Let me just say it flat out: this is less of a review of Purple Rain Adventure Skirts and more of a straight up recommendation. This hiking skirt with pockets is hand-sewn in Oregon, fits and flatters, and is rugged enough to hold up to all that nature will throw your way.
Shortly after receiving my skirt – sage green with a stretchy grey yoga-style waist band – I e-mailed the company’s founder, Mandy Bland, to thank her. Here’s what I blurted out, ya know, to kick the e-mail off: “I'm so in love! It's the best skirt I've ever owned.”
And, I truly feel that way. Let me share why Purple Rain Adventure Skirts are so truly awesome ...
- The fabric is stretchy and soft, but also durable. When I needed to crawl up on the counter to grab something from a high shelf, the skirt’s stretchy fabric made it no problem at all to hoist my leg up above my waist. I even did a few yoga poses in the skirt to test out the full extent of the mobility it offers – no hindrance whatsoever.
- The yoga-style waistband, made of a wick-away polyester and lycra blend, makes for a comfy, flattering fit. I could have gotten away with wearing my purple rain skirt when I was pregnant because it contours so well to whatever body type.
- The fabric repels water and cleans off easily. I freaked out when I spilled by beet salad on it, but it just wiped right off, no problem.
- And pockets, let's talk pockets. That is usually the biggest drawback of wearing a skirt – there's no place to put your phone, money and other things, like snacks while hiking. But, not so, with Purple Rain Skirts. Also, the skirt’s pockets rest perfectly on the sides of my thighs, so it's still comfortable to wear even when the pockets are bulging.
- It’s super versatile. I’ve worn mine hiking, packrafting, for an entire weekend of camping, and to professional networking events. Travelers, this is your one-garment wonder.
- When using it to for hiking and paddling, it’s airy and makes it easy when nature calls. Dry suit drop seats are much easier to manage with this skirt underneath.
- Mandy custom makes each skirt. Not only is it cool to have clothing sewn with so much love, but Mandy can accommodate custom sizing and color requests.
- As an added bonus, my husband thinks I look great in the skirt. When I first put it on, he noticed it without me saying anything and then told me I should get a second one.
- And, as and added, added bonus, you can do a handstand in one.
OK, so I do have a few suggestions for improvement for this hiking skirt with pockets:
- It has a tendency to bunch up over my hips, so I periodically need to pull it down when wearing it.
- Since it’s hand-made, there is no tag on it to identify the front and back of the skirt. For the first few weeks I had it, I wore it around backwards, until Mandy politely pointed out my mistake when I sent her a photo of me in the skirt. Nothing like having the same dressing standards as my 3-year-old.
Mandy started Purple Rain Skirts in 2013. Here's her story, in her words.
In 2012 I completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Everyone has a different reason for taking to trail and at the time, I wasn't completely sure of mine. I just knew I had to make it to Katahdin, that my life would somehow be marked by that momentous achievement. Two months after I finished the trail my brother died very suddenly. I realize now my calling to trail was to build the inner strength of living with tragedy.
During my darkest days, the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt was born. I hacked up a frumpy old pair of hiking pants and hit the PCT the next summer. Once on trail, I immediately loved hiking in a skirt. I loved the air flow and the easability when nature called. I loved having my camera and map easily accessible. I loved not having to carry around a dry bag as a purse when in town. When we finished our trek I began researching fabrics online, scavenged through the Fabric District in LA and eventually found a store in Portland, Oregon that had exactly what I wanted.
Here at Purple Rain Skirts we believe that hiking gives us strength to take on life's challenges. The wilderness we trek through teaches us how to find peace and perseverance in a hectic world. Purple Rain Skirts encourages others to take comfort in the natural world, find their inner strength and to simply live.