Fall and winter months bring trips to the woods and mountains. In some areas of the country, it's for snowmobiling, others it's for skiing and snowboarding. Regardless of why you're traveling, whether it is a retreat in a mountain house in Aspen or a three day weekend of ice skating in Lake Geneva, WI, the dress code is simple--layers. Winter pieces require layers. Layers add an instant pop to any outfit.
All it takes are a few key staples and you are set. What we mean by layers are great basics, preferably those made of fabrics that are designed to trap heat like certain cottons and blends. This can range from tees and tops to tanks and long underwear. Layers go beyond the traditional cold-weather/athletic attire to mainstream and designer brands. Some even cross into knitwear, with whisper-thin cashmere tanks, tops, and tees. Perfect for any chilly temp! Once you have a good foundation, all you've got to do is add pants and sweaters -- any cozy type of knit will do! Alpaca is said to be the warmest of all knits, but you've also got wool, cashmere and lots of others to choose from, not to mention a variation of rich blends. For pants, if you're going to be in the snow or on the slopes, go with a ski or snowboard style.
For casual and knock around, and even dinner out, any jeans or leggings will suffice. Fortunately, when it comes to outerwear, designers are more creative than ever. A fun puffer coat with a faux fur collar can be adorable (and warm) in or outdoors. You want something that you're not afraid to get wet or snowed in. Snow boots are also ultra chic these days -- look for faux fur lined, faux shearling, and other fun styles to add a little edge.
Don't forget a fun hat, gloves or mittens, and a cozy scarf. ALWAYS check the weather! Pay attention to weather while you are out in wooded areas or mountains because conditions can change and become drastic quickly.
Where to Shop In The Mountains/Woods
One of the great things about mountain towns are their tiny, chic boutiques. Hot spots like Aspen and Vail burst with options for virtually everything you can imagine. Places off the beaten path a bit will have a more at-home, eclectic fare. If you'll be shopping, you'll likely come across a lot of mountain, ski/sport, and cold weather wear. It can be a great place to shop sweaters and other knits like scarves and hats. One thing that you most likely will find (and love!) are local-made products, from fisherman sweaters and handknit scarves to jellies, chocolates, and other gourmet foods ands snacks. Art from local painters or sculptors can also be great to shop for in these types of places. Be sure to check Yelp and search Googlefor shopping tips and ideas before you take the trip.
Where to Stay In The Mountains/Woods
Luxury hotels are practically everywhere in the skiing and snowboarding vacation locations, but that doesn't mean you can't get a great overnight experience in some of the smaller, more intimate inns. Bed and Breakfasts, house rentals, and mountain or lakeside resorts dot virtually every cold weather destination. Keep your mind and options open, and you'll find something great!
Where to Eat In The Mountains/Woods
Today's mountain locations and woodsy destinations are usually populated and modern enough to include some of your basic restaurant choices -- Pizza Huts, fast food restaurants, etc. In addition, you will probably find some chic and upscale dining environments, though this will depend entirely on whether or not you're in a major/popular area. Places like Vail and Aspen are known for their variety in dining, from family friendly places to romantic and candlelit offerings. Big Bear, CA, Lake Geneva, WI, and less known but still popular places can be home to a more home-cooking fare. These places can be incredible for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners -- be sure to ask your travel agent or do internet research before you travel to find local offerings, or ask the locals and hotel/lodging staff once you are there.