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I need a new ski jacket, but I want something that looks good off the slopes too. What are my options?

I need a new ski jacket, but I want something that looks good off the slopes too. What are my options?

The fact is most skiwear does look cool, both on and off the slopes.

Contemporary menswear designers such as J.Crew, Calvin Klein, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss have been incorporating technical design details (e.g., racing stripes or color blocking patterns) as well as technical functions and fabrications into street outerwear for years, with multifunctioning features (e.g., waterproofing, zip-out linings, and pockets for ease of use/storage of mobile devices).

In addition, athletic/skiwear tailoring (i.e., high armholes, tapering and adjustable closures) lends a fashionable, flattering touch to these garments. Fit is essential to looking good in anything, anywhere.

If money is no object ...

… then you should have three jackets to get you through the winter.

The first should be a classically tailored cashmere overcoat from a high-end luxury designer, such as Loro Piana, Prada or Ralph Lauren Purple Label. It will last a lifetime and look great in any situation.

Second should be a multifunction winter jacket for the slopes with zip-out lining, a removable hood, and lots of pockets inside. I like Patagonia, Moncler, Bogner, North Face and Columbia.

Finally, a play coat -- one that is easy to care for, washable and easily replaceable (i.e., inexpensive). Try something from Levi’s, Carhartt or J.Crew.

If money is an issue …

If you can only afford one coat, make it an investment. Splurge for a high-end status piece from Dior Homme, Gucci or Prada Sport. The ability to layer is the key to keeping warm on the slopes, and a zip front is most flexible in this respect. A double-zipper front will work best on and off the slopes -- especially for car-to-street use. Add style with accessories (e.g., a hat): They’re light and easy to carry, plus they add tons of warmth.

About the Expert

John Olson was contributing fashion editor for SKI Magazine for four years. He also freelanced as a fashion editor for other men’s magazines such as Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Forbes Life and Popular Mechanics.