Season's ski wear layers on the choices Fashion: There appears to be no downside as the makers of high-tech thermal wear pour on the color and a snowstorm of patterns. The slopes beckon.

January 04, 1996|By Mary Gottschalk | Mary Gottschalk,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

Whether you're planning to hit the slopes to ski, snowboard or simply be seen, you'll find plenty of choices this season, from the classic, high-end looks of Bogner to the hard-edged, alternative looks of relative newcomer Sneaux.

Color is important, as always. You want to stand out against all that white, and the best route is with bright colors, although neon is still to be avoided.

Patterns are as traditional as Fera International's Nordic snowflakes, edelweiss flowers, reindeer and other alpine motifs or as unusual as Bogner's Asian-influenced "Pagoda Power" looks.

This season's favorite parka length is three-quarters, and the single must-have item is the vest, long or short, and always ideal for layering.

High-tech fabrics continue to make snow sports comfortable by providing insulation against wet, chilly snow. Look for fabrics, such as Columbia's OmniTech, with microporous, polyurethane coatings that keep rain and snow out while allowing perspiration to escape through tiny pores.

Thinsulate by 3M continues to be the ultimate clothing insulator. Warmer than down with less than 1 percent moisture absorption, it's used by many manufacturers.

In keeping with high-tech fibers, there are high-tech features to match in these outfits -- articulated knees, cinched hoods and storm flaps.

If you're putting together your first snow-sports ward robe, or want to refine the pieces you already own, consider these tips from Obermeyer:

* Great-fitting, basic pants are the core of your wardrobe.

For your first pair, black or another neutral color will give you the most mileage.

Two-way stretch pants are slimming, flattering and work well for street, as well as slope wear.

* In picking a parka, look for one that flatters your shape. Longer, belted parkas are good for any body type.

Favorite classic colors are black, navy or other neutrals, but red is always right.

* If you have specific size needs, go to a shop that specializes in ski wear.

Today, all sizes and shapes are taken into design consideration; so whether you're tall or petite, regular or a plus size, you should be able to find clothes that fit.

If the store doesn't have your size in stock, it can usually special-order.

* A shell is a staple, as much a part of the basic snow wardrobe as pants and a parka. Layer it underneath your parka when it's really cold, and take off the parka when it's mild.

You can also wear it year-round for other activities such as bicycling, hiking or golfing.

* Accessories are just as important to your snow wardrobe as they are to your street wardrobe. Vests, hats, headbands, gloves and other items are ways to make your own fashion statement on the slopes.

Cool elements of ski wear

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* Cool wrap-around goggles by Arnet, Diesel, Black Fly

* Sweaters with folkloric winter motifs such as snowflakes or reindeer

* Solid-color cotton or wool jerseys with a band of thin, horizontal stripes in contrasting colors

* Anything fleecy (often made of microfibers and fibers recycled from old, plastic soda bottles): turtlenecks, jerseys, pullovers, zip-up sweaters

* Quilted parkas in offbeat color/fabric combos such as white nylon and black vinyl

* Lycra stretch pants in space-age silvers and grays

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