When deciding what to wear for a ramble, I tend to think about what will keep me warm and dry over whether or not it is stylish or flattering. You'll usually find me wrapped up in several layers looking like the Michelin (wo)man as I hike my way around the Cornish coast, defending myself against the elements with my windproof coat, waterproof trousers and GORE-TEX lined boots. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fashionista when it comes to coats; ask anyone who has looked in the back of my van! In there you will find a magical hook filled with an array of coats of every colour, style and fit. But when it comes to choosing comfort and practicality over whether or not it looks catwalk ready, I'd choose the former every time. But why is this?
Although I may not be wondering if I'll meet my future Ms. Cornish Ramblings out on the coast path whilst pulling on my thermals, leggings, two pairs of socks, base layers, five coats and bobble hat, I do often wonder why there isn't a more appealing and stylish range of outdoor clothing available to women which can be functional and practical, yet still hugs us in all the right places! Why do we have to settle for looking like a bright pink sack of spuds whilst out rambling in our shapeless waterproofs and coats?
Don't get me wrong, I know there are brands who have started catering more for the feminine figure, but being pigeon-holed into a box where individual preferences are not catered for can be rather frustrating.
I am often asked, usually by women, where I get my hiking kit from and if I know of any brands who can offer more flattering, yet functional trousers. For so long I myself have struggled to find leggings and trousers that catered for my shape and style preferences so found it hard to make recommendations, until I stumbled a while back on ACAI Outdoorwear.
All I will say is FINALLY, a brand who know how to make a woman feel AND look good whilst out on a ramble. It's a breath of fresh air don't you think?
“People want what they want. Sometimes you just have to walk in defiance of it and just be yourself.” Meryl Streep
My first pair of ACAI trousers arrived a few weeks ago and since then I have found it terribly difficult to not want to do everything in them. I even wore them to the supermarket to do my weekly shop the other night! But before I continue with why I think you all need to own at least one pair of these fabulous trousers, let me tell you a little more about ACAI.
"Made by women for women"
"We are on a mission to revolutionise all women’s experience outdoors. As the home of women’s outdoorwear - including the Original Outdoor Skinnies made by women for women - we put performance and style first as we strive towards a sustainable future for gear we hope you’ll love forever.
For too long, women’s outdoorwear has been limited by a ‘shrink and pink’ mentality which sees us pigeon-holed into a cookie-cutter narrative of who outdoorswomen are and what we want from our adventures. Instead, ACAI encourages you to embrace your individuality, strength and uniqueness. We have a passion for stylish and functional outdoorwear, which is matched only by our love for the outdoors."
Need I say anymore?
The wonderful thing about ACAI is alongside them looking incredible on, they don't compromise on comfort and performance. Style hasn't been sacrificed in order to create a product that performs well when you're out there in the great outdoors. And on top of this, they are sustainable! That's right folks, ACAI is committed to providing us women with trousers which have been made with as little environmental impact as possible, and whilst there is always more that can be done, the fact they have taken these steps is crucial to demonstrating the kind of brand ACAI is.
“There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish” Michelle Obama
The trousers I am wearing in the images throughout this blog are MAX Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers in khaki. Made to mimic the look of skinny jeans, these divine creations are shower resistant (which I tested recently in the snow and they passed with flying colours), lightweight and breathable. Having a dog who likes to cuddle you with muddy paws can leave most leggings and trousers battered and bruised with dirt, but these skinnies are easily wiped clean with a damp cloth and, if you get caught in a downpour, will dry in minutes; handy for those of us in Cornwall where the weather can change with every mile you stomp.
The list of benefits and features are as long as my leg (without meaning to brag, they're long!) but from the moment I opened the box, whipped them greedily out of the sustainable mesh bag they arrived in and felt them against my skin, I was in love. I could already tell as I unfolded them, these trousers were a rambling game changer.
The softshell material which is extremely stretchy felt like a second skin as I pulled them on and pranced around in front the mirror, admiring the way they flattered my curves and tucked you in in all the right places. The high waist is one of my favourite features, I do love a high waist when it comes to the jeans I wear so, having this option for a pair of walking trousers filled my little rambling heart with joy.
"Is there an art more beautiful than a woman's body?" Yajant Bhawsar
It's no secret that most women have cellulite somewhere on their bodies, a fact I feel each and every woman should embrace because it is normal and it is beautiful. But, alas, I know that some of us are self-conscious of the lumps and bumps on our (divine) bodies so, the thought of wearing skintight trousers outside of the house could fill some of you with dread. Another perk of these trousers is, regardless of how close to the skin they fit, the stretchiness allows spectacular movement and seamlessly covers up those perfect imperfections you may be conscious about. I have never felt more confident wearing a pair of skinnies than I do when in these and regardless of how vigorous the activity you're doing is - I did a few lunges along the coast and climbed a tree to test this claim - the four way stretchy nylon is durable and in no way inhibits your movement.
The breathability and lightweight moisture wicking material quickly draws away any sweat, which is great after you've just pegged it up several flights of cliffside steps or attempted to climb a tree! And the fact these skinnies look good regardless of whether you're hiking through the woods, along the coast or sat in a pub (one day folks!), they really can be worn everywhere. Does that mean I need a pair for each day of the week?!
The MAX Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers come in a vast range of colours; 11 in fact, so there will be a colour which suits you all. And no bright pinks or purples in sight might I add. The sizing's are true to size (I'm wearing a UK12) and range from a UK6 to UK22. What I love the most about the sizing's is how they come in a variety of lengths. I regularly struggle to find a pair of walking trousers that fit the length of my legs (I'm not bragging again, swears!) so having the option of petite, regular and tall really does help ensure you get a pair of trousers that fit you well.
With these trousers being stretchy there is no fear of being 'cut in half' when you sit down like you might a normal pair of high waisted skinny jeans after a slice of cake. I also noticed I didn't need to constantly hoick them up like I do leggings. There is nothing worse than losing your leggings halfway down your backside and having to pull them up every five minutes, it was a blessing to not have this worry for the entire 6-mile walk I tested them out on.
After trialing these fab trousers on my last few local rambles, I am now a true convert and wholeheartedly recommend ACAI to any woman wanting to add a little practical glamour to their outdoorsy wardrobe. I'm not someone who would recommend you spend your money on a product I don't truly believe in, especially as I tend to rely on these kinds of reviews myself, but ACAI really are a brand I will happily refer any woman to who asks me for suggestions of trousers.
Being able to go for a walk feeling confident in how I look, as well as the performance of the kit I'm wearing, has awoken a new glamourous side to rambling for me. And although I've always been proud to be a woman, my body confidence has been a work-in-progress...until now!
And who knows, Ms. Cornish Ramblings may be out there waiting patiently for me after all...
"When I say to you, there is nobody like me, and there never was, that is a statement I want every woman to feel and make about themselves." Lady Gaga
Be sure to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram where I will be sharing more information, images and videos on the features of these wonderful trousers as I head out on my rambles. And be sure to click the ACAI highlight on my bio for the unveiling of my new trousers.
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For more information on the ACAI refer a friend scheme, be sure to click here and whilst you're on the ACAI website, be sure to check out the many other wonderful products they have available.