Speaking of knitwear – while wool has been supplanted by technical mid-layers on the slopes, a chunky sweater remains
de rigueur away from them. Traditionalists will plump for a textural roll-neck: a cashmere cable knit, like those
from the Abruzzian brand Cordone 1956, which are slim
enough to slip underneath a suede blouson, or a chunkier design like those by the Irish Inis Meáin Knitting Company.
Intarsias and jacquard knits offer a slightly more modern – and eye-catching – take: the Alpine brand Alps & Meters, for example, does an excellent line in
crew-neck jumpers with a mountain graphic design and specially-fashioned elbows, taking you from slaloming through
to Glühwein-fuelled bar-dancing.
Of course, après-ski isn’t just about libation. Fine dining is also on the menu at most well-heeled
resorts, with Courchevel alone boasting a dozen or so Michelin-starred institutions. Suitably then, it would be wise
to pack a smart jacket – but not too smart, after all, for this still remains an off-duty occasion. An unstructured
wool blazer from The Gigi is most ideal – founded by brothers
Pierluigi and Mario Boglioli, the cut on offer is slouchy but smart, a continuation of the soft-shouldered style
they pioneered at their former, eponymous family brand. Corduroy gives a similarly louche look, with Oliver Spencer’s treading the fine line between undone and
elegant. In both cases, a slim cashmere roll-neck is the natural companion.
The very last thing that anyone wants after a long day of skiing is to put tired legs through any further ordeal,
which means sheathing them in trousers that are soft, comfortable and forgiving. A pair with a drawstring waist
ticks all three boxes – Connolly’s navy cashmere version, for
example, balances the insouciance of the stretch waistband with a smart pin-stitched pleat front. Moleskin chinos
are another smart-casual style ideally-suited for relaxing at high altitude, with some woven so densely that they
are essentially wind-proof. New & Lingwood’s come in
a vivid shade of mustard – wear them, and wait for the Roger Moore comparisons to come rolling in.
Any excuse to bring out a pair of trusty leather boots is a good one in our opinion, but perhaps none more so than
tramping around snowy foothills (or, if you happen to be at La Folie Douce, dancing on tables). Hiking boots are a
foolproof option: Grenson’s have shock-absorbing Vibram rubber
soles and padded ankle collars – ideal for weary feet – in either warm burnished brown or classic black. Cheaney is another English heritage brand that excels in durable,
handsome boots. Like Grenson’s, they handmake their boots in
Northamptonshire using the Goodyear welt technique, which offers reliability and repairability. Cheaney’s
shearling-lined boots are a particular delight, but be careful to first waterproof the suede upper.
Your final consideration is outerwear. A quilted parka in a technical fabric has been standard around the slopes
since the 1950s, like the expedition-grade designs from British label Shackleton. These translate well to
après-ski, especially when in a smart colour such as navy or black, with this doubling-up saving
precious room in your suitcase for other essentials such as sunglasses (a classic Aviator, since you asked), leather
gloves and a bright merino wool beanie.