Once you understand the concept behind the newer fabrics, the next step is to decide what you want to buy based on the way the fabrics are constructed for a set of jacket and pants. Each manufacturer employs some level of proprietary construction process and material, in offerings ranging from basic to premium gear. It's good to browse them all and spend some time learning about the differences. Basically, "fabrics can have two to three layers," said Filippo Bovio, the U.S. distributor for SLAM. "The outer shell is typically made of nylon. And some of the newer materials can stretch, allowing a more snug and more comfortable fit." (See "Choice of Fabrics", right). Women sailors, take note: Nearly all the makers carry female sizes and take female form and contours into account in design.
"In our women's lines, you'll find the arm lengths a touch shorter, and the hips a touch wider, more flared," noted Henri Lloyd's Earl. And drop seats make it possible for women to keep jackets on while visiting the head.