Why Fashion’s Ski Moment Is Making Me Take Up The Sport

Skiing has long been a fashionable sport. Who can forget the way Princess Diana made the world fall for bold shell suits whenever she’d hit the slopes with her children in the early ‘90s? Over decades, celebrities have played with ski gear, making it stylish in the process, from Princess Diana’s retro oversized puffers to Jackie Kennedy’s head-to-toe red ski suit and Dionne Warwick’s reindeer-printed sweater. 

Yet, when it comes to mountain dressing actually being fashionable enough to wear outside the slopes, it’s been a slow process. In fact, it’s one of the few reasons why I never tried the sport. Sure, my Caribbean-born self would rather surf over skiing any day, but after years of living on the East Coast, the lack of stylish options to ski in have made me refrain from even attempting it.

Recently, I was able to confirm my theory during a press trip to Park City, Utah, where I took a three-hour ski lesson that left me unable to walk for days. Even as a lifelong ballet dancer and volleyball player, skiing is still one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried. I’m sure the lack of ski gear didn’t help: I wore a puffy winter jacket, cargo pants, and knit gloves, a combination my instructor kept reminding me was a bad idea. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t the most fun: gliding through the bunny slopes quickly evolved into getting on a chair lift to try longer and steeper runs that terrified and excited me at the same time. Still, when I looked over to the other side, where trained skiers danced effortlessly through the snow, I remained unfazed by the sport, mostly because of the fashion. All-black outfits that made it hard to identify anyone, hefty ski glasses with orange reflective lenses, and bizarre prints that looked nothing like the chic outfits of celebrities in the past. 

Still, I wondered: Could there be a fashionable future in skiing for me? Turns out, there’s a way. 

Recently, a slew of collaborations have reimagined the ski season for the fashion-forward crowd. Take, for example, Canada Goose’s recent partnership with Reformation, which included floral-printed and colorblocked puffer jackets, as well as scarves and bright vests. Then, DL1961’s collaboration with ski brand Perfect Moment, bringing together the world of sports and denim in one collection, from a houndstooth denim puffer jacket and dark wash flared pants. “Creating a denim fabric that is sustainable, water resistant, and functional enough to ski in was one-half of the challenge,” DL1961 creative director Sarah Ahmed said via press release. “The other was constructing that denim in a lightweight down-based ski fit that represented the impeccable Perfect Moment aesthetic.” There have also been collaborations between brands like Michael Kors and Ellesse, which featured 80s-inspired puffer jackets, backpacks, and messenger bags, and Gucci Vault’s partnership with Head Sportswear, which featured ski suits, vests, and accessories in bright pink, yellow, and green hues. 

Other recent collaborations include LoveShackFancy x Bogner, FIRE+ICE, which featured an array of pink and blue puffer jackets and waterproof pants, as well as a Woolrich and Pespow collab, made from the brands’ self-dubbed “Techno Jacquard,” a two-layer nylon-jacquard hybrid that is water repellent, windproof, and breathable. 

What’s peculiar about this latest slew of collaborations is that they clearly blend sportswear and fashion in innovative ways that range from denim to colorful prints and playful takes on skiwear. While fashion has taken inspiration from the slopes before — let’s not forget Chanel’s fall 2021 collection, which included an array of logomania ski suits, and Miu Miu’s fall 2021, which included fluffy ski jackets and balaclavas — it’s hard to justify a luxury price when the outfit will likely endure extreme weather and action on the piste, leaving people to rely on straightforward ski brands for their performance offerings. But with these genuinely covetable collaborations, it seems that both worlds are looking to work with one another to bring both cabin hibernators and ski enthusiasts options to look stylish during the season. 

Actually, this newfound offering has made me reconsider whether I’ll try this sport again because, when skills are not enough, there’s always a chance to flex an outfit. 

See you on the bunny slopes. 

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Everything You Need For Your First Ski Trip

Why Après Ski Is Trending This Season

6 Fashion Trends That Will Take Over 2023