WHAT TO WEAR SKIING
Whether you’re a ruler of the black run, or a nursery-slopes novice, what to wear skiing is a tricky style dilemma. You want to look cool in your ski outfit, sure. But you also need to keep warm, stay dry…and plan some clever outfit transformations for après-ski. If you’re hitting the slopes during the coldest winter months, your ski clothes need to work extra hard to keep out snow, frost and ice. Because let’s face it, frostbite is not a good look.
We asked two supremely stylish skiwear designers — Erin Isakov of Erin Snow, and Jane Gottschalk of Perfect Moment — for advice on the best, but also most stylish, clothes for skiing. From the warmest ski jackets to the most flattering ski pants and what on earth to wear underneath, plus get some fashionable après-ski outfit ideas before you drown your sorrows in fondue. Read on for our expert guide to ski fashion…
THE BEST SKI JACKETS
When it comes to ski style, your jacket is your main investment. What should you look for to ensure you buy the warmest ski jacket, as well as the most flattering option? “Firstly, you need a specialized insulated and fully waterproof technical fabric — always check the labels!” says Gottschalk. When it comes to insulation, down-filled coats are warm and great for evenings, but a specialist performance filling like PrimaLoft® offers better breathability which is important if you’re planning to work hard on the slopes.
The more technical ski jackets will have things such as a ‘snow skirt’ built into the lower part of the jacket, which helps to prevent snow from sneaking inside your clothes for if you fall (very useful for beginners). Similarly, waterproof zippers help add to the overall durability and watertightness of the jacket. It is also a good idea to check for pocket placement: are there useful zippered pockets where you need them to hold essential items such as your lift pass, phone and money? “I like ski pass holders in the lower arm, so you don’t need to fiddle about trying to access them,” says Gottschalk.
Finally, assess how comfortable and flattering the jacket is. Isakov looks for the following things: “Make sure that you have good mobility in your arms. Can you comfortably hold them out in front of your chest without tugging? Stretch panels under the arm help your mobility and also create a slimming effect at your sides and waist.”
THE BEST SKI PANTS
Similarly to your jacket, fit and material are the two most important considerations for ski pants. If you’ll be skiing in colder conditions with snowfall, or you think you may be spending some time in the snow instead of on it, choose a fully waterproof, insulated ski pant. These days there are many more flattering options that still keep you warm. “We have styles to suit many different body shapes — from the looser fit cargo pant, the 4-way fit Aurora flares and the high-waisted ‘skinnies’, to salopette racing pants.” Either way, the same tips on fit apply: “Ask yourself the following questions,” says Isakov. “Can you move freely? Does the seat of the pant retain its shape when you sit and stand back up?”
WHAT TO WEAR UNDER
The golden rule is that thick doesn’t necessarily equal warm, according to Isakov. Instead, look for lightweight layering materials. Sports tops can be useful for this due to their moisture-wicking and insulating properties though for warmth it is best to opt for either thermal materials, or merino wool — a good fiber for all your base layers, according to Erin Isakov: “It naturally controls moisture, temperature and odor, as well as being very comfortable,” she says.
Invest in a crew-neck base layer to wear underneath your ski sweater on very cold days. You can also wear the base layer on its own for warmer days. If you are wearing a base layer what you wear on top can be more luxury, cashmere can provide a cozy and stylish finish.
When it comes to what to wear under ski pants, as long as they’re well-made and in the right fabric, then a pair of leggings is all you’ll need underneath.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR APRÈS SKI
When it comes to what to wear for some well-deserved Schnapps after a long day on the slopes, there are two scenarios: either you can slide straight off your last run and into the nearest bar in full ski gear, or you can head back to base camp to get rid of your wet kit and change into something more glamorous.
If you go for the former, make sure your layers are bar-worthy so you can strip down once in a heated bar or restaurant (queue that luxe cashmere sweater). If you’re wearing a jumpsuit, look like a pro and take the top half off and let it hang loose or tie the arms around your waist.
If you decide to head home to change, bear in mind you’ll still be walking about in the snow — chunky knits or a dressy top you can throw on with some fitted jeans, plus chic designer snow boots will fit the bill perfectly.
STYLISH SKI ACCESSORIES
As with any outfit, accessories are often what brings a look together, so why should skiwear be any different? While helping you to look the part, ski accessories also serve very important and practical purposes too. There are some essentials, such as warm gloves, or for seriously cold conditions, mittens are a better choice as you can squeeze the tips of your fingers together inside them.
Ski helmets are now an essential safety item with most ski rentals offering them along with your skis. While a balaclava to wear under your ski helmet is a must too. “It protects the skin on your face from wind and sunburn, and keeps you incredibly warm and comfortable,” advises Isakov.
A well-fitting pair of goggles, or good-quality sunglasses that won’t fog up, will make a big difference to your visibility, and therefore overall enjoyment on the slopes. Using a sunglasses cord or chain is a great way to tap into a retro ‘80s vibe whilst also making life much easier when stopping for hot chocolates.
And finally, “always take a good skin cream (we’ve developed one with Dr. Barbara Sturm), lip balm and tissues,” says Gottschalk.