I just adore skiing. Not the part where you throw yourself down mountains – I’m hopeless at that, it’s genetic, I’m just not posh enough. No, I’m here purely for the aesthetic. The vibe. Cosy quilting and furry ear muffs; Bond-baddie polo necks and cartoonish moon boots.
Skiing is a moodboard of all the good bits of winter. Crunchy snow, invigorating crisp air, hot chocolate, the promise of longer days and fresh adventure. I love the first bit of winter, until the end of December. In those months the world is fairy-lit and gingerbread scented and I can wish merry Christmas to the nice man in the post office and feel like I’m in the Downton Abbey festive special, except for it being Ed Sheeran on the radio instead of Christmas carols.
January and February are a different story. These are the depths of the rubbish part of winter, to be trudged through while feeling listless. But while most of us are waiting grumpily at the bus stop with cold toes, trying not to get splashed by noxious puddle water and feeling vaguely cross that it’s still dark all the time, the ski people are snugly padded and rosy-cheeked and wearing sunglasses. Ski people make winter look fabulous – and I want in. Which is where faux-ski fashion comes in. Faux-ski is like après ski but without the eye-watering expense of an actual ski holiday. Faux-ski – wearing ski jackets and snow boots and Alpine knitwear, but for real life – is this season’s breakout outerwear trend.
The 1% already wear their plush Moncler or Perfect Moment quilting out to brunch in Mayfair on chilly days, the pricey ski jacket having taken over where the fur coat left off, a decade or two ago, among the jet set. That arctic white does set off a Verbier tan beautifully, it must be said. But this is different, because faux-ski is for everyone. Now that the kind of North Face quilted jackets that were once reserved for hiking expeditions are standard dog-walking attire, the rise of ski stuff as a fashion trend is the logical next step in jazzing up your coat game.
Faux-ski is way more fun than the generic dark-Puffa-with-trackpants look that is still all around us. The high collars that keep out windchill on the slopes bring a dash of Audrey Hepburn elegance. Belted quilted jackets – practical for skiing because they stop snow from sliding up your back if you fall on your bum – have a Y2K snow bunny vibe, which is very this season. (At the time of writing, there were some bargain Isabel Marant Etoile “Dilys” ski jackets to be had in the Net-a-Porter sale.)
Chevrons and high-shine metallics are as effective for getting noticed in real life as they are for getting spotted by mountain rescue. Moon boots – and the thigh-hugging, bootcut trousers that work with them – are very Paris Hilton, which as you will be aware of by now is once again A Good Thing, however baffling that might seem. Even balaclavas (also known as ski masks) have been all over TikTok, and starring in Zara window displays, recently. Doubling as a face covering, the balaclava is a practical pandemic winter accessory.
There is one more accessory you need. Not goggles, but attitude. For which, feel free to channel Lady Gaga in her blood-red snowsuit in the House of Gucci movie, downing an alfresco espresso and rapping a spoon against her cup like a judge with a gavel. Nail that, and you are a bona fide skiing champ. It’s easy when you know how.