A working theory: Summer is a more favorable time to dress because we dress in themes. It is the same logic that makes festival culture or slumber parties or Halloween so appealing. We submit ourselves to the fantasy of slipping into identities that are either not our own or further double down on who we are or want to be.
Never mind summer’s inherent competitive advantage with its pleasant weather, or that the themes we dress in are often tied to a universally favorable circumstance—vacation and the encircling matter of relaxation. If only we could find a theme to make dressing in and for the winter more joyful, perhaps then a fractured polar vortex distributing arctic air like it is a butter dispenser at a popcorn stand would become more palatable.
Of course, this would require that the theme naturally lend itself to insulated clothing and practical footwear—the antithesis of fantasy—and all sorts of accessories that have nothing to do with seashells and that have, until now, felt more like necessary evils to avoid death by hypothermia.
Good news for you, me and our appendages: We have landed upon a style phenomenon that will seamlessly lend itself to all of the above. It takes a page from style cues of apres-ski (defined as the entertainment for “after ski,” in French) and applies it to the malaise of winter dressing as it occurs outside the boundaries of swanky European ski towns (see: Gstaad, Courchevel, St. Moritz, Zermatt) and Aspen.
Remember that scene in Dumb & Dumber when Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas descend from a winged Lamborghini dressed in elaborate nylon jumpsuits, boots with the fur and ski goggles still fecklessly affixed to their heads? Apres-ski. Think suspender jumpsuits and neon puffer coats, fleece-lined traction boots and as many extravagant trapper hats as your head can withstand. Are you feeling warmer already? Now imagine the details of the entertainment, legs up in a hot bath (but don’t forget your faux fur gloves), gyrating hips at the peak of a mountain with spiked hot chocolate in hand, charades next to the fireplace at the lodge! Never mind the level of your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) to do any of this because the greatest part of the style movement is, no question, that you need nothing—not a passport, not boatloads of cash to accommodate extravagant lodging and ski passes—but the right state of mind.
Proof of concept? The Apres-Ski categories that permeate and grow ever deeper among websites like Matchesfashion and Net-a-Porter. Instagram cues like those of Giovanna Battaglia, or Tamu McPherson. These photos! Styled from the comfort of this laptop, positioned on a kitchen counter in downtown Manhattan, and shot in a very small, very charming co-working space not very far from said kitchen counter, to bring you nothing more or less than good clothes that are conveniently warm, too.
They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but you can have your style and wear it without freezing to death, which is so much better.