According to venerable ski pundit Peter Hardy in the Daily Telegraph at any rate, though I have to say I sincerely hope he’s wrong. There’s hideousness aplenty out there in the world of ski fashion without adding purple to the mix.
In the olden days skiwear was tastefully understated, consisting largely of tweedy plus fours, home-knitted Christmas jumpers, sensible walking boots and flat caps. Women might venture into figure hugging legging things and were excused the necessity of smoking a pipe, but generally skiers looked like a cross between your grandad and Perry Como.
Things gradually became less conservative, more wintersports-specific and at the same time increasingly less and less tasteful until we hit the ’80s and were all obliged to run about in skintight patchwork onesies in various shades of highlighter pen, gay headbands and huge poodle perms. Oh the shame of it. There was quite a lot of purple around then, in fact, when I come to think about it. Not to mention turquoise, possibly the nastiest colour known to man.
The whole wintersport fashion thing suffered a major trauma with the arrival of upstart snowboarding yoof (most of which has since morphed into staid snowboarding middle age and is consequently wearing North face jackets which tell work colleagues they have a cool hobby, but in an acceptably low key client-friendly way), and as a result virtually anything could be hailed as the next can’t-be-seen-without-it trend.
A quick trawl through various ski fashion sites and summaries would suggest that faux fur is in, though I can’t see this one taking off amongst Courchevel’s oligarch trophy-tart community which will no doubt be sporting the real thing as usual. We once watched one teetering past what used to be Skiworld’s Hotel Catina wearing eight inch heels and an outfit which appeared to consist of several hundred weasels. It was unclear whether the small dog under her arm was a pet or a patch kit.
Fitted is back, if you believe the fashion writers, though I don’t recommend it unless you want to be mistaken for a Russian trollop, an Italian or someone very rich. What is it with wealthy people and dreadful clothes? You see them strolling round St Tropez sporting pastel Lacoste polo shirts tucked into too-tight high-waisted trousers, like peope who’ve watched too much Austin Powers. Bizarre.
Boarders, on the other hand, seem to be sticking with the tent-wearing look and show no sign of dropping their preference for nowhere-near-the-waisted trousers. Apart from that though, it’s a bit difficult to tell what this season’s trend is supposed to be, with Burton (for example) offering us bright colours, muted colors, geometric designs, checks, blobs, stripes and a thing made up to look like a lumberjack shirt on acid. Really Jake, how do you expect us to know what to wear? Make your mind up, man.
Spyder continues to do its bit for the hideous ski jacket tradition with yet another collection of truly nasty designs covered in huge spiders and aimed at the pretend-you’re-an-instructor market, while French brands Degre 7 and Duvillard carry on with their tried and tested overpriced girly faff and manly romper suit ranges. No need to change a winning formula, clearly.
My own hot tip for this season is beards. And not just for the chaps either, in these modern days of equality, casual sex and women arm-wrestling pints. No, facial hair for all is the way forward on the fashion front, thanks first of all to Beardowear’s range of beanies with foldaway face-warming beard attachment. Perfect for those cold January days. Not sure the beer bottle ‘taches are a goer though, boys, looking like a bit of a gimmick to me.
These are fairly discreet beards, but for those looking to rock the full on ZZ Top facial hair experience I have to recommend the Beardski.
Warm, funtional, cutting edge trendy and it makes you look like a yeti. Which ticks all the skiwear accessory boxes as far as I’m concerned. Team it with one of those Eisbär fake hair beanies and you’ve definitely got the look. Sharp dressed man indeed.