Trunk In The Trunk

Junk in the Trunk: Puffy Skirts

Turns out, skirts are practical for the snow

Smartwool's PhD® SmartLoft Skirt, left, and Dynafit's Radical Primaloft Skirt, right

Smartwool’s PhD® SmartLoft Skirt, left, and Dynafit’s Radical Primaloft Skirt, right. PHOTO: Anthony Smith

Women’s PhD® SmartLoft Skirt
MSRP: $120

Dynafit Radical Primaloft Skirt
MSRP: $99.95

Wearing five-days unwashed Hot Chilies, I stood in front of the TV mesmerized by the ice skaters twirling in skirts for the Winter Olympics. I was 3 years old and I couldn’t understand why skiers don’t wear skirts, too. Frozen with jealousy, I threw the kind of magnificent fit only a 3-year-old can muster and refused to even look at my purple onesie. My tantrum lasted precious moments, until my parents bribed me with chocolate to get dressed and head to the mountain.

Life as a happy pants-wearing kid went on, and I forgot about my wild dream of a skirt made for snow until last winter, when I found Smartwool’s Smartloft Skirt.

The Smartwool skirt has an awesome little side pocket for cash, credit card, or keys.

The Smartwool skirt has an awesome little side pocket for cash, credit card, or keys.

On first impression, a skirt made for snow seems impractical. Unlike the chiffon and glitter ice-skating costumes I so naively coveted, a puffy skirt is wicked warm and actually makes sense to wear in the wintertime. You’ll need some thick leggings or long underwear to wear underneath, but the Smartwool PhD SmartLoft layered construction and merino-wool lining provides the oft-needed extra bit of warmth. It’s thin, so it doesn’t get in your way or restrict mobility in daily outdoor activities. Dynafit’s skirt, to be released this fall, is a lighter skirt with a simple polyester primaloft construction and insulated front and back panels.

Easy-on, easy-off zippers. PHOTO: Anthony Smith

Easy-on, easy-off zippers. PHOTO: Anthony Smith

I’ve rocked my skirt everywhere, picking up the mail or snowshoeing, and it’s become a true pre- and après-ski staple. It thrived this winter in ice-cold garages where I spent long hours tuning skis and in bars where I nurtured a budding beer belly.

My favorite feature of the Smartwool skirt—yes, this is a skirt with features—are the quick-change snaps, which run down the side and make for easy removal. Basically, they allow you to rip your skirt off with drama and flair—think Zorro, but with a skirt. The Dynafit skirt has zippers in place of buttons, but a small side zipper will show some extra leg if that’s what you’re going for. It’s also nice knowing that the skirt stands guard against the fashion faux-pas of wearing long underwear as if they are a pair of pants. Bottom line, it’s a skirt that would make my three-year-old self satisfied, maybe more than chocolate.

Buttons that Zorro would be proud of. PHOTO: Anthony Smith

Buttons that Zorro would be proud of. PHOTO: Anthony Smith

Add a comment

  • Bubba

    There’s this company – basically a one-woman-show – called Skhoop. It was started in Swedish ski resort Åre back in the late 90′s, based around only one product; the puffy skirt. Since then the company has grown slow and organically, building a small but enthusiastic customer base in Sweden, Switzerland and Alaska… A few years ago things started happening. The skirts made it into a few mags, sales went up, international interest grew, a few trade show awards was won, and voilá: big companies got inspired. I love Smartwool, they make great products, and you can tell that they were small, innovative and idea-driven not very long ago. But Skhoop still are, so if your in the market for a puffy skirt, at least give take a look at the original, before you buy a copy.

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