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Ditch those slouchy pants -- the rock star look is in

Snowboarders mix high fashion with functionality

Email|Print| Text size + By Tina Cassidy
Globe Correspondent / November 12, 2006

The signature look of snowboarders -- slouchy pants and oversized parkas -- has recently taken a slide.

Influenced by the skinny pants and structured suit jackets popular on the street, the rock-star look has infiltrated the slopes, with some snowboarders tailoring their all-weather pants to make them more fitted. A few are even wearing blazers instead of traditional mountain outerwear, and some are topping off the outfits with fedoras and formal shirts. Of course, the look works better out West, where the sun shines and the air is warmer .

But the trend has forced snowboard apparel designers to incorporate the punkish silhouettes into their lines, attempting to blend the functionality snowboarders need for deep bends and cold weather with the concept of high fashion.

It's a tricky balancing act.

"With big boots, it looks weird with tight pants," said Nick Simmons, category manager for men's outerwear at Burton Snowboards, based in Burlington, Vt.

So instead of making peg legs, what Burton has done is make a "mid-fit," with bottoms a little skinnier through the knees, and with a shorter rise, like popular denim styles. The company finished the leg with a boot cut to fit over binding straps.

Burton's coats also are mimicking menswear styles, with the fit more like a sports jacket. In fact, a signature piece looks like a double-breasted pea coat, done in plaids or stripes, essentially laminated wool. Other patterns in the line include oversized herringbone, even bright green snakeskin.

Although guys are "dressing up more than girls for snowboarding," according to Janet Freeman, owner of Betty Rides in Portland, Ore., women's gear is also becoming louder and more fashion oriented, with outrageous prints and patterns, such as gingham and plaid.

"It's not all girly," said Freeman. "We printed a pinstripe, too. And artwork, inside or outside the jacket, is also big."

She said that although the tight- pants look seems more pervasive among boys who like to show off on the slopes, girls are wearing it, too.

"We have a pant called the rocker pant. We sold the heck out of it," Freeman said. "I've sold more of that pant style than I've sold of any other pant I've ever done, and we're known for our pants."

Contact Tina Cassidy, an author and freelance writer in Boston, at tinacassidy1@gmail.com.

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