I hadn’t gone skiing in almost 7 years before I travelled to Norway earlier this month. I’m not a very active person (which is possibly the understatement of the year), so I was a little wary of getting back on the slopes again. I went with three of my closest friends: 2 had never skied before, and 1 was about as experienced as me. I felt marginally better knowing I couldn’t possibly be the worst one there.
The best part, however, was getting to buy a whole new ski wardrobe! Ski wear is expensive though, especially anything that looks semi-fashionable, and I didn’t want to break the bank. After a lot of research, I managed to find some pieces that looked amazingly chic but were easy on the wallet. It felt selfish keeping my finds to myself, so read on for my edit on where to find fashionable women’s skiwear on a budget.
Packing Essentials for a Ski Trip
I’m that person that’s permanently cold (you know, that one in the office who’s always trying to sneakily turn the heating on). I’ve been wearing a wool coat since September, and thermals since October – embarrassing, I know. I knew I really needed to get some proper winter-proof ski wear in order to survive -10 degree weather!
The trick to staying warm is wearing layers. A lot of thin layers are better than wearing bulky jumpers because it’s easier to regulate your body temperature that way. You’ll be super cold when sitting on a ski lift, but you’ll heat up quickly once you start skiing.
Here’s a list of what you need to pack for a ski trip to stay warm on the slopes.
1. Base layers
The main priority with these is that they keep you dry, rather than warm. If they get damp from sweat, that could be seriously dangerous at those temperatures. Layer these with thermal clothing and thin knits to stay warm.
Exercise clothing makes for great base layers as they wick away moisture, and means you don’t need to spend your budget. Hurrah! However, the more expensive (often ski-specific) kinds, like the beautiful pieces from Sweaty Betty however, will act as thermal layers too. This means you can show them off on the slopes, or during aprés-ski drinks. My personal favourite are the ‘Drift’ set!
2. Thermal layers
Thermals are an absolute lifesaver when you’re skiing. They’re inexpensive, help keep you super warm, and can be really fashionable if you search hard enough. If you’re on a budget, I found some super cosy leggings from Primark for £5. They were impressively warm for the price, and came in a variety of colours. The M&S and Uniqlo ones were great too, but I didn’t find them considerably warmer and they had a significant price difference.
I’ve been absolutely loving the retro 80s ski vibes this season. Though they were barely seen under my ski jacket, I was drawn towards anything with a bold (and winter-y) pattern. Fairisle, stripes and geometric colour block patterns are my favourites, especially jumpers that had a high neck to help me stay warm. I’m seriously lusting after the KIOMI rose star printed jumper below – it reminds me of a more colourful version of the Perfect Moment ones!
I had a couple of thin layers at home that I could make work, and found others from ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Topshop and even a vintage Ralph Lauren fairisle knit from Depop. I also became a huge fan of the Uniqlo fleece turtlenecks – they’re super soft, warm and really flattering.
4. Ski jacket and trousers
Arguably the most important parts of your ski outfit, and a definite staple for your packing list, your outer layers need to be both fashionable and functional. Find something windproof and waterproof, and ensure they’re loose enough to allow lots of movement (even with layers!) My personal favourites are from Moncler and Perfect Moment (seriously, check them out, they’re gorgeous), but they’re far from budget friendly.
I had my eye on the White Faux Fur Hood Ski Jacket Topshop Sno collection with black piping. I fell in love because it had major luxe vibes. However, I ended up deciding on the plain black belted one instead. I’ve worn it as a simple puffer jacket a few times since, and I love how versatile it is! Topshop are a total lifesaver if you’re looking for cheap and fashionable women’s ski jackets.
For ski trousers, I wanted something high waisted and figure-hugging .. they’re just so much more flattering than regular ski trousers, and I knew I’d then wear them again. I found these Black Straight Leg Ski Trousers from the Topshop Sno collection that were ridiculously comfortable. They were lined with something super plush and incredibly warm, so I could wear those with just one base layer underneath. I also loved that they had suspenders on them – they gave such a vintage vibe! My friend went for softshell ones from Dare2B, which were super stretchy, comfortable and flattering, but not as warm.
It’s definitely worth packing some super warm and thermal ski socks to save your little toes. You can layer 2-3 pairs of normal socks, but you’ll undoubtedly feel much comfier (and probably warmer) in a pair of ski socks. You can pick them up from general sports stores – e.g. Sports Direct, Mountain Warehouse, Trespass and Decathlon – and they won’t break the bank.
Although you won’t be wearing them on the slopes, you’ll need some warm and waterproof shoes for aprés-ski or for exploring the nearby towns. I was lusting after these gorgeous Sorel Joan of Arctic snow boots, but couldn’t justify the price – especially knowing I couldn’t exactly wear them around London! Instead, I found these bargain dupes on Amazon, that were incredibly warm and super comfortable, and at a fraction of the price. I was incredibly impressed with the quality too – they stayed warm and waterproof, even when being ankle-deep in fresh snow!
For skiing, make sure you pack loads of thick (waterproof) gloves, scarves and hats to layer up with – you’ll need them! We didn’t wear helmets whilst we skied, but some ski resorts have made it a requirement. Instead, I layered a headband and a super chunky beanie from Topshop to help keep my ears warm. I also nabbed some cheap cat-eye sunglasses from River Island to protect my eyes from the sun (and protect my Ray Bans from the snow!) I’d definitely recommend this for your ski packing list, because there’s nothing worse than breaking an expensive and well-loved pair of sunnies!
Where to Shop for Fashionable Ski Wear, On a Budget
Whilst you can pick up some bargain ski clothes from Sports Direct, Trespass, Mountain Warehouse and the works, they’re often not fashionable. That’s fine for the base layers and thermals, but I’d recommend splurging on your outer ski wear (jacket and trousers) if you want stylish and Instagrammable look for the slopes. Whilst I love all-in-one ski suits, they’re impractical when you need the bathroom and less wearable for aprés-ski events, so I’d recommend getting separate pieces. I love a belted jacket to nip in your waist – preferably something with some design elements (like the black piping on that gorgeous Topshop one!) If you’re on a budget, it might be worth looking for something in a simple colour, like my black one, that you can wear again.
My top picks for budget skiwear is: Asos, Dare2B, Topshop, Primark, Urban Outfitters and Superdry. Don’t forget to look for sales in the higher end places, such as Sweaty Betty and Spyder, for some budget (and super high quality) finds. I’d also recommend scouring eBay for some pre-loved bargains. Most people tend to buy skiwear for a holiday, wear it once, and then sell it on. This means you can find some basically unworn, gorgeous and great quality ski clothes on eBay for an amazing price!
Thanks for reading my post on what to pack for a ski holiday, and how to find budget-friendly fashionable skiwear! Are you going skiing soon? Is there anything you’re taking that’s not on my list? Comment below!
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