I have been a huge fan of Rydale Clothing ever since I spotted them at the Essex Young Farmers Show a few years back and invested in a fleece gilet. Since then I have been a loyal customer buying shirts, gilets, jumpers and more from their great website www.rydale.com
Rydale were lovely enough to gift me one of their new Huggate Overhead Fleeces, which I have been wearing for the past week, putting it through its paces in regards to practicality, design, affordability and wearability. Here’s what I thought…
Firstly I was really impressed at how warm this fleece keeps you, it isn’t super bulky so I thought it would let the chill in – I was wrong! I do really feel the cold so I am always on the look out for clothing that doesn’t require you to wear umpteen layers underneath just to stop yourself freezing. This fleece is certainly enough with just a vest underneath, I had no need for my thermals even when I was out and about and at home with the fire on it was too hot, if anything! There are also two large pockets on the front of the fleece, which are perfect for a set of keys or mobile phone, plus nothing falls out of them because you can zip them shut.
I have so far put the fleece through a 30c wash once because I wanted to see if it kept its shape and didn’t lose the finish of the fabric. Any farm clothing is washed a lot and often the reviews I read only include the person wearing it once and not washing it! Good news, the fleece was unchanged after washing and even better news, for lazy people like me, it didn’t need ironing.
Personally, I think this fleece is too nice to wear on the farm so I didn’t really put it through it’s paces with regards to durability BUT that is not the fleece’s fault, I would just rather keep this nice for occasions where my overalls and steelies aren’t in the dress code! I cannot see the garment being particularly weak in any areas however, the seams, hems and zips all seem strong and previous Rydale items that I have bought have all lasted me for years.
Overall practicality is a 10/10 as I cannot fault it. Warm, washable and useful.
The surprising thing I found with this fleece, is how smart it is. You could quite easily wear this to an important meeting (I wore mine to my NFU AGM with a collared shirt underneath – also Rydale) or you could just as easily wear it with wellies walking the dog. I think choosing the ‘Berry’ colour added to its versatility, perhaps the other darker shades would see it better used as a casual garment though.
Overall wearability 10/10 it suits pretty much any occasion in my world.
This isn’t the cheapest fleece on the market and its RRP is £49.99 but it is on the Rydale website for £40 currently. I am a tight git so I personally wouldn’t pay that for a fleece that I would simply wear on the farm and no where else but as I mentioned above, this fleece has far more uses than that and I am really impressed by it. I think compared to other country clothing brands the price is simply unbeatable. If you went to Schoffel for a similar fleece you could easily pay 4 times this amount, which just shows you what people are prepared to pay when they’re not me! Having now had the trial of the fleece I would without a doubt buy another and would know that my £40 had been spent well.
Overall affordability 9/10
Attention to detail on this garment is very apparent. The little details have really been thought about. My two favourite details are the collar and the back pull cord – I will tell you why. The pull cord takes the fleece from a standard jumper to one with a figure hugging shape if desired. It certainly makes the fleece feel more womanly and allows the fit to feel more tailored, making it feel like a more expensive fleece. The collar is lovely because it stands alone without being irritating and rubbing on your neck or chin, it also stays up, unlike most other garments I have. I like the look of a freestanding collar however often designers forget to also make it comfortable and practical, however Rydale have succeeded in this department.
Lastly, I must mention the colour, I chose ‘Berry’ which I think is gorgeous. The other colours available are navy and brown, these I feel give a more practical look whereas the berry is more fashionable.
Overall design 9/10 the only fault I have, is I wish there were more bright colours available – perhaps a red!