Sometime during the fall, I ran across an article on-line about ski fashion trends for 2011. I always sort of chuckle to myself when I see a phrase like “ski fashion.” I mean, really, shouldn’t the first concern be “ski apparel comfort” or “ski apparel function?” Skiing is a sport of the elements: snow, wind, sun. Outerwear can make or break your day. Sure people used to ski in woolen knickers and Norwegian sweaters, but they were wearing wool — the high-performance fiber for the ages. At some point, maybe with the arrival of Bogner stretch pants in the 1960s, we moved on away from basic wool toward fashion.
Despite my first reaction, of course I read the article. I am female, and while no one would confuse me with a clothes horse of any stripe (polka dot or print), I do try to look good, even if I don’t always succeed.
Tip One: Your Clothes Don’t Have to Match
The first tip made me feel great! It read “You don’t always have to match!” YES! Not having to match means I can wear my favorite coat over my favorite fleece over my favorite base layer with my favorite pants and if I don’t match — who cares?! Then I read further. The article said “you don’t have to matchy-match” as in match perfectly. They still suggest that the colors one wears be harmonious and even better that perhaps one pair a cute animal print parka with a bright solid pair of pants. Or unique print ski pants with a solid coat. Whatever….
Tip Two: Back In Black
On to tip number two: “Black is the new black.” Darn! I am still operating on the assumption that “brown is the new black.” After years of wearing black, I switched to brown two seasons ago, only to have the fashion police switch back to black this year. Now, I am pretty sure that black has always been black. I am also pretty sure that there are fashion and advertising executives who sit in large offices high atop Manhattan discussing how to make American women spend their money according to whatever color is the “new black.” Remember a few years ago when “grey was the new black?” That bombed. So then they chose brown. Having hazel eyes and brown hair, I was all over that one. Next year, blue will be the new black or maybe fuschia will be the new black. Again, whatever….
Tip Three: Who Cares?
There were three tips in this article, but I decided not to read number three. It had something to do with having stylish base layers (you know, long underwear, only don’t call it long underwear because the people in the offices high atop Manhattan are now calling long underwear “base layers” and I have bought into it. Base layer sounds so much nicer than long underwear and doesn’t have the same itchy, pioneer-living connotations.) If my base layers have to be stylish, I am doomed.
Having failed Ski Fashion 101 for 2011, I thought about how my family dresses to hit the slopes and further thought “Hey, why can’t I make up some rules?” Because if I make them up, I will like them and I will abide by them! (Like my rule that it is okay to eat cookie dough for breakfast, because cookie dough has eggs in it and morning is a really good time to make cookies because you have the whole day to clean up the kitchen.) Thus, evolved the Brave Ski Mom Fashion Rules for 2011.
Rule Number One: Bright is the New Black for Teenagers. We started noticing really bright colors on the slopes of Snowbird and Alta two seasons ago. Bright, blinding fluorescent orange, pink, blue or green paired with bright, blinding fluorescent orange, pink, blue or green. Inevitably, these colors were worn by really awesome male skiers between the ages of 14 and 24. They ski solid and they look flashy. This year, the US Ski Team is sporting these same colors in reverse — green jacket and blue pants.
Rule Number Two: Hand-Me-Down is the New Black for the Younger Sibling. Sad, but true. Our younger son gets a lovely hand-me-down Obermeyer coat nearly every season. Usually in a combo of red or black, it is a great looking coat, that he doesn’t want to own. He has had one new coat in his skiing career — a really super cool blue and gold Spyder. Sadly he outgrew it and it was passed onto our neighbor. I have offered to buy our son a new coat this season, but he doesn’t like to shop and I don’t like to shop and it will be March before we get our act together.
Rule Number Three: A Great Deal is the New Black for Men. My husband is the perfect size for manufacturer’s samples. Hence his originally-quite-expensive ski coat and pants from Descente. We bought them one September in Vail for a song. But even if he weren’t the perfect sample size, he could pick up good deals in the off-season because 1) there are always more men’s clothes on sale than women’s and 2) he is not very picky and is happy so long as the clothes are functional and are not obnoxious in pattern or color. Clearly, he is too old for rule Number One.
Rule Number Four: I Love My Coat and It Will Be My New Black Until I Don’t Love It Anymore (Or Until My Husband Buys Me a New One). I am not one for shopping for myself. I don’t really like to shop (I would rather ski or run or bike or cook or read or clean closets or almost anything else than shop) and I don’t like to pay full price for anything. I love deals, but since I don’t like to shop, I don’t usually get deals, so I don’t get anything. I will wear the same ski clothes until they are either worn-out or so out of fashion that even I notice that they are ugly. Or until my husband buys me something new. My husband doesn’t mind shopping, especially if done with a catalog. He has bought my last two ski coats and pants for me, as Christmas gifts. The most recent coat, a quite-fabulous (if I do say so myself) Roxy in brown and off-white is a real winner. I never fail to get compliments on it — usually from 20-somethings — and it is super warm.
Thanks honey. And don’t worry, I still love this coat, even if it isn’t the new black. You don’t need to page through the catalogs quite yet.
PS: After I wrote this, my son and I successfully went shopping. He has his very own ski coat and pants this season. No more hand-me-downs for him.
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