Winter brings with it all sorts of woes—salt-stained shoes, wind-whipped skin, shaking fingers, quaking toes, an overwhelming desire to move somewhere, anywhere that’s south of the equator—but none so pressing as having the correct outerwear. (Preparedness being the key to success and all that: Always be prepared. Anything that a Boy Scout might say, really.) And the correct outerwear, when you are decidedly ill-prepared, always seems to be beyond your grasp. Suddenly stores are filled with resort wear, for one thing. For another, you’d rather spend your money on fun things, not useful things. “Oh, next year I’ll buy a good coat,” you say, as you slip into another sweater under your fleece under your topper. “Oh, the wind’s not so bad if I just dodge behind this car/corner/lamppost,” you say, winding your scarf another time over your face. “Oh, who needs to go outside anyway?” And then maybe you have a dog, and maybe that requires some late night/early morning any-and-all weather promenades around town, and you begin to realize that this level of layering is beginning to impede your movements (if your dog was capable of rolling his eyes, you’re pretty sure he would), that no one is making eye contact with you, you waddling Michelin Man, and that really, there’s got to be an easier way. Guess what? There is. Meet Aether Apparel, the technically advanced, totally attractive, and insanely warm outerwear line you absolutely need to know now. You’ll wear it forever. Thank me later.
Helmed by outdoorsy one-time film producers Jonah Smith and Palmer West (their slate of ten independent films includes the nightmarish genius Requiem for a Dream), the duo decided to bring their bouncy, three-layer baby into the world in 2009 with a men’s collection, provoked by their shared desire for cold-weather gear that was technical, authentic, and didn’t leave them feeling like they were trying to look eighteen in the lift line. A women’s collection—inspired by their wives, who clambered for coats to keep them warm in city winters and on the ski slopes—followed soon after. Their aim? Technically advanced gear (think PrimaLoft Gold insulation, seam-sealed construction, weatherproof zippers and Schoeller c_change fabric, a breathable textile that independently reacts to changing temperatures) sans logos and bulk that looks just as good on the slopes as in the city. And here’s the thing: They nailed it. The coats are slim-fitting and body-skimming (no more Notorious B.I.G.–style puffers!) and seem entirely too thin to be of much warming use, except they really truly are. (And the ski gear is shockingly flattering, which is no small feat considering the shape of most ski pants.) As it turns out, Aether is the best-kept secret to surviving the winter months. It’s a total game-changer.
“I think the biggest surprise from a womenswear perspective is just how cold the majority of women are and don’t acknowledge it,” says West. “And just the overwhelming love we’ve had from our female customers saying ‘I’m finally warm!’ and it’s a foreign concept to me, because when I’m cold, I’m miserable.” (Tell me about it.) And as for those streamlined silhouettes? “We’re focused on the fit,” West continues, noting that the brand makes great efforts to retain the technical bells and whistles they use in their men’s line, versus some other companies, who have been known to take their men’s designs and “pink it and shrink it” for the female customer. “We definitely support the girl who can hang with the guys, for lack of a better term,” adds Smith, “who is out there in the elements but has femininity and still looks sexy and good in the clothes.” And the best part? Aether doesn’t stop at parkas and ski clothes: The line ranges from loved-up soft base layers and sweats to yoga-ready activewear, a down-insulated “space suit” onesie (that I, for one, will be living in until April), and even lean, limber motorcycle gear. But it all comes back to the jackets, those day- and night-saving warmers. Which is all to say: Get thyself to Aether and learn to love winter. After all, now you’re prepared.
The post Your Parka Makes You Look Like the Michelin Man: Here’s How to Upgrade It appeared first on Vogue.
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