Peak chic: Cool ski clothes
Bairbre Power has tips on how to dazzle on the slopes this season
Colour blocking isn't just a catwalk trend for 2011 -- it's a big look on ski lifts and runs, where you will spot lots of solid-colour jackets with contrasting pants in citrus shades such as lemon and lime, blues, pinks and greens.
One-piece suits look very chic but they can lead to overheating, so hardcore enthusiasts usually opt for separates with breathability, which allow an easy transition from slope to bar. Let's face it, who wants to spend après-ski with the top half of your suit hanging around your waist?
However, everyone to their own, and if you have your heart set on wearing a one-piece, check out Net-a-Porter for a cool, Stella McCartney for Adidas black one, currently reduced by 30pc to €315.
If you appreciate Stella's sporty ski handwriting, you'll find that her 2011 tennis and yoga wear are temptingly funky and functional. Take a look at her Lurex knit leggings too, also reduced at Net-a-Porter (down 60pc to €128). If you're looking to make a good winter investment, Stella's Adidas black sports coat (€154) is perfect for après-ski and won't look out of place back in the real world when the holiday is over. This isn't a guilt-inducing ski buy, so go for it!
In my experience, it doesn't pay to concentrate on the outerlayers; buying effective underlayers, including thermals (they have great ones at Penneys and Dunnes, from €6-€12), will contribute hugely to your enjoyment of a ski holiday.
High-tech fabrics pay for themselves in spades, especially when you are dry and your friends are suffering from wet-bum syndrome after too many falls in the snow. I'm a big fan of the Helly Hanson brand, which I buy at Great Outdoors on Chatham Street -- their vests and tees last for years.
If the bad weather taught us anything, it's that it is worth investigating in a pair of snow boots which you will use back in the urban landscape. If you are bargain hunting, try TK Maxx. If you want to be a fashion star on the slopes, head for the Quiksilver shop in the St Stephen's Green Centre, where the Roxy jackets are particularly fetching.
Guys and girls are well catered for at Patagonia on Exchequer Street in Dublin, while, around the corner on South William Street, Pamela Scott has a permanent ski shop packed with affordable basics.
My best advice to a ski virgin is to invest in a great pair of sunglasses to counteract the glare. Chanel led the snow brigade -- who could forget the iceberg at their 2010 Paris catwalk show? -- and this season they have gold-rimmed ski goggles guaranteed to turn heads.
Many complain that goggles have an annoying habit of fogging up, in which case you might prefer to explore regular specs. Try sporty frames with built-in headphones and a USB key to play your favourite music or opt for the fashionistas' favourite -- the Mykita frame.
The brand's glistening aviator style caught our eye in the 'SATC2' movie, and its new range for 2011 is stunning (though pricey), available at Optica in the Royal Hibernian Way from €350. Aviator styles hold strong across the high street and favourites I found were at Accessorize, New Look and M&S.
The haute couture, snowflake Fair Isle jumpers took our breath away at Chanel (minus the Yetti furry boots), and these intarsia-style sweaters and knit accessories rule the roost, with Penneys doing a really great version for just €12. How perfect right now, when our hearts are bulging with hope, but wallets can be slim!
Skiwear isn't immune to the key urban fashion trends, and you will find looks such as leopard print coming through, if not in separates, in belts and boots.