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Monday 16 January 2017

Ski fashion through the ages

This weekend marked the panicky “4 weeks until we go skiing” weekend for me. Four weeks of “Argh,I will never be fit enough” and “argh, why do children always insist on GROWING?”

Anyway, last weekend, we had some of the lovely friends who we are going with over to our place, and we took them on a tour of local outdoor sports outfitters in a quest to get them kitted out in some new gear.This clearly made me realise that, while I am quite good at spending my own money, spending other people’s is ten times more fun! It was a largely successful trip, resulting in them mainly getting what they came for, and no children whining.

Our friend M has not updated his ski attire since we first went skiing with him around 15 years ago, and this got me pondering (in a totally unresearched, unscientific way) how slopeside fashion has moved on over the years...

The 70s:

The earliest known photograph of me on a pair of skis dates from roughly 1976 at the age of not very old, courtesy of a winter holiday in Austria. Sadly, despite my best efforts, I was unable to unearth it in my parent's house for the sake of this blog post. You'll have to believe me when I say it involves a very fetching bright red one-piece and the biggest 70s-style sunglasses on a very small child - very vaguely like this, but smaller:

Image result for 1970s child ski clothing
via Pinterest

My knowledge of the fashions of this time is slightly sketchy, but I can only deduce that the seventies followed the high fashion knitted jodhpurs and woolly jumpers of the Bond films of the 1960s with some slightly more basic “technical” properties, such as waterproofing.

The 80s:

The 1980s of course is where slope fashion really kicks up a notch - with added colour, added print and added volume. Common for both men and women was the all-in-one, either in delicate pastels or primary colours with graphic prints. These styles can still be spotted on the ski slopes of the French alps in the over-50s if you look carefully, but the photo I'm using to demonstrate this look IS from the family archive - eyes have been starred to protect the innocent...:

80s ski fashion

The 90s:

Starting off in counter-culture towards the late 80s and the early 90s, by the late 90s “snowboard style” was becoming more mainstream and with a defined identity - even influencing mainstream ski fashions, which got looser and baggier and reverted to two pieces

Image result

The 00s:

Thankfully, the noughties is where I first started my forays into serious downhill territory, and by this
point designer fashion was making a name for itself on the slopes, as in this photo of Victoria
Beckham – Chanel skis, anyone?

Victoria Beckham with Chanel Skis
via Pinterest

More obviously, however, for those of us mere mortals that could not stretch to Prada ski jackets, this merely meant a more toned down aesthetic – at least as far as colours went. Black was, after all, the new black, and even if you weren't dressed as the milk tray man, you were probably dressed fairly "tastefully" in comparison to some of the 80s and 90s.

The 2010s:

Which brings us to today. The biggest change in the last ten years has probably been the move from "helmets for the kids" to "helmets for all", and it's now rare to see people without them on the slopes. Colour and pattern are also making a comeback in a big way, and not just on jackets, but also on salopettes, as is ski wear that doesn't look much like ski wear -  beware the perils of a furry hood in the snow! If you're thinking of updating your look, therefore, you probably have more choice than ever - if you really want to, you can even find one-piece suits for adults again...

Dare you try that "anything goes" vibe? Here are some of my favourite slightly wackier picks:

L-R, from top left: Decathlon slide ski trousers, Burton radar jacket, Women's chevron "oneskee", Smith Valence ski helmet,  Top Shop zebra co-ord, Roxy Rockferry goggles, Sweaty Betty Jardin long sleeve top and leggings, Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex pro pants,  Dare2Be Illation jacket


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