9/12/11 – Why this winter’s jumpers are made for the Alps

One of my jumpers is pining for the Fjords

I’m no fashion expert, but I’ve detected a ski-chic theme to high-street clothing this winter. I’m talking Fair Isle meets Norwegian meets Austro-Swiss. The patterns this look involves appear not only on predictable garments such as hats, scarves and gloves, but on dresses, cardigans, wraps and jumpers – and on men’s as well as women’s wear.

Take a look at this lot:

http://tinyurl.com/5rtl9sw

http://tinyurl.com/cwp7gh3

http://tinyurl.com/bqnok26

This one is woolly and wintry

Yesterday evening I went late-night shopping in Guildford and the window of Gap, on the high street, reminded me of Aspen lodge scene from Dumb and Dumber.

As a long-time fan of these sorts of garments, I am joining in with enthusiasm. As I write, I’m wearing a striped cardie by Esprit that looks distinctly alpine, and recently I bought a long woollen top at Monsoon that has similar neat, striped patterns.

There's snow on my headband

It doesn’t stop at woollies. There is an implausiby huge choice of ear-muffs in Accessorize, which to me are a ski accessory. I wore a pair each winter aged eight to 12, both on and off the slopes, and rediscovered them in my thirties. I have two pairs, in rabbit fur, that I chanced upon in a gift shop in Devon. I often ski in them, either on their own or over a headband, but they don’t go well with goggles.

How hot is this hat?

Accessorize’s headbands looked disappointing, being un-lined, and I thought they’d probably “sag” quite quickly, and might not be that warm.

But their scarves and their gloves – including a massive choice of designs in fingerless form, with mitten fingers attached as a flap – were spot on.

In the Dale, at a restaurant in Hochgurgl, with guests of the original More Than Skiing

What’s annoying for me is that until a couple of months ago I had this winter’s perfect staple in my wardrobe – a Dale of Norway jumper. For the first time in the ten years I’ve owned it, it might have been vaguely cool.

But in a rare attack of “let’s get rid of everything I haven’t worn for a couple of years, and everything that doesn’t feel that flattering any more”, I bundled it off to charity. The other day I saw a man on the street in a Dale that looked just like it. It could well have been mine, and I have to admit it looked much better on him.

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