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Ski Fashion: You Are What You Wear, You Silly Goose

Fashion seems to run in cycles so that would explain the big, poofy, goose down ski jackets coming back into popularity. I still don’t know what explains the one-piece ski suit.

Retail is Jumping
Retail sales in the 2014-15 ski seasons through November 2014 reached $1.46 billion according to SnowSports Industries America. This marks an 8% increase over the same period in 2013-14 which hit a yearend total of $3.6 billion in retail sales. That’s a lot of ski hats. Now, not all these sales were clothing, that’s also a lot of skis and boards, but the clothing segment of the ski industry is booming.

Then There’s Hat Hair
You go into your local ski shop and you will notice more and more space devoted to ski apparel. The most drastic increase seems to be hats and gloves. I’m wondering; I do a lot of that around here, if the rise in ski hats and gloves available at your local ski shop is due to the aging demographic of the ski crowd. While I have noticed hand and toe warmers for sale everywhere now, it’s the ski caps that surprise me. Even though the majority of skiers and boarders standing in the lift line are wearing helmets, the space at my local ski shop for ski-caps has doubled. I believe that like me and most men, the largest demographic for skiers and boarders, are all losing their hair. I used to have a lot of hair to keep my head warm. I still have quite a bit of hair but most of it is in my ears and on my back.

It’s all Black and White to Me
For a few years there, the most popular color in ski clothing was drab. I know that’s not an official color but that’s what describes the fashions brought by the snowboarding craze. Drab and baggy seemed to be the style and that has thankfully changed. Color is finally coming back though I’m not sure if the neon, skin-tight, one-piece jumpsuit of the eighties is back yet. You might think otherwise if you’ve ever partied on closing weekend at any big resort. The one-piece never really left, they’ve just been hiding in the closet, patiently waiting for closing weekend. Of course so have all the Elvis and gorilla suits and every super hero costume there is.

You Put What on my Gloves?
They say earthy tones are in, but yet I see a lot of orange and lime green popping in as well. Okay, I’m sounding a little too much like a fashion consultant at the Oscars there. Things I have noticed though: our old buddy Plaid is doing well and wild prints and patterns are appearing on gloves as well as pants and jackets. There’s a company out there called Neff who has a bacon and egg glove that makes absolutely no sense at all to me. My approval though shouldn’t carry much weight with anyone since I am color-blind and as The Wife says, “All my taste is in my mouth.”

“A” for Effort
So, because of that I may not be the optimal person to discuss fashion but as the old quote goes,” I may not know art, but I know what I like.” I like the new colors coming out, though I maybe can’t actually tell you what color it is. I don’t think I’ll buy those bacon and egg print gloves but you have to give it to Neff for trying.

Outfits or Costumes?
If I was in charge—though even the cat out votes me in my home—I would make every day like closing day, just for the costumes. The gaggle of nuns (I’m really not sure what a group of nuns are called) are hilarious, although I do get bad flashbacks to parochial school. The ski bikinis you see on closing weekend are awesome, except there is always some guy who comes by in one and ruins it for everyone. As far as the industry goes, I wish the ski-clothing industry would key in on the lucrative spring skiing/closing week market. I don’t think Obermeyer or Patagonia make an Elvis suit but they should, with goose down for warmth.

by Michael Ryan

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