I recently read an article in Vogue UK titled "Vogue's Guide to Ski Chic". In said article, author Emily Sheffield gives us advice on how those of us who like to hit the slopes can do so with great panache and style, a feat that is apparently achieved most effectively by not ever going skiing.
How to be ski chic? Well, the quick answer to that question is "don't ski". The outfits are puffy, the cold plays havoc with your skin - never mind the chaos of your hair - and struggling with skis and poles akimbo is not as easy a pose to carry off as lying on a beach, elegantly covered in a wrap.Sigh.
Yes. All of these things are true. The gear can be cumbersome and the outfits puffy; not like the oft fantasised-about "ski bunny" outfits that consist of a pair of skintight leggings and a fur-trimmed silver parka. Last year, I actually saw a girl on the slopes in a very high-end ski outfit that resembled just that. She looked great, but all I could think about was that she could not possibly be warm enough in that outfit...I mean, it was cold...how was she not dead?
Your makeup, if you are brave enough to wear anything other than sunscreen, will likely come off. You will need a hat, or even a helmet. That's right...a helmet. You'll clomp unglamorously into the chalet for your lunch in your Frankenstein-esque ski boots, peeling off layers along the way, your hair pasted to your head, And of course, there is always the very real possibility that you might fall on your ass, skis and poles scattering the pristine landscape, a particular move otherwise known as the "yard sale."
Yet for those who are inclined to ski, or do any other "unglamorous" sporty activity for that matter, the idea of missing out on an opportunity to participate for reasons of flat hair, dry skin, and unflattering clothing seems absurd. Perhaps if you are a celebrity, with a rear-end insured for five million dollars and a string of paparazzi following your every move, you might have to worry about such things (certainly there are those who go to places like Gstaad or St. Moritz simply to see and be seen). I like to think that the rest of us recognise that the flat hair and windburned cheeks we are sporting look exactly like the flat hair and windburned cheeks of every other skier in the chalet.
If you ask me, there is nothing less chic than existing in a constant state of anxiety over what one looks like every waking moment. We've all known that person, and she's a right pain in the keester.
To be fair, Sheffield's article does go on to provide some actual tips for dressing for the slopes. Or more accurately, hanging-around near the slopes: moon boots, simple colours, and classic ski knits are all good advice. I take issue with her assessment that all one-piece ski suits are passé. The entire population of ESF instructors (École du Ski Français) wears them for the warmth, and there are some modern options out there that are far-removed from the graphic neon atrocities of the eighties. Her recommendation of being prepared for cocktails and black tie depends wholeheartedly on where you are going and with whom. Personally, I prefer a casual ski holiday. After all, the main attraction is supposed to be the mountains, is it not?
Make it happen.