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- Price $228 at westernrise.com
Minimalism is not an end but a means to an end. To attain that end, minimalism is not a task that you can complete, but a philosophy that you have to actively include in your decisions and life. Becoming a minimalist is one thing, but staying a minimalist is another.
Like the inches I put on my waistline, I've slacked off quite a bit in keeping my closet intentional. Auditing my wardrobe, I've found that it is filled with clothing that doesn't fit or I don't like as much.
Going for strong styles, like the Alpha Industries L-2B Loose Bomber Jacket, makes it hard to create a capsule wardrobe. Styles like these portray a specific style, reducing versatility and the chance to pull out an outfit that works effortlessly.
With my review of the Western Rise AirLoft Hooded Jacket, I've started to appreciate the timelessness of Western Rise's products, reminiscent of more technical versions of Uniqlo's classic pieces. Western Rise has always excelled with timeless styles paired with high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
The Western Rise Meta Shell looks like another entry that can be a mainstay in my wardrobe. Western Rise introduces the Meta Shell as a sleek and stylish alternative to traditional rain jackets, departing from the bulky and uncomfortable norm.
The Meta Shell aims to provide a solution that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Let's take a look.
There are two types of shell jackets—hard and soft. Hard shells protect you from rain and snow with technical fabric like GORETEX. Soft shells are stretchier and more breathable but offer less protection compared to hard shells.
The Meta Shell, a soft-shell jacket, distinguishes itself by adopting a minimalist, matte black color, exuding sophistication and understated elegance. The clean silhouette and subdued taped seams contribute to a softer, hoody-like aesthetic, setting it apart from other rain jackets.
The jacket comes in black, navy, and blue grey. I obviously have the black version. Every detail is in black, down to the sleeve fasteners and zippers. The only gripe is the blue tint to the black fabric, common in technical fabrics challenging to dye to a true black.
The details themselves are minimalistic as well. The zipper, when fastened, has a clean tape-seamed look with minimal hints of a zipper. The zipper pull itself is small to limit attention to it. Even the metal part of that small zipper is black, which I thought was a nice touch.
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I especially love the look of the sleeve fasteners that kind of look like a black button cell battery. Despite its simplicity, the Meta Shell‘s execution makes it visually appealing.
At 6 ft and about 198 lbs, I went for the size large. I was poising it for use as a light jacket in the malls of Singapore which usually have their AC blasting. I've lost about 22 lbs over the past few months which influenced me to size down.
The shell fits perfectly, with the arm length coming down to exactly my wrist. I was even able to layer it over the Outlier Hard/co Merino Hoodie, with a snug but not tight fit.
However, the issue is the length. It is about an inch shorter than I like and any base or mid-layer peeks out at the bottom. I thought that the XL would have been a more versatile and overall better choice if I didn't want to limit the situations I could wear it.
XL is my regular size, so my recommendation is to go true to size and size up if you are in between sizes.
Meta Cloth is a custom fabric produced by Western Rise. Branded custom fabrics are marketing speak referring to collaboration with a technical fabric company. Clothing companies rarely develop their fabrics, usually basing them on existing ones with adjustments to make them custom.
The Meta Cloth has 3 layers: stretch knit polyester, a matte face on the outside, polyurethane membrane resisting wind and rain in the middle, and polyester jersey on the inside, soft for comfort and wicking moisture. Each layer is 4-way stretch, allowing stretch in any direction.
While this means that the fabric won't restrict the direction of stretch, the way that the jacket is seamed together will still determine the points of tension you feel when you stretch.
I designed a thing.
I found a 100 year old company that would create these heirloom quality canisters for me. They are handmade and will keep your tea leaves, coffee beans or anything that you need dry for years to come.
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The Meta Shell employs CMZ zippers instead of the conventional YKK, which, while functional, diverges from the industry norms.
The water-resistant reverse coil zipper on the main closure ensures protection against the elements, with lockable zippers and fabric welts on the side pockets. The magnetic snap fasteners on the cuffs offer a secure and tactile closure but mostly win my heart with their aesthetics.
The Meta Shell is surprisingly comfortable, not just on the inside, but even to the touch on the outside. The outer fabric is smooth and feels almost suede-like.
The jacket is relatively light and seems like it would be fine for temperatures as low as 59ºF (15ºC). It would also be a great jacket for you maniacs who run in the rain. Tried it once, never again.
Western Rise designed it to be a rain jacket that doesn't feel like a trash bag, which some, like the Tilak Vega SD Jacket feel like. Sure enough, it feels substantial and feels more like a cotton sweatshirt than a crinkly technical jacket.
The slimness of the jacket causes it to ride up your waist with movement. This causes a bulge in the midsection, giving an impression of a belly. Not that I don't have one. You can even see this on some of the product images on the site.
The jacket folds into its interior back pocket, providing a convenient and stylish carrying option. This is an interesting concept, but it doesn't give you too much capacity and I would regard it as more of a way to neatly store your jacket.
The zipper of that pocket works on either side, which I thought was pretty nifty
Unlike some foldable bags which can be tricky to do so, the sling is spacious which makes it easy to fold into. The result is a basic, but usable sling that has a front pocket and space left in the main compartment where the jacket is.
The strap on the string can't be removed, which I felt was a pity, since it would get in the way when you just want to store it into your backpack. What's worse is that the sling does show through the jacket when you are wearing it. While it is hard to notice, it might be a bummer for those looking for Veilance-level cleanliness in a jacket's silhouette.
Luckily, the hood bungee does contribute to the clean look. It doesn't dangle unsightly and can be easily found even in the dark with its intuitive placement.
There are two zippered hand pockets. These are suitably placed, making it very natural to slip my hands into the comfortable interior. They are great to have your EDC since you can secure them with zippers. If you do forget to zip them, they will likely fall out pretty easily.
There is a pocket on the interior of the wearer's left chest that's great for your phone.
The Meta Shell offers a distinctive approach to rain jackets, rethinking conventional style and functionality. Its sleek design, coupled with unique features like the self-contained sling, makes it stand out.
However, certain issues, such as the non-removable sling strap's noticeable presence and limited packability compared to traditional options, should be considered.
Ultimately, Western Rise successfully delivers a rain jacket that excels in both appearance and performance, making it a compelling choice for those seeking a stylish and reliable option.