It’s official: autumn has arrived. Despite primary school poems promising us golden leaves underfoot and bacon sandwiches for breakfast, the chillier months are miserable to begin with. Adjusting from sunshine to sleet is a very difficult transition, and plenty of things take a while to get used to: wrapping up properly, being tight with the central heating and overhauling your own personal wardrobe.
With this in mind, FashionBeans looks to the European ski resorts of the 70s to inject a little vibrancy and style into autumn/winter staples. This season, you can look every inch the Andorra snow sloper and intercontinental luxury can be a part of your everyday routine. Don’t simply limit yourself to tedium territory of monochrome – navy, grey and black shouldn’t dominate.
Take risks, and have fun with your style. It doesn’t matter if you have a champagne taste or a beer budget, looking the nouveau riche playboy is simpler than you think.
The definitive piece of the 70s ski resort look is the statement knit. Although simple cardigans and cable knits are strong choices, for that extra mile of style, bold, vibrant patterned jumpers are fantastic on-trend alternatives. European style may initially seem tacky, but after strong animal motifs from the likes of Jil Sander, the statement jumper is an essential wardrobe staple this season.
Don’t be afraid of colour. In fact, it is essential to nailing this look and may be one of few occasions in which you can combine red, blue, cream and green in one component of your outfit. They’re simple, they’re fun, and they’re a great update of retro 70s knitwear. However, a few rules do apply. The most important, though? Don’t go overboard.
Please, please, please don’t confuse statement knits with novelty sweaters. I once attended a Christmas jumper party in a turquoise, silver, red and blue number with sparkling reindeer’s stitched on the front – these are not replacements for the aforementioned pieces. They are not cool. They are simply ridiculous. Unless worn with a large dollop of self-piss-takery, they’re out of bounds I’m afraid and there is a line between vintage fun and sheer gaudiness.
As the jumper is our statement piece of this look, remember to keep things understated elsewhere. Quality, simple tweed, wool and canvas trousers should be tapered but not overtly skinny – comfort is the most important part of chalet boozing and post-slope parties. If recent trends are anything to go by, spray-on bottoms are slowly being replaced by looser, more form-flattering styles.
Avoid true ‘trend fits’ to retain a degree of tradition when taking inspiration from a previous era. By combining fleeting carrot fits or patterned trousers, the look immediately takes a garish turn and this needs to be avoided at all costs.
When wearing anything considered a ‘statement’, the rest of your outfit needs to be simple and classic, and the skiers of the French Alps are no exception to this rule. As the chino has seen a huge resurgence over previous years, try something a little different in thick, coarse-material trousers that are everywhere from the high street to high end designers. Matt Allinson recently made you all aware of the workerwear chino in his recent article on chino styles, and that is exactly the type of trouser you should be aiming for.
Navy, charcoal and jade are all strong colours that only compliment the vibrancy of statement knits, and investing a good pair will aid any good winter outfit.
Brands like North Face and Berghaus, formerly the sole reserve of the hikers and cyclists in our midst, have slowly become fixtures on the style radar with plenty choosing outdoor-inspired pieces this autumn. Quilted coats and even the notorious puffer jacket have cropped back up this season, and although I find the latter to be a little Eurotrash, there are many style-friendly variations.
When selecting a companion coat for this look, try aim for something sportswear inspired, with carabiner-like features and weather-proof materials. A combination between sports luxe and the outdoors has resulted in countless pieces that exude masculine finesse and season-appropriate finery – all qualities that you can buy into via the Internet and the high street.
Carhartt, Penfield and Marshall Artist are all great stockists of relevant, practical pieces that don’t compromise personal style, and everybody seems to have their own favourite brand in this department of the alpine inspired outfit. Fur-lined hoods, toggles and thick Parka-like fabrics are full of expeditionary appeal, but thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours trekking through glaciers to indulge in this hyper-machismo look.
Whilst ski boots may seem the obvious choice, they’re not the most sensible of footwear when traversing the streets and pubs of Britain. Thankfully, the alpine look doesn’t involve any fur-trimmed pleather or god-awful furry baubles attached to shoelaces – we’re looking to Aspen luxury for inspiration.
Solid, sensible boots are excellent in complimenting an otherwise busy outfit, and wearers should be looking for something comfortable and (most importantly) weather-proof. I can’t be alone in thinking that wet, sodden shoes are the very worst in winter footwear, so investing a few more pounds will ensure you can stay dry and warm regardless of the season.
Feel free to disagree, but I often believe that brown leather is a lot more informal than their darker-tanned brothers, and are perfect for casual looks and semi-smart ensembles. With this in mind, brogues, desert boots and even the age old Chelsea boot come in a variety of shades that are outfit appropriate and can dilute even the most forward-thinking of statement jumpers.
Finally, we can drag out the woolly bobble hats, gloves and canvas rucksacks this autumn/winter – accessories that are left to collect dust during the summer.
Slouch beanie hats are a touch ‘fresher lad’, so aim for something a little more classic in terms of fit, pattern and style. For a more rustic approach, try fingerless gloves, whilst belts should be plain, good quality leather and simple. Mittens can be done well, but can easily make you look as if you’re mother has dressed you; so unless you’re one of the most expert of fashion-conscious gents, leave well alone. I certainly would.
Team rolled-up hems and worn leather shoes with thick, woollen socks. The best hiking-inspired socks should be in a primary colour, providing a nice subtle contrast to neutral trousers and footwear. Such accessories are great for dressing up even the most simplest of outfits. The brightest of socks, however, doesn’t mean you can don a Spongebob Squarepants number in an attempt to be funny – leave the novelty for the less sartorial among us.
Experiment with snoods, scarves and bear trapper hats to find your perfect alpine look:
So, hopefully you’ve got all the essential components for a perfect 70s-inspired skiwear outfit. The statement jumper, the humble boot, the classic trouser and fine-tuned accessories are all you need to nail a vibrant playful look this autumn/winter period.
A little European subtlety combined with a sea of retro reference means your outfits can be strong without conforming to usual winter wardrobe ideals; style can be classic and fun.