"Would Bogie Wear Gore-Tex?": Postrel on the Incremental Advances That Lead to Progress


Here's looking at material that both looks good in a variety of settings, is affordable, and actually protects wearers from the elements.

Former Reason editor in chief Virgnina Postrel explains how progress happens in her Wall Street Journal col:

A trench coat, like Humphrey Bogart's in "Casablanca," might look good, but it wouldn't keep you dry for long in a storm. A rubber slicker might hold off the rain, but it lacked style and made you sweat. Either way, you wound up wet. Since Gore-Tex was introduced three decades ago, rain gear has gotten ever more waterproof, breathable and affordable.

Gradual improvements in fabrics and construction, he said, mean that an outdoor jacket that would have cost $250 20 years ago runs just $100 today—and works better. Now fabrics once reserved for athletic apparel are making their way into fashionable garments. Unlike Bogie, said Bill, "you can wear something reminiscent of a classic trench that will actually keep you dry in the rain, instead of just kind of keeping you dry." That's progress, frontier-style.

Read the whole thing here.

Here's a scene from Seinfeld featuring a less-fashionable raincoat known as "The Executive"