Patagonia Synchilla Marsupial: An "Icon"?

Among the most jaunty and bourgeoisie of gear reviews I wrote this year was a short piece for Travel + Leisure magazine on Patagonia’s Synchilla Marsupial fleece top. (Forgive, but the piece included text like ”. . . it’s sleek enough for après-ski in Aspen and guaranteed to keep you warm anywhere from Stratton to St. Moritz.”)

In reality, the blurb turned out fine. It appeared in the publication’s November edition. But it was the context that struck me, as it ran in the magazine’s “Icon” section, a column that highlights – as its name implies – iconic products in the realm of Converse Chuck Taylors and the VW Bug.

My befuddlement: Does something like a baggy fleece top from SoCal belong in that same universe?

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According to my Travel + Leisure editor, yes. The “stylish pullover made with recycled polyester,” as Patagonia markets it, has proven staying power: It was released originally in the mid-’90s and was sold to an untold multitude of pseudosweater devotees, becoming one of Patagonia’s best-selling garments.

The Synchilla Marsupial’s debut model was made with a mix of polyester fibers and recycled soda bottles; today’s version of the fleece – which comes in six colors and six sizes, all made with 85% recycled polyester fiber – is slightly modified from the original.

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I’ll leave judgments on look and style up to the individual, but performance-wise the fleece is technical enough to layer under a Gore-Tex shell. Its breathable fabric wicks sweat then dries quickly; the double-fleece collar is toasty warm; and a large chest zip provides ventilation when needed.

There’s an eco bonus, too, as the Marsupial—like many Patagonia products—can be recycled at the end of its life via the company’s Common Threads Recycling program, which repurposes fibers to create new clothing out of the old.

The iconic (maybe?) Synchilla Marsupial costs $80 and is available here: http://www.patagonia.com/web/us. . .

See the full Travel + Leisure hash-out on this page: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/stylish-traveler-trailblazer/

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