This One’s for the Girls

The best jackets and pants designed specifically for women in 2017

Angel Collinson is down with pink jackets, as long as they can hang as tough as she does in AK. PHOTO: Adam Clark/TGR

This winter, we grouped 16 of the best skiers we know, including seven women, to form the POSSE—or the Powder Order of Sartorial Splendor and Excellence—and invited them to Deer Valley, Utah, to ski in this season’s best gear alongside the very designers who created it. We learned why each designer made the choices they did and put them to the test ourselves. We noticed trends like improved women’s cuts, an increase in well-designed bibs, lighter materials, and more streetwear-friendly technical apparel.

The following women’s-specific pieces stood out to us because they fit women in a range of sizes and body types, and they performed well when we skied hard and fast both inbounds and out. These jackets and pants also looked good—which is still rare for women’s products, and damn it feels good when you find a great piece of gear that works, actually fits, and make you feel good. Because when the snow falls and I’m on the mountain, the last thing I want to think about is what I’m wearing. I just want to ski. —Sierra Davis

Armada Smoked Jacket

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

For the fashion-conscious skier who doesn’t want to sacrifice function, the Armada Smoked Jacket is a perfect hybrid of utility and style. A Gore-Tex outer and light primaloft insulation keep you warm and dry without fuss through all sorts of weather, and the roomy hip pockets are perfect for stashing the essentials: beer, snacks, keys. It’s full of handy features, like the Recco avalanche rescue system, taped seams and waterproof zippers, and perfectly placed pockets for your headphones and pass. The long cut nods to tall-Tees and trendy, oversized outerwear, but the fit is narrow and feminine, and a bit of stretch ensures you can still do ski ballet and safety grabs all day long. On storm days, you’ll be grateful for the extra warmth and length on long chairlift rides, and the style helps it transition nicely for aprés adventures. Read more | Buy now.

La Sportiva Axis Pant

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

La Sportiva’s Axis pants are super-slim fitting—do a little wiggle to get them on—but thanks to the stretchy softshell material, once zipped up, they are incredibly comfortable, flattering, and importantly, very functional. La Sportiva is a company founded to explore high mountains, and these pants were designed for touring or ski mountaineering. The stretchy fabric is breathable, durable, and waterproof and provides a great range of motion. The adjustable cuffs are reinforced with a tough layer of fabric to accommodate and protect from ski, boot, and crampon-related wear and tear. They served the POSSE well on fair-weather resort days, too. Read more | Buy now.

Arc’teryx Sentinel Jacket

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Well then, what exactly do you get for a $625 piece of outerwear? A bomber jacket that doesn’t want to be left behind—ever. The Arc’teryx Sentinel jacket is ready for action, be it inbounds or out. A relaxed cut and ergonomic shape give you the freedom to move (and space to layer at will for extra-chilly days) making it perfect for anyone from fancy freeriders to your average Jane. Built from three-layer Gore-Tex, the Sentinel shell is windproof, waterproof, and durable, so you’re comfortable on first chair or throughout the backcountry. An integrated powder skirt connects to the Sentinel pant with snaps that slide and lock into place, keeping snow out on deep days. Our favorite details include a helmet-compatible hood that’s adjustable with one hand, water-tight front zip, and perfectly placed pockets.

Performance meets fit in the Arc’teryx Sentinel jacket, thanks to three-layer Gore-Tex and extra attention to details, including a helmet-compatible hood that’s adjustable with one hand. Read more | Buy now.

Flyow Foxy Bib

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

Flylow tackled their new women’s bib with patience, and it paid off. The fit and function is the best we’ve seen in the women’s bib category. Flylow took the time to dial a feminine fit and pair it with function and durability. Stepping into the Foxy is easy, thanks to a long zipper sewn into the left leg down to the knee. (They are also easy to drop when you need to pee). The bibs are baggy and loose through the leg but snug in the hips. The cut looks like a pair of overalls. A kangaroo pocket on the chest with a smaller pocket on top is a nice place to keep things like a phone, a credit card, or lip balm. The most genius detail is the mesh patch on the lower spine, which keeps movement flexible and backs cool. Inner and outer thigh vents create a breeze to cool off quickly on hot spring days. In colder conditions, a brushed interior will feel soft and cozy. Read more | Buy now.

Faction Popova Jacket
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Faction’s Popova jacket looks and feels like streetwear with its long cut, oversized hood, and cotton-like feel. For those of us who feel like we live in our ski gear, this is a major plus. The big win is that this jacket performs as well on the mountain as it does in town. Made with Faction’s Xero2 material, this two-layer pullover is waterproof (8,000mm) and breathable (5,000g) enough for mild storm days, but it may not be the right choice for a backcountry blizzard day. A slim fit and modern color blocking make this jacket look hot, plus it has pit vents for toasty days. If temperatures drop, layer up—easy enough thanks to the side-zip that makes getting in and out of this jacket no problem. Have to take your gloves off on the lift? Stuff them in the massive kangaroo pocket in front. For mild storm days and high style, this is the ideal outer layer you will live in all winter long. Read more | Buy now.

Strafe Boomerang Pants

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

Designed in tandem with the Boomerang jacket, the Strafe Boomerang Pants, their women’s bibs, are made with a heavy-duty waterproof fabric and brushed tricot backer that is soft enough to be worn against skin. Long suspenders keep these high-waisted bibs in place, (They are not of the overall design.) Two zippered thigh pockets and an internal beacon pocket are in the right place. While the cut is forgiving, hips don’t lie and POSSE women reported a slightly snug fit, so consider sizing up. Thoughtful details like cuff zips and Velcro waist adjustments allow for some customizing in the fit. Cuff guards to protect these trousers from crampons and general wear plus inseam vents. Read more | Buy now.

Roxy Tribe Jacket

PHOTO: Van Swae
PHOTO: Van Swae

Whether you want to look good on a casual ski day or need a new around-the-town option for cold, wet winters, the Tribe is the jacket. The waterproof, slim-fit jacket is styled like a military cargo coat, with a cinchable waist, big front pockets, and muted colors. Full of fun features like warm wrist gaiters to tuck hands into and a soft, removable neck-warmer, the Tribe is a solid pick for cold resort days. Insulation throughout the arms, torso, and hood ensure wearers will stay cozy on the lift, and a pass pocket, key clip, and goggle pocket keep everything organized. POSSE ladies loved the high collar for extra face protection and bonus style points. Read more | Buy now.

Faction Bly Skinny Pant
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Girl, put your phone down. A pair of Faction’s skinny pants will get you a date faster than Tinder. Never has a pair of ski pants looked so good on so many different body types as the Bly.

Several ladies, all different shapes and sizes, zipped into a pair of Blys at Thread the Needle and the pants looked good on everyone thanks to the Xero3 stretch fabric and the slim, bootcut profile. Much like a pair of quality yoga pants, the Bly moves easily and freely, stays in place (i.e., no butt sag), and is super stylish when paired with a longer jacket.

The Bly skinnies are made for the ski resort. They do not have vents and their waterproof/breathability rating is only 10k/5k, so don’t take them out in a PNW slush fest or a Sierra cement-type blizzard. They also size small. That said, these pants are an essential. Read more | Buy now.