Clothes horse

On our trip to Minnesota, I got a lot of wear out of a Patagonia Capilene 4 top. I bought it (on sale, and after helpful consultation with a knowledgeable Patagonia phone rep) to replace an ancient, superb, now sadly raffish (okay, ratty) Activist Fleece, the only picture of which I’ve got is from this memorable winter stroll up Mt. Willard (the easiest walk for the biggest scenic payoff in the Whites) with H in early 1999. (I’ve just noticed she’s wearing an even older Stretch Synchilla…which she’s still got, still wears, and which still looks good.)

What I liked about both these pieces is that they were great in the mountains, and also really fine day-to-day sweaters. The rep warned that Patagonia no longer makes anything that covers both of these bases as I like them covered, and the Cap 4 actually doesn’t do quite what I’d hoped. It’s lighter than the Activist, blocks less of the wind, and, as I’d feared, isn’t cut and doesn’t stretch to go over street clothes. But it works wonderfully well on its own terms as a layering piece or as an outer layer over light inners. It’s even got a cool little Napoleon pocket that my glasses fit into—a major attribute. I’m thinking of adding it to my already extensive Challenge hotel child wardrobe.

Scotland is making calls on my naturally elegant sense of style that neither France nor Italy ever has.

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