I’ve never understood the fascination with skiing.
People talk about it with the burger-lust of a dieter; they pine and plan and salivate. They bore everyone with the gory details before carefully curating a barrage of photo evidence.
For me, the idea of throwing myself down an icy mountain with 5 foot blades strapped to my feet has never appealed. I don’t like heights, or braying posh boys called Toby and Alec, and I place great value on unshattered femurs.
I also hate the cold.
This, I must admit, doesn’t stop me occasionally yearning for some of the side-orders I see in the photos- the paraphernalia of après-ski. The hygge-ready chalets, the imagined scent of gluwein cossetting the nostrils and the 8 lbs of Swiss cheese mainlined at every meal time. Yes please.
It’s also (and let’s be real now, most importantly) all about the clothes. If you sidestep the helmets and salopettes, you find enormous sunglasses, enormous snow boots, enormous knitwear. All that enormity I can get on board with.
Which brings me to half-zips, a name I’m coining for the high-neck jumper with a zip that, crucially, only reaches from chin to chest. (No actual tracksuit tops here, for the love of God. I still have trauma-induced night-sweats from hockey practice. Besides, athletic gear is a whole other sartorial story, having gained quite obscene traction on the runways for the past few seasons. I guess it’s used to going the distance).
What I’m talking about still has a hint of the ‘sportif’, the zip sees to that. But it’s cosy and sleek, the sort of thing you’d willingly fling on after a near-miss with a snowboarder before diving into the melted brie.
Gloriously though, it translates pretty well into real life too, still bringing with it the languorous glamour of an 80’s porno, which starts with a wide shot of a snow lodge and ends in a sweaty mess on the sheepskin rug by the fire- although us muggles mostly wear it with a pair of jeans in a Pret.
I love the ‘will they, won’t they?’ nature of the neckline. As a die-hard fan of the polo-neck, you’re only ever one easy move away from such a silhouette. Wind’s got up a bit? Zip that sucker up!
But, as previously mentioned when I was grappling with whether or not white jeans would betray my Essex roots, this ‘transitional’ (bleugh) time of the year, when it’s neither one thing or the other, means that versatility is the name of the game. The ability to free one’s neck at a moment’s notice is a seriously underrated trick, in my opinion, particularly when you live in London and have to negotiate howling winds one second, and somebody else’s body heat on the tube the next.
It’s a useful layering item too. Treat as aforementioned polo-neck; chuck it under a slip dress or a with jeans and a blazer, and you get the same kind of thing you’ve (I’ve) always quite enjoyed but with that hackneyed fashun term, ‘a point of difference’.
But equally, as a proper jumper, it still does its thing even as you’re bored to tears by yet another crew-neck sweater. So until our dreary climes deign to suggest a sun-beam or two, I’m going with this gently pimped-up jumper.
And even if my raging cheddar habit is the nearest I’ll be getting to a slippery slope any time soon, at least I won’t be cold. Now, pass the brie.