This is Part 4 of a series on shopping in the Vail Valley written by Jenn Bruno, a local Vail Valley fashion expert, blogger and owner of Luca Bruno.
While we spend a lot of time thinking about what we should wear on the slopes, in this post Part 4 of Vail shopping, we thought now is a good time to discuss what we should avoid. I posed the question to some local friends who spend a lot of time on the mountain and here is a local’s perspective on the dos and don’ts.
While we are a casual town, locals take their ski clothing seriously. It is often an investment for a few years. Real skiers and boarders think about warmth and durability first. That’s why one of the biggest don’ts is wearing jeans and casual clothing on the mountain. Ski manufacturers have actually taken inspiration from this fashion foul but don’t buy into it. Even if your favorite ski designer has developed a new waterproof denim pant — avoid it. And please write to your congressmen if you ever see it developed as a jacket.
Every Sunday, skiers are bombarded with an array of football jerseys. Supporting your team is great. While it’s a bit cliched to choose Sunday to don the look, that’s not my problem. A friend of mine described this look as a colorful marshmallow man rolling down the hill. Winter clothing presents its own troubling set of issues. Because we are trying to stay warm, a slim look can be difficult to attain. Throwing a football jersey (which is not the most flattering look to start with) on top of a puffy coat is madness. Wear your jersey under your jacket and show it off at Two Elk or Apres Skiing.
Which brings us to neon or as it was called in the eighties day glo. Sometimes its best to think about the fashion icons when deliberating a trend. And so I say, would Jackie O or Audrey ever wear neon? I think we all know the answer.
Ski and boarding clothing gives us certain freedoms to express ourselves. We can break free of our winter blacks, greys and browns and expand our color palate with pinks, oranges and purples. Which brings us to another locals don’t. Dress age appropriately. Yes this happens even in outerwear. Men should avoid the teen angst boarder look. Make sure your pants and jacket fit. Wearing clothing 2 sizes too big doesn’t make you younger it just gives the kids you are trying to emulate something to laugh about. The same can be said for us women, but in a completely opposite direction. Having stars or hearts on your bottom is cute when you are six. It screams cougar after fifty.
But not all of Vail fashion faux pas stay on the mountain. Bridge Street is full of them starting at 3pm.
Just as we should avoid matching running suits in Miami, we should never have his and her fur coats while walking around Vail. And please don’t top off the look with cowboy hats. Ladies, feel free to wear your fur coat. Please be aware of the cut, fur can make us look like a gigantic animal. Less is more. Men should avoid fur jackets and coats and invest in a wool or 3/4 length down coat for walking around Vail Village. Finally, please do not bring your fur coat into a movie theater without buying it a ticket.
I am avoiding the topic of big furry boots for a reason. Some trends never come back. This is an example of one.
Our final no no of apres is knowing when to take off your ski boots. This should happen right after you finish skiing or at least before it gets dark. There is no victory in dancing in your ski boots at the Red Lion at 10pm. There is only shame.
And then there is the opposite approach to everything I have written about. A dear friend expressed how happy it made her to see skiers and boarders expressing themselves through fashion on the mountain. She loved seeing people express their individuality through the mixing and matching of casual with bright neon and denim. A one piece suit on the mountain with a sprinkling of hot pink was a smile creator.
Vail welcomes a diverse and global crowd each year. Skiing and boarding are expressive sports. What better way to stand out in Vail than with a courageous albeit risky fashion choice. Fashion and skiing are after all about pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones. Above all – have fun.
This is a post by Jenn Bruno. Jenn has lived in Vail for over 20 years. Jenn and her husband Luca own and operate Due and Luca Bruno, two clothing boutiques in Vail Village. They love all that Vail has to offer and enjoy hiking and skiing with their two sons, Alec and Teddy.