Ski wear is not just for the mountain anymore
Donna Gagliardi recalls a customer coming in for a bright aqua-colored ski jacket from The North Face.
“She was an older woman, and I asked her if she was a skier,” says Gagliardi, manager of the Willi's Ski & Snowboard Shop in Castle Shannon. “She told me, no, but I love the color of this jacket. It looks so warm and will be perfect for walking my dog.”
See, skiwear isn't only for hitting the slopes.
With all the bold-colored hues and funky prints and patterns, skiwear works on the mountain and the street, perfect for athletic challengers of moguls and those running to the store to grab some milk.
Gagliardi attributes the wide choice in fun jackets, sweaters and accessories to people wanting to wear this apparel not just on the slopes.
Ski jackets used to be mostly black and big and bulky, but nowadays they are made of such lightweight fabrics and in such bold hues that you want to wear them all the time, Gagliardi says. There are sweaters that are designer quality and boots with details of fur and embellishments and hats that add a little pop to any outfit. There's even socks with a ski-lift image.
“Stylish, yet functional outerwear that delivers on warmth is a must-have, especially for those who like to enjoy the outdoor winter elements,” says Michiel Roesdi, senior outerwear design director for Lands' End. “A popular trend in the market this season ... is lightweight layering down. Available in bright colors and timely patterns, Lands' End lightweight down at 600 fill power allows for the perfect amount of warmth without the weight. Additionally, jackets that are temperature-rated will help you select a jacket that will work best in specific weather conditions.”
Designers are making skiwear more chic and more beautiful, Gagliardi says. They have clean lines and are attractively designed.
“There is such pretty stuff,” she says. “Skiing is a fun sport, so why not have a fun outfit to go with it. I have customers all the time who wear suits and business attire for work so they want something colorful and bright for the slopes. I had a male customer buy yellow ski pants because it was a change from the dark suit he wears all week to work.”
You will also see mixing and matching of colors and patterns, unlike what skiers wore before when the top and bottoms were a set. That also allows for more creativity when putting together a look, which is why skiers and non-skiers like the clothing, says Robert Yturri, senior vice-president global sales, product and brand management at Obermeyer.
“Skiwear is not just for those who ski, Yturri says. “It's a mix of slope-to-street fashion appeal combined with a high level of technical appearance. Our look is fashionable performance, for anyone who enjoys being outside in the cold of winter.”
It's the style of some of the pieces that make them attractive, Gagliardi says, but they also are made of the highest quality fabrics and technology that they are perfect for when you want to be warm and look good on the slopes as well as in the lodge afterward.
Some customers go to the ski resort but never venture to the slopes, Gagliardi says. They still want to look good. There are various choices of apres ski clothing and accessories has grown from fun fur vest — real and faux — to stylish boots and printed leggings, skirts and turtlenecks.
“This year, L.L. Bean skiwear features a nice blend of bold colors, all-over prints, and textured fabrications,” says Dan Simon L.L. Bean outerwear merchant manager. “Examples include our waterproof down ski jackets with tonal contrast zippers. Right now, anything goes, so there's an opportunity for anyone and everyone to express themselves on the mountain.
With the latest in insulation technology, outerwear is lightweight with superior warmth, water resistance, breathability, packability and comfort as well as looking good.
“We try to buy things that are different,” Gagliardi says. “When people come in here they are looking to express their fashion style, and we help them find the right outfit — whether they are a skier or not. Now all we need is some snow.”
Don't want to buy ski gear? Rent it
For those who want to ski but don't have or want to purchase the proper clothing, GetOutfitted.com is a web service where you assemble and rent your ski outfit and have it delivered — everything from clothing to equipment.
“I always wanted to get on the slopes, but didn't own any equipment,” says Julian Flores, GetOutfitted's founder, who started the company in 2013 in Colorado. “I found myself saying no to opportunities because it was too intimidating and expensive to buy the gear. I created GetOutfitted for people like me.”
Here is how it works:
• Browse the site for hundreds of options from base layers to goggles, all from top brands. Order what you need, and then mark if it's a three-, five- or 10-day rental.
• Your order will arrive on the date you request.
• Open it up and ski in style.
• When done, stuff it all back into the prepaid shipping envelope.
GetOutfitted has brands such as Burton, Patagonia, DaKine and Garmin, in products that just hit the shelves so you won't look like you're borrowing your Aunt Betsy's ski jacket. An adult's complete outfit (pants, jacket, gloves, and goggles) rents for $75 a day. Skis, boots and poles are $94 a day.
There's no more having to unload a fortune to outfit yourself or your family, and no need to schlep from friend's house to friend's house borrowing items. GetOutfitted makes it an easy, one-stop shop. And you don't even have to carry it up the mountain — simply mark the hotel or condo you'll be staying at, and have your gear delivered there. On your way home, stuff it in the prepaid bag and drop it at the front desk.
Details: 888-618-0305 or Getoutfitted.com