Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Every piece of lifestyle apparel that got our après stamp of approval this year was one of two things: ultra warm and cozy, or proudly loud and different. Breathing life back into your numb toes is good—doing it in retro neon style is even better.
How We Test
Most other Gear Guide categories call for suffering as much as possible in order to test the limits of equipment and dig deep into material analysis and construction. Apres apparel begs two simpler questions: How does each piece look, and how do you feel wearing it? Yes, good apres gear has to keep you warm, dry, and sure-footed, but we’re talking about cold-weather party equipment here! Testing took place in several different ski area parking lots and resort restaurants and bars across New Mexico in temps and conditions that ranged from mild and sunny to miserable and nuking.
Reviews: The Best Men’s Après Apparel of 2023
Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket
The newest version of Patagonia’s ubiquitous down jacket is packed with 27-percent more 800-fill certified responsible goose down. It kept our testers noticeably warmer while drinking beer, roasting hot dogs, and enjoying a cup of hot cocoa with their kids in the Ski Santa Fe parking lot. While there are only a few tweaks to the fit, the face fabric gets a bump in durability and a reduction in carbon footprint—the 20-denier nylon ripstop (up from a flimsier polyester) is now made from recycled fishing nets. Note: on the hoody version, the hood isn’t big enough to squeeze over a ski helmet, but will cover a pompom beanie.
Voormi Upland Pullover
Voormi, known for integrating polyurethane-based wind- and water-resistant membranes into burly wool jackets, now adds that storm-worthy technology to finer-gauge garments, like this midweight wool sweater. The trim is fit enough for outdoor activities, while a raised, two-inch thick crew neck provides extra protection. The look of the synthetic suede shoulder patches took some getting used to according to tester Gabe Zambello—he called the Upland a “sweater that my grandpa might have forgotten in his closet.” But he loved having an easy-wearing and well-tailored midlayer that kept him dry during a 30-minute parking lot snowstorm and looked great shortly afterwards during dinner at the lodge.
Smith Lowdown Metal Sunglasses
Frame size: Medium
The Ray-ban-inspired Lowdowns are beloved (and very popular) thanks to their timeless Risky Business aesthetic. The new stainless steel-framed version keeps the most important tech—polarized ChromaPop lenses, rubber grippers at the ends of the frames, and silicone nose pads—but adds a modern, urban vibe. Smith’s lenses, which use a filter that separates primary colors out to the visible eye, add definition, clarity, and, well, “pop” to the visual experience. During testing, these glasses (with a polarized black lens) were crystal clear both on blindingly bright sunny days and below cloud cover, and looked great on faces of all ages, from a high school senior to a gray-haired retiree.
The North Face NSE Chukka Boots
Many footwear brands make a slipper you can wear outside, but most of them can’t handle real snow or sloppy parking lots. The over-the-ankle NSE Chukkas are an exception. The upper offers slipper-like comfort, while a chunky outsole with dozens of small diamond-shaped lugs offers serious traction across parking lots. The nylon upper isn’t waterproof, but the ThermoBall Eco insulation kept our feet warm while tromping around New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley on a below-freezing day.
Farm to Feet Anchorage Socks
After a long day at the resort, cold, soggy ski socks are the first thing to go. The Anchorage socks are an ideal set to slip on when transitioning off the slopes. The ultra-soft merino wool has a full-cushion design (about double the thickness of a regular cotton sock) that offers extra insulation for parking lot post-gaming and much-needed padding for tired feet on the drive home. The Anchorage isn’t a performance sock, but it breathed well enough to let one tester’s sweaty feet air out after many hours in ski boots.
Flylow Walleye Cap
There’s no doubt the lumberjack-style Walleye is a versatile apres choice: The bill keeps sun out of your eyes, while polyester fleece-lined ear flaps tie under your chin for lock-down warmth on the most bitterly cold and snowy afternoons (they also roll up when you don’t want to deploy them). Our testers love the brushed polyester outer, which shakes off snow and dries much faster than wool or cotton, and the lining, which kept our noggins toasty down to TK degrees.The loud but lovely purple buffalo plaid design gets major style points, although you can always play it safe with hunter red.
Party Shirt International
It takes guts to wear this shirt—it’s not the kind of button-down you bring to just any après party. Pink, covered in flamingos (or a dozen other wild patterns), and positively fabulous, it’s the kind of statement piece that should be pulled out for special occasions like closing day parties or costume rides down the hill. The polyester/spandex blend shirt, which is stretchy enough for bootpacking and can be layered over a baselayer top, comes in more than a dozen different patterns and works equally well for summer pool parties as it does on the mountain.
Filson Sherpa Fleece Pants
We’ll be honest and say that these drawstring pants were mostly tested on the couch; but that’s exactly where we think these pants were meant to be used. Roomy and cut from thick, ultra-cozy Polartec Thermal Pro synthetic yarn, these high-pile fleece pants kept testers warm and swaddled through long Netflix binges when the cold stayed in our bones long after we’d left the hill. They were also extremely warm outside—easily twice as insulative as a regular pair of cotton sweatpants—making them a solid pajama option for camping out in ski area parking lots.