By now you must have noticed, be it via my instagram or this blog that I have become somewhat enthralled with skiing. My passion for it is way ahead of my skill but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to look good on the slopes. In fact, like with much of my closet, the way I look gives me confidence to push forward and get better. I must admit, this obsession is a new development, I learned how to ski when I was 14 but my teacher at the time (my brother… ahem!) pushed me a little too hard too fast and scared me off from practicing any further so for the next 14 years I was disinterested. In the age of instagram where everyone is doing everything at the same time according to current trends it is hard to find something that is all yours. Because it isn’t something everyone has access to, skiing (and the Stampede) became my thing. It doesn’t feel overdone or shared to death, it still leaves room for imagination and inspiration and it looks hella epic plus I like to prove that you can do anything and look good while you’re at it! And let’s not forget it’s a great way to exercise with purpose.
The mass mentality about ski and winter wear in general is that you can’t marry fashion with function. While everyone thinks there must be a trade off I like to think of it as a challenge. It is not always obvious where to shop for stylish winter gear, and no, it is not easily available everywhere. I’m still not sure why retailers don’t think chrome helmets wouldn’t sell, why do we only have a choice between black, white and grey, and why are they all so bulky and ugly? Surely film and fashion stylists must know of a secret place where you can dress like a Bond girl! The biggest resource for me when I first started looking was The Snow magazine it was filled with pages of ads and brands all which personified exactly what I was looking for. I don’t want to be drowning in ambiguous baggy snow suits when I’m out on the hill, I want to at least look like I know what I’m doing! Making up for my lack of confidence going down with how I look going up!
I have since been sifting through the pages of every winter magazine, visiting every website and buying every book on ski resorts, retro sports wear and getting schooled on what actually looks good. The consensus is that the golden era of ski wear was the 60’s and 70’s, with a dash of 80’s sprinkled in there from time to time (you have to give some credit to those neon puffy jackets and high waisted pants). It seems to me that when snowboarding took off it was the end of style on the slopes, 90’s grunge anyone? There is a time and a place for such things and skiers did not benefit from this trend. There is just something about being on a pair of skis that just looks better in a slimmer silhouette.
From season to season I have been religiously checking out whole collections from brands and looking at top retailers for best ski gear to add to my collection. Below are my top places, some in-store and all also online to shop for your next ski adventure. The secret to a more efficient shopping experience? Type in ‘SKI’ in the search bar to narrow down what you are looking for!
These three websites are my department store equivalents of online shopping, apart from finding my favourite designers here, each of these sites has a unique and vast selection of luxury ski wear that will make any jaw drop. The prices are steep but the gear is hands down the best! You can tell the difference between wearing a $300 ski jacket and a $1,500 in a heart beat so it will really depend on how committed you are going to be to the cause. A great way to shop for ski gear is in the summer, add items to your wishlist and watch for them to go on sale, which they eventually do. You can snag some really great deals when you have an eye on it.
One of my favourite brands of ski wear, they are situated somewhere in the midrange between Topshop and Toni Sailer and so is the quality but the design is one of my favourites, it’s fun, colourful and appropriately retro. I shied away from their pants for a while because the length isn’t ideal for me, but with time I warmed up to the fact that ski boots really do hide a lot of that so I caved, I bought their overalls and won’t look back. I’m hooked!
If you live in Canada and have a chance to visit a Sporting Life store it’s worth going in for getting styling inspo alone. Their mannequins are as editorial as can be and I love it. Layered to the max in the most colourful fun pieces it’s a great way to see how really any brand can be styled to look like a million bucks. Sporting Life is home to some of my fave brands and accessories. The prices are slightly higher than other retailers for whatever reason but on the flip side you can ALWAYS find great sales, amazing gems like $800 Toni Sailer pants for $200 for example. I got my very first ski outfit here for $300 and it’s still one of my biggest hits!
Topshop and Asos are awesome places to look for trendy, inexpensive ski wear. Topshop’s SNO line and Asos 4505 collection has some of the most outrageous pieces. My most recent purchase is a full leopard print set and the best part was that it also came in a TALL version with longer pants and jacket. Don’t worry, you can also find great basics and neutral colours here as well. It’s a great place to start if you are just getting your feet wet.
This is one of my favourite spots for accessories. Often times they carry items no one else does. I got both of my Bogner helmets here and most recently a black fur flap hat I’ve been searching for everywhere.
I discovered this store on our first visit to Park City. The physical location blew me away with their Ralph Lauren-esque decor and fantastic selection of brands. They also offer online shopping in case you are still thinking about that one piece ski suit you tried on but never bought.
The selection here is rather plain and unexciting HOWEVER, they are one of the only places online that offers a selection for tall as well as petite pant sizing. When I was building my first ski outfit finding the right pants was a real challenge. Luckily I found a pair of The North Face fleece lined ski pants here that fit perfectly and were a steal at $150! Naturally I bought them in every color!