still got my dads one somewhere, an early version of the super 6 with the crotch strap - it survived him wearing it then me, and is now probably 21 or 22 years old. It was great in first year at uni to turn up to the mountaineering club meet and find that half a dozen others were wearing buffalo shirts, it made me feel I was wearing the right item of clothing.


"(I've been wearing it for a few months now (eeew) and am about to consult the user manual for washing instructions — sorry, sanitary maintenance protocol. Wish me luck.)"

Indeed. Love the feel of it, but it's quite easy to ruin microfiber fleece. Also -- and this is particularly an issue for me in that I own a large German Shepherd x St. Bernard mutt who somehow sheds more mass than she consumes in kibble -- microfiber fleece attract animal hair like few other fabrics.


Charlie, how is the SeV build quality? I find them interesting, but the comments in their forums are rather disturbing.

It would be nifty if you could get Tom Bihn to make jackets (they make great bags, made in Seattle, exceptional build quality). There is always Aerostich, but their stuff is very motorcycle focused (also made in the USA).

One virtue to the fancier lights (such as the 4sevens Quark mentioned above), is they go very dim, which I find to be nice for not ruining my night vision when indoors, I have a 2 lumen (on low) MiNi123 from them, it is a nice keychain light, and on high puts out more than 150 lumens (I got the warm white, which has better color discrimination than most LED lights).


When I got engaged and threw a party, my brother and I ended up mock-sparring while the DJ played Kung-Fu Fighting... That time it was my bro with the too-tight trousers and the sudden air-conditioning.

Ah, memories. :-)


In Shorinji Kempo there are quite often SK wedding ceremonies where there is a formal demonstration called Embu as part of the event. Me and my training partner Douglas performed Embu at the wedding of a friend of mine, Alan Collins, in (IIRC) 1993. This is the pic taken on the day of the two of us (I'm on the right):

I don't think there's any video of us doing Embu, but if you have not seen it before this is a good example:

And finally, this last bit of the old BBC series might be of interest. It was filmed before I first went to Honbu in 1985, just after the founder died and sometime after I joined the org:


I like many others keep it pretty low-tech still. Shirt with a pocket (Hawaiian preferably) and a pair of jeans. That combo has enough pockets to handle my daily loadout (Wallet, car keys, phone, sunglasses, pocket knife, pen, comb, and random pocket change). If I'm travelling I take along one of those backpacks with the padded laptop sleeve. The dozen pouches it has can safely carry a netbook, e-reader, MP3 player, the various pieces of charging kit for each, and still have enough room for three days worth of clothes (discounting what gets transported on hangers) and travel essentials (medication, deodorant, etc).

For coats I usually sport an ill-fitting well-worn trench-coat. It needs to be replaced but I've found that one in my (rather large) size is a rare unicorn indeed.

170: 165 - Have you tried vacumning or using masking tape to defur the relevant jackets? Charlie shares accomodation with 2 feline overlords, so will be well aware of that problem! 167 - Don't say things like that without giving us all an earworm warning first!!

Well, I share a home with two short-hair cats, so I may have a less severe dose of the problem.

And #1 technique for keeping animal hair off of microfleece is to hang the fleece up when not wearing it.

(Washing the SeV 5.0 fleece in accordance with the instructions worked fine; the only gotcha is to avoid tumble driers, so it takes rather a long time to dry. Airing cupboard for 48 hours did the trick.)


Hanging up clothes. I hear that's a thing now. I'll have to try it.


The Macabi Skirt:

They are wonderful. Lots of handy pockets. Three lengths to choose from. Easy to wear with a belt if you want one, or go without. The convert-to-pants-or-shorts seems less useful than they make it out to be, but simply having functional skirts is enough for me.


Haha that's funny, I wear the same trousers, they're damn good, much better than the saggy baggy unstretchy combats.


