Like a timeless breeze, Windbreakers are back

April 04, 1996|By Valli Herman | Valli Herman,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

It's deceptively simple. Just a short, boxy jacket with a front zipper, often cut from a tightly woven, windproof cloth.

But the golf jacket, or if you prefer the trademarked term, Windbreaker, is poised to be the signature jacket of menswear 1996. It returns to prominence on the heels of other great early '60s classics -- flat-front khaki pants, madras plaids, Hush Puppies and bowling shirts. It promises to be the all-purpose replacement for the blue-jean jacket and the dressier option for guys who can be casual walking into the office.

While some designers offer faithful reproductions in cotton poplin or nylon, many others couldn't resist an update. Richard Tyler made one from laminated tropical-weight wool. His look pairs it with pin-striped pants, a V-neck sweater and white loafers. John Bartlett made his two-tone, with contrasting-color sleeves to go with flat-front pants.

The jacket showed up ready for the go-go in see-through vinyl or laminated nylon. With racing stripes, it takes on race-car-driver slickness, in black leather, white leather or lightweight nylon.

Although most of the jackets are made for casual wear, some are decidedly dressier. Mondo di Marco's zip-front jacket is a water repellent olefin-coated cotton; the fake beaver fur button-on collar is optional. With versions in pin-striped navy linen or madras wool, Barry Bricken envisions his as the top half of a casual suit that can be worn with matching trousers.

Mr. Bricken, like many menswear designers, will offer Windbreaker-style jackets in heavier fabrics, such as camel's hair, for their coming fall collections.

In 1972, the jacket got its legal name when Windbreaker was registered as a trademark. A similar jacket is called the Windcheater. Like Kleenex Windbreaker is still legally protected even though it's often used as a generic term.

Pub Date: 4/04/96

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