We headed to bracing Whitley Bay to put the new Weird Fish windcheater-lined Byss Macaroni to the test

Our Graham wearing the Weird Fish Byss Macaroni on Whitley Bay beach
Our Graham wearing the Weird Fish Byss Macaroni on Whitley Bay beach

If you’ve heard of lifestyle clothing brand Weird Fish (and you should have done, as we’ve mentioned them enough times), you’ll most likely be aware of the company’s signature Macaroni range.

Macaroni is a unique, slow-spun, cotton-rich knit that Weird Fish pioneered back in 1993, after bringing back to life a collection of circular knitting machines that were lying dormant in a Turkish factory.

Named after the variety of pasta that it resembles, the Macaroni knit is loved for its quality, comfort and iconic look, across a range of Weird Fish sweatshirts, hoodies and fleece jackets for men and women.

All the different Macaroni options combine great quality, super comfort and a relaxed style, with four distinct ranges: Classic, for everyday wear; Tech, for the great outdoors; Active, especially designed to be lightweight and breathable; and Lined, with a soft fleece lining that offers extra warmth on cooler days.

New windcheater-lined Macaroni

The Misfire Macaroni from Weird Fish

The Misfire Macaroni from Weird Fish

Being outdoor types, with the beautiful North East coast and countryside on our doorstep, we were excited to hear that Weird Fish had added a windcheater-lined version to its men’s Lined Macaroni range for 2017. Designed to protect from the fresher temperatures and squally winds that can appear at any time of year here in Britain, there’s the Misfire, with a quarter-zip, in blue (usually £75, but on offer at the time of writing), and the Byss, with a full zip, in black (£80).

Weird Fish kindly offered to send us one to try, so we opted for the Byss – after all, with an impeccably-gelled tuft like our Graham’s, you don’t want to be messing it up by pulling a sweatshirt on and off all the time.

First impressions

There was no mistaking that distinctive Weird Fish logo when the postman handed the package over at the doorstep, and we were keen to get inside and see what the Byss looked and felt like.

Our Weird Fish parcel!

Our Weird Fish parcel!

Weird Fish is a brand that combines a commitment to quality with a sense of fun – after all, its slogan is “wear the weekend”, with its clothes designed to be “feel-good favourites” that help you “escape the daily grind”.

We could see where that combination of values comes from as soon as we took our Macaroni out of the packaging. There are so many fun details – that fish logo really does get everywhere – but also a real sense of quality in terms of the materials, and in details such as the stitching and the fleecy-lined pockets.

Detail of the Byss Macaroni

Detail of the Byss Macaroni

To be fair, it’s what you would hope for for £80, but, as anyone knows, a premium price doesn’t always mean a premium product. However, the impressive 4.9 out of 5 rating after ten reviews suggests that Weird Fish is getting it right.

The Byss makes a good first impression from a practical point of view as well. With a lot of other tops and fleeces, the pockets are shallow and open, meaning that they’re not much use for accommodating anything other than a hanky.

On the Byss, the jersey-lined pockets are zipped and a reasonable size, meaning there’s plenty of room to stow keys or a phone without risk of them dropping out halfway up a mountain.

A couple of very minor niggles, maybe. Given that we typically like to have a fleece to hand by the back door for wearing when we head outside, a hanging loop would be a nice addition.

Also, though our Graham is always a size small in everything, the Byss in small is quite roomy. It’s absolutely fine, but it certainly wouldn’t want to be any bigger.

So, it’s worth bearing that in mind when you order from Weird Fish if, like us, you’re used to the much snugger fit of outdoor gear from Decathlon. Of course, there are 13 Weird Fish stores around the UK – plus 1,400 stockists such as Debenhams, Beales, Cotswold and Mole Country Stores – so if you’re not sure of your size it’s easy enough to find somewhere to try a Macaroni on.

The Byss really does look nice and smart on, though.

Off to Whitley Bay

Easily accessible on the Metro railway system from Newcastle and Gateshead, a trip to the North Tyneside coast – stretching from Whitley Bay to North Shields – is always a delight.

It’s true that the seaside resort of Whitley Bay has struggled a bit in recent years, with a reputation for rowdy nightlife, a somewhat faded seafront, and a few too many empty shops.

Things are definitely on the up, though. The iconic Spanish City dome is finally getting its long-awaited restoration, the seafront is in the midst of a major makeover, and the nearby Park View shopping street has grown into a popular destination that is packed with lovely independent stores, and enticing cafes, restaurants and micropubs.

And of course, even when Whitley Bay has felt less well loved than it should have been, nothing has been able to take away the drama of the sweeping sands, the big skies, and the magnificent views towards St Mary’s Lighthouse on one side and Cullercoats on the other.

Besides all that, it’s also often very windy – so where better to put a windcheater-lined Macaroni to the test?

The day that we headed out to the coast was actually perfect Macaroni weather: not that warm (about 10 degrees), with a sun that was stubbornly slow to appear, and a reasonably robust wind as you can see (and hear) in the video.

Happily, the Byss seemed to do what it was designed to do. The neck zips up high to keep the wind out, and as a whole the Macaroni felt nice and snug to wear – but not so snug that you start to overheat.

It’s also, of course, a garment that you can wear out and about but still actually look pretty smart and stylish in, which definitely isn’t always the case with outdoor gear. There’s a reason why we’re able to feature Weird Fish at our Fashion & Style Directory site as well as here at the Holiday & Travel Directory!

Final verdict

Though we’ve admired Weird Fresh from afar plenty of times before, this was our first time actually putting the brand’s clothes to the test. Happily, the Byss more than lived up to expectations.

It looks good, is practical and comfortable to wear, and has the great attention to detail that distinguishes a really nice quality garment from a merely ordinary one. Those handy zipped pockets will especially get a lot of use.

£80 isn’t cheap, of course, but we get the feeling that the Byss is an item that will prove its worth – and its durability – over a long period and through repeated wear. We’ll certainly be putting it on again next time we head back to ever-bracing Whitley Bay.

Shop the Byss Macaroni here, or see the full Macaroni ranges for men and women.

If you fancy Weird Fish on a budget, there are always plenty of great deals to be found in the store’s Sale section, with Macaroni in the Active range currently available for as little as £31.50 (checked 24 March 2017).

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