Snow-proof dungarees - also known as bibs - are making a comeback and they're stylish but are they practical?

Ski Club's Sophie Mead put some to the test in Chilean Patagonia

The joy of a bib is that it eliminates the gap between your salopettes and jackets, preventing any snow finding its way down your back… or worse. Nobody wants a chilly surprise out on the slopes where attention should be focused on safety and terrain! The fashion industry has seen a massive surge in the popularity of dungarees and snowsports fashion has followed suit... or did we start it? Picture Organic Clothing uses recycled materials in their bibs so I’ve decided to take going to take a closer look at the technical features of the Haakon bib, a very fun all-in-one!

Features

The Haakon bib is one of two bibs in Picture’s 2019/20 range and is labelled the ultimate freeride bib, since its other half is the Haakon jacket, part of the expedition line. The bib slips on just like salopettes and has a zipper fastening with two buttons to secure it in place. The standout feature of this bib is that the torso section is removable, simply unzip the fastening running the length of the waist. This makes it two products in one, and a very versatile piece of kit for any expedition. The top part has two sections of material, a harder shell in the centre of the chest and stretchy fabric around the waist. This design ensures that the kit hugs the skin for warmth and also that it looks flattering on the female frame. The top can be unzipped in the centre and shoulder straps adjusted easily with velcro. Storage-wise, there are two thigh pockets which have enough space to store a phone or wallet, and these have drawstrings inside them which tighten the bell-bottomed salopettes. There is a small breast pocket but this is narrow and might only be suitable for small items. For ventilation, the bib has knee zips so that the wearer can cool off while hiking and the back of the salopettes are plain aside from two patches which appear to be rear pockets - but are only for decoration. The waist has belt loops if the wearer needs to tighten the waist and at the bottom of the legs, there are buttons to widen the flare, and an elasticated inner layer to stop any snow getting into the ankles.

Technical

The fabric is made from 58% RPE recycled polyester and 42% PES polyester and uses the same DRYPLAY 20K/20K PFC-free membrane as the Haakon jacket. PFC stands for perfluorinated compounds which are found in waterproof products and things like non-stick pans. The compounds have strong molecular bonds which enhance functionality, but do not break down easily in the environment. Choosing PFC-free clothing is a small step towards helping the environment, but one that Picture encourages customers to take. In terms of production, the three factories which Picture works with are supported by the Fair Wear Foundation which supports ethical processes in the garment industry. Although Picture only joined in 2018, it has met most of FWF’s performance requirements and its status is ‘good,’ at present, with an overall score of 46. Fully-taped seams help to keep moisture out along with waterproof YKK zippers. It’s a nice touch that the zip toggles mirror the Picture logo of a tree. Sometimes it’s the little things that count!

Design

The shape of this bib is very comfortable to wear, and there is enough space for the legs to breathe whilst at the same time keeping them warm. The salopettes have a slight flare which is on point (since flared salopettes are having a moment) without being too 80s. The adjustable buttons at the bottom of the flare are a nice option, so if you want to go full Tina Turner, you can do. I found this bib lightweight which made it easy to stay agile and it was convenient to be able to remove the top section. While wearing it, the shoulder straps were easy to adjust and the fitted material meant it was flattering, and there was no need to worry about the bib falling down. The logo is understated and seems to have survived all the activities I threw at the bib, although the plastic is starting to bubble a little bit. When it comes to colour, I am not a pink person, but I have to say I am a big fan of the black colourway with light pink highlights. This shade means that the bib can be coordinated with any colour, and has a subtle hint of femininity in the design. However, if you want to go full pink panther, the bib is also available in dusky pink.  

The bib is designed to provide ‘full protection on any line you choose to ride’, and I can confirm it performed fantastically not just on the slopes, but during many more activities too. The Haakon bib and jacket kept me cosy while on a boat visiting glacier-filled fjords of Patagonia, and I felt absolutely smug that I had chosen to bring such technical clothing as the other travellers huddled inside. The bib and jacket combo kept me warm and wind-proof in winds of up to 80mph in the southern hemisphere and the materials withstood mountain biking, horse-riding and hiking in low temperatures. I was grateful for the vents which allowed me to regulate my temperature and adjustable torso layer which was much easier to zip on and off than I expected!
Picture say that the removable top and adjustable suspenders make the bib extremely versatile whatever the terrain and however hard you choose to play, and I would agree with that. I threw every activity I could at them and they bounced back spotless and stylish at every challenge.

For Eco-friendly, technically sound, well-fitted and versatile
Against Not everybody will like the detachable top
www.picture-organic-clothing.com

 

The jacket which appears in the images is also by Picture Organic Clothing, read our review here.