Style / December 2017

Ski Chic: How to Dress On and Off the Slopes

Dressing for the slopes isn’t rocket science, but it can go very wrong, very quickly. Go off piste in style with The Rake’s trustworthy guide to ski chic…

Gianni Agnelli looks sleek and sophisticated in an all-in-one dark ensemble with a belted waist paired with a white turtle neck while skiing near the Sestriere ski resort in Italy, 1967.

The secret to good style is owning it — being confidently you. As ancient stoic influencer and menswear commentator Epictetus famously put it, “Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” Nowhere is this philosophy more applicable than on the snowfields, and in the post-piste social setting known as ‘après ski’. Ski season attire tends to draw on the cultural touch-points of the regions where the sport originated, and where it is most popular. In Europe, this means inspiration from the Alpen aesthetic of ye olde mountain-dwelling French, German, and Swiss folk. Think graphic-patterned jumpers and roll necks, woolen bobble-top hats, sturdy lace-up hiking boots, voluminous pantaloons. In the United States, thanks to most ski fields being in the Old West, there’s a down-home cowboy ski chic vibe: Stetsons, denim, and fur embellishments aplenty.

Since the 1970s, the practicality of modern warmth-insulating and moisture-proofing textiles, as well as influence from professional winter sportsmen, have seen high-tech looks enter the ski-chic mix, while the advent of snowboarding has added a soupçon of skate-surf radicalism. The Rake’s advice, on and off the slopes, is to be yourself and avoid entering the realm of costume. If, in everyday life, you’re not authentically a cow-punching rancher, yodeling European cheese farmer, or spliff-hitting skater dude, don’t see a visit to the slopes as an excuse to play dress-ups. It’s not Halloween. Mix in iconic cultural touches, but bring your honest-to-goodness personality to your snow styling.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.