Surf's Up: The Sunny Appeal of the Surf Breaker Jacket

Surf's Up: The Sunny Appeal of the Surf Breaker Jacket

 

Leanne Cloudsdale embarks on a sartorial psychic journey to the heart of the brightly-coloured windbreaker, taking in charity shops, surf movies, JFK and The Wonder Years along the way.

 

The charity shops of yore were places of stench and frenzy. Back in the ‘90s, second-hand clothes shopping was dog-eat-dog. There were no neatly merchandised rails or contactless payments; you needed sharp elbows and X-ray eyes to fend off all the other chancers inside those filthy, moth-ridden treasure troves. I’ve been traipsing ‘round the chazzers’ since I was about 5, happily being dragged from one to the next with Grandma Sadie. Hours spent on my knees, raking through grotty boxes of other kids’ toys, listening to how she’d sweet-talk the blue rinsed battle-axes on the till to get us access to the ‘staff only’ Narnia out back. What a legend. 


Anyway, those foraging skills came in handy when I gave up on grunge (momentarily) after watching a scratchy VHS of Big Wednesday at a classmate’s unauthorised house-party. John Milius’s all-American surfing blockbuster was a bit of a game-changer. I’d gone from drooling over greasy-haired Cuban-heeled shoegazers, to quite fancying a bit of super-suntanned existential beach himbo angst. A technicolour climax, that film kick-started a move towards buying fusty psychedelic bedsheets, swirly pop-art tea caddies and books about 1960s D.I.Y.

Of course, life in Hull was a far-cry from the balmy coastline of California, but with my waitressing wages and an insatiable urge to look like an extra from The Wonder Years, I made the charitable retail outlets my weekend mecca. Favourite cut-price finds became the mid-century outerwear, donated, I suppose, by pensioners who’d either shuffled off this mortal coil or slipped down the stairs and into a care home. The (mildly) stained, brightly coloured rainmacs and sports jackets brought pure joy to my wardrobe. Teamed with corduroys, Jesus sandals and 20 Embassy Filter, I’d rock up to gigs in venues with no air-con, moshing away at the front with my windbreaker still zipped up to the collar. Good times. 

Those acid bright Dannimacs cheered me through an otherwise grim economic era (think Poll Tax riots and John Major’s Back to Basics campaign). Looking back, that’s what a good jacket can do. Shield you from the shit and light up your daily threads at times when life feels grey and unmanageable. 

For summer 2020, Drake’s have taken the tried and tested formulas of yesterday and zapped them perfectly into their new Surf Breaker jacket. Think JFK on a trip to the zoo, or Ivy League geek sipping an ice-cream float down the local jazz café. If those visualisers aren’t cutting the mustard, think instead of 1960s smart casuals, zipping around Soho with a freshly lit Park Drive in one hand, and a copy of Le Monde in the other. Made in Italy from premium Japanese cotton, this water-repellent style comes with a super functional two-way O-ring zipper and a handy removable hood. Available in navy, check and sunshine yellow, this lightweight hip length outer layer is the ideal companion for weathering springtime showers or for throwing over a t-shirt at golden hour to minimise the wind chill. With its nostalgic cut and classic colourways, the Surf Breaker brings modernity and a fresh new perspective on my old charity shops gems. Only this time, there’s no chance of finding a snotty tissue in the pocket – a definite selling point, I think you’ll all agree?