I personally am awaiting the tube/scarf/dress thing that Gibson describes in his recent novels. I doubt it has a name, so I'm calling it The Cayce for now. But the moment I read about it, I wanted one. In fact, I wanted a lot of them, in multiple textures and colours.


In the US, a folio is frequently used as a shortcut for portfolio -- usually a carrier with a lot of the person's work, like graphs, images, designs, etc. If it's really folio without the port, then it usually has to do with books or publishing.


I'm a very large woman and my waist is smaller than my hips. I see a lot of regularly-sized women who also have waists that are smaller than their hips. If, by chance, you're more like me, have a look at my friend Stef's list.


What's the picture on your shirt?


I have several hats, all for weather purposes, from a straw fedora to a bright red down-filled hat with ear flaps (think of Elmer Fudd). I used to have a lot of fashion hats, too, but after the first stroke, my head was too large for them and now they're too much trouble. (Yes, I know, it's strange.)


I have insulated leather gloves.


I love my 5.11 tactical pants!

My science fiction on Hafnium based power cells


I think it's a Judge Dredd T-shirt the kids got me as a present a few years back. You shouldn't read much into what I wear - it's largely determined by free/cheapest and whether I have run out of clean clothes that day. The jacket was a gift from Fiona. Boots were my choice (Magnum Panther - v good) and those crap trousers were on offer at Tesco. Black because it can go longer without washing (unless it smells).


I like my RedCanoe for t-shirts and tops and tilly endurables for all else. I won't participate in a zombie apocalypse without my tilley hat.


I was just wondering -- I couldn't see what it was.


Not easy to see in that photo. On a different day it might have been my Star Wars T shirt, or Batman, or some freebie I picked up at a trade show. Or even my "Remote Viewing A-Team" exclusive yellow shirt (only a handful ever produced). However, they were all in the laundry basket.

I did have a couple I really liked, but they got worn out. One had a picture of a wolf on it, and the other was a British Bulldog with Union Flag - very Oi! although I don't think I ever got to wear it with any boots and my hair was too long to look authentic.


I'm large enough that I only have one t-shirt. It's from Minicon 40 with Pratchett as GoH:

Look at the Minicon 40 picture. It says they're sold out, and at the con, we had to take pre-orders and buy more and ship. After the con we got another batch and let people know and they all sold out. (I ran the volunteers desk, which usually has the sale stuff on it, too.)


Rain hats: the most serious one I've ever used is Outdoor Research's Seattle Sombrero. They're hideous, made of Gore-Tex, and work well enough that one can run in pouring rain and it'll keep water off your glasses.

The other clothing item (and one that I'm astonished that no-one has mentioned) is actually an old one, updated: wool. Icebreaker (NZ) was the company that introduced me to the new wool: breathable, doesn't itch, is comfortable over a wider temperature range than any synthetic, and doesn't stink even after being hiked in for days. It smelled like a shirt that's been worn, sure--but not like Satan's armpit, which synthetics all seem to eventually.


"PS. As a Scot I am offended by Utilikilts. Yanks have no culture. That is all."

As someone of Scottish descent (see, I too can cite irrelevant tribal characteristics!), I consider Utilikilts to be fantastic.


to return to the "clothing of the future" question:

quite definitely, pick features and let us measure you semi-custom made, at least for women's wear.

The lack of complaints by the guys about not finding anything that actually fits is a bit surprising.

I'm with 'c' at 100: if the largest womens' jeans you can get at a "we have jeans for every size" shop won't fit halfway up your thigh, but could wrap your waist roughly three times, it's a pretty good indication that the designers never saw a woman who wasn't near anorexic, and extrapolated from portly men.


I was disappointed to discover the complete lack of high technology in some clothing that someone I met was very pleased to have acquired recently. The brand name, Superdry, and the cost of it lead me to assume that the product had a "super" ability to dry, for example during sweaty althetic activity and after it had been washed.

But no, it was just another brand name that didn't signify anything particular.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on September 4, 2011 11:28 AM.

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