Ice Queen (by Tess)

January 4, 2009 at 9:34 AM 1 comment

Hello faithful readers! It gives me great pleasure to inform you that, after toiling in obscurity for the past semester as leading lady in the off-off-off-off-Broadway show titled “Tess Does College,”  I’ll be dusting off my metaphorical tap shoes and reprising my blogging duties for a limited monthlong run. (Incidentally, I’ve been looking to get a great pair of tap shoes made in sizes 11 and up for Barefoot Tess, but that’s a post for another day.)

Fear not — I’m still a happy and healthy full-time student, and am, in fact, returning to Vermont this afternoon. During this all too brief vacation, I’ve been asked countless times by fellow Marylanders how I can possibly stand the winters “up there,” but truth be told, there’s a lot to recommend the cold season at Middlebury. Because we take only one course during our January mini-mester, otherwise known as J-term, there’s ample time left not just to blog, but also to party and ski.

Now, I’m no Picabo Street, but I did grow up hitting the slopes at least a few times every winter, so I’m no snow bunny either. Suffice it to say that if you put me at the top of anything, I can pretty much get down it, though I can’t make any promises about how graceful I’ll look doing so. And yet it’s precisely because I harbor no inflated illusions about my skiing prowess that I’m content to focus my energies on the aspect of the sport which interests me the most: the fashion.


I’m not saying you should go overboard. Striking the ideal balance between fashion and function in the sporting world is difficult, and I’m willing to bet that leather chaps and Chanel suspenders is one those looks (of which there are many) that only Posh can pull off. Being tall adds to the challenge, as traditional ski clothes tend to be cut in the hemline and crotch for women of average height. Thankfully, female snowboarders wear their pants extra long to achieve the desired slouch in the ankles — I’ve been a devotee of Burton’s Guard style for several years, and right now they look fresh in a winter white.

But first, to back up a little ways, you’ll need a really great under layer. If you’re dead set on finding long johns that are actually long, you’ll probably want to look in the men’s department. Personally, my lower body is so narrow that I tend to buy small women’s bottoms and just wear extra high socks, but you can mix and match according to your own formula at Patagonia. I prefer the Capilene 3 weight, which is a bit pricier than the basic stuff but always delivers the perfect levels of warmth and comfort, whether you’re wearing them on the mountain or under your skinny jeans on a subzero day. I’ll be ordering a new set in that gorgeous Shoreline Blue color for this upcoming winter.

Next step is ditching the tattered old Land’s End crewneck you inherited from your brother in favor of something more stylish. Cashmere is a no brainer, and I love this effortless flag sweater from 291, which looks like a much cuter version of your favorite vintage sweatshirt. The piece de resistance of your outfit, though, should be a really fabulous (and fabulously warm) jacket. If you ski at least a few times a winter, it’s worth investing in something top quality that you’ll wear for years, like this gorgeous chocolate puffer from the legendary European outfitter Moncler. I own a similar-looking NILS style, and the chairlift operator at our Snow Bowl always remembers my distinctive fur hood so I don’t have to use my cold and begloved hands to fish out my season pass before each run. North Face makes another great version for under $200.

If you want to inject your ensemble with a little bit of girlie flair, look no further than the Heiress goggles from Smith. The name says it all — choose from more than 30 colors (I like the lavender with platinum lenses on the third row, because they match my purple and white skis). Lastly, enjoy your hard-earned hot chocolate in style by adding a couple key apres-ski elements to your outfit. A fur headband is a luxe and surprisingly affordable bet: The Fur Source offers a gorgeous selection in a veritable rainbow of colors. The finishing touch? A pair of Australia Love comfy shearling boots that will truly allow you to take a load off.


Entry filed under: By Tess. Tags: .

Take that, men. BFT and the Stars

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rebecca  |  January 7, 2009 at 11:06 PM

    Hello! Tap shoes – that’s great to hear. By tap shoes, do you mean character shoes (heels – like Capezio makes)? I’m involved in theatre and I’ve had a pair of character shoes (without taps) made for me before, but they don’t fit great (they’re a size 13 and I really need a 13.5.. I’d go for a 14 if you could get those though too…) and I need a pair in tan.. hopefully soon.. when do you think you’ll have them by? I was planning on having another pair made but if you’ll be offering them here I’d order from you guys! And how high would they be (if you are ordering heels)? 🙂



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"Barefoot" Tess blogs about life, fashion, footwear, and the perks and pains of being model-tall.


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