It’s not unusual for a fashion trend to suddenly pop up on Instagram. That was the case with the Nap Dress and the checkered print trend. And yet, when Instagram became flooded with images of people wearing snowsuits, it took me by surprise. In a span of a single week, celebrities ranging from Sophie Turner (in North Face) to Winnie Harlow (in Moncler) and Kylie Jenner (in Prada) were all wearing their winter best in snowy locales.
Brands have picked up on the trend, too. In the last week alone, Paris-based label Casablanca released a ski-inspired drop as part of its winter collection (see top photo), and plus-size fashion brand Fashion to Figure debuted an après ski collection in collaboration with CURVYCon founder Chastity Garner Valentine. Last month, aughts-beloved sports brand Kappa launched its new ski collection, while Dior’s Kim Jones released the brand’s first-ever ski capsule.
Adult snowsuits are nothing new. Princess Diana famously wore colourful styles to ski in the ‘80s and ‘90s, as did the majority of people who spent any time on the slopes then. I was forced to wear one by my parents as a child in the ‘90s, and then strongly advised as a teenager in the early aughts. Though, as an angsty teen girl who desperately wanted to blend in rather than stand out, I opted for an all-black one rather than the colour-blocked blue one my mother suggested. (I now regret it — most of the snowsuits currently catching my eye being bold and colourful.) Snow sports/aesthetic enthusiasts continue to wear the style year after year, and both luxury and outdoor brands continue to provide their customers with functional collections.
Today, though, the snowsuit isn’t relegated to the slopes or snow towns. Looking through Instagram confirms that people who’ve never touched a snowboard or skis are jumping on the trend, with street style full of fashionable variations on the staple. An article from The Cut recently profiled After Ski, a project that sources vintage ski suits and sells them as part of its community events. Additionally, options for snowsuits are available via fashion retailers, big and small.
It makes sense that the snowsuit is becoming ubiquitous even in cities with no easy access to mountains. As a result of the pandemic, people are spending more time outside, whether they’re actually skiing, hiking through nature, or going on long walks in the city. Even when outdoor socialising was on the cards, it was required to dress as if for a day on the slopes rather than a quick lap around the park with a flask of coffee. And, as anyone who has worn a snowsuit can confirm (me, included), it’s a practical way of staying warm during the winter.
Not only are snowsuits extremely warm and comfortable — probably the biggest point of consideration for anyone dressing today — they instantly make a fashion statement. Look at Kristen Stewart wearing a monogrammed onesie from Chanel for the luxury house’s AW19 show in 2019, and Zazie Beetz wearing an overall-like version at Sundance last year. With non-outerwear clothing showing up only in the confines of our homes, for those of us in cities with cold weather, snowsuits can make their wearers stand out while outdoors. Something that even the most daring winter coats can’t do — at least not with the same level of comfort that a ski suit, essentially a padded onesie, provides.
This ties into what’s shaping to be one of 2021’s biggest trends: outdoor glam. If cottagecore, with its cardigans and nightgown-like dresses, dominated summer and AW20 fashion, style-forward outdoor clothing is the leading trend right now. The North Face x Gucci collaboration, one of this season’s most anticipated (and celebrity-endorsed) collections had models taking a very glamorous camping trip through the Alps for the campaign. Not only are the puffers and hiking boots from the collab line as covetable as any of Gucci’s ready-to-wear offerings, but they are also practical for our new outdoor lifestyles, with logo-adorned hiking backpacks and tents part of the collection. The forthcoming TELFAR X UGG collaboration also sees the former’s signature shopping totes in cold-weather-ready shearling, and the latter’s go-to winter boots get the ultimate cool brand approval.
Add to that the fact that snowsuits are fairly genderless — something that fashion is actively moving toward as a whole — and the myriad of ways that they can be styled off the slopes, and I shouldn’t have been surprised when snowsuits exploded on Instagram.
All to say: I am pulling out my snowsuit that has been vacuumed packed for the last 15 years. See you outside… somewhere.