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What to wear in the alps?

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The first time I went to the alps, I had no clue what to wear in the alps.
When I arrived at my friend’s house in Switzerland, she was giggling about my poor choice of clothing.
The truth is that I was well dressed for sightseeing in the city but not to spend a couple of days in the Alps.
Thank God she lends me a suitable jacket and trouser otherwise I would be frozen for sure.

After the fiasco, I’ve learned a little bit on how to prepare myself for the snow, what to take with me and what helps to stay cosy and warm.
I am not an expert, but for sure I can help you with some helpful tips.

What to wear if you are spending the day on the slopes?

Base layer:

– thick thermal socks;
– thermal underwear/leggings (for men and women);
– thin long-sleeved thermal top;

Mid layer:

– lightweight fleece sweater (I like the ones with a high neck, so I don’t need to wear a scarf)


– Wind and waterproof jacket (you can try to find one that you would feel comfortable to wear in the city as well) *
– Waterproof pants (there are different types: the ones for hiking, skiing or snowboarding); *
– Waterproof boots;
– Two types of gloves: liners, to wear underneath the heavy waterproof gloves. This is because the waterproof gloves are thick, and sometimes you want to remove it to grab something (phone, camera), but you still want to keep your hands warm.
– Hat: I prefer the ones that are lined with fleece fabric. I don’t like the wool ones because they are very itchy on the forehead;
– Sunglasses: are essential because the sun+snow are really bright and you can’t see properly (if you are skiing than you need a proper google for it)

Ski Outer Layer


* The waterproof jacket is more useful if there are loads of pockets in it and then you don’t need to carry a backpack. Also if the jacket has a lift-pass pocket in the arm is better because it’s made for easy scanning when passing through the ski-lift gates.
* Hiking trousers are usually a straight cut (the ladies ones are more fitted to the body);
the ski trousers are a bit wider in the whole leg but still in a straight cut;
the snowboard trousers are very wide especially in the lower part of the leg because you have to be able to fit the big snowboard boots underneath;
These trousers may or may not be lined. I find it unlined too thin for the cold of the Alps.
* Ladies should wear a sports bra on the slopes. It’s way more comfortable. Trust me!
And I will confess something, as I suffer from Raynaud’s Syndrome (or Raynaud’s phenomenon), I feel chilled all the time, and it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing all of that clothing, I still feel the cold.
In that case, I wear foot warmer insoles inside my boots, they are little air-activated heat packs that get and stay warm for up to 8 hours. I also have the ones for hands and some to glue on my body.
I know! I know! It’s is quite a lot, but I rather have that than feeling cold and not enjoying the day.
But you don’t need to have the syndrome to wear it. Women, in general, feel colder than men and that is quite a good help.
You can buy the pads in winter sports shops or online.
Next time I’ll be writing about what to wear in the city on those cold (miserable) days! Xx

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  • a very timely post. I will be going there soon and I honestly don’t know what to get.

    • Hi Danica, it’s quite challenging to find the right clothes for the alps. I’m glad I could help you. If you need more tips, just let me know and I’ll try my best to help you 🙂

  • Ah dying to go to the Alps! I’ll definitely have to look back at this when we go!

    • Hi Colleen, I’m sure you’ll love the alps! I’ve written some other posts about the alps in Austria and Switzerland. And if you want more tips about the clothes or anything else, just ask me, please! 🙂