You’re the one(piece) that I want

A ski piece in May – have you lost the plot Sartorialee I hear you cry? Well my retort to that would be with careful planning it’s possible to ski 365-days a year somewhere around the globe! Riksgransen in Sweden for instance if you want some white powder action right now, or Saas Fee in Switzerland in June. Need I go on?

I discovered skiwear brand Retro Mountain through my map illustrator friend Louisa Elizabeth – whose founder Matt Martin is her boyfriend.

Established in 2013, Matt saw a gap in the market for the ski one piece. They were derigeur on the slopes back in the 1980s but gradually disappeared. He talks with great passion about his brainchild and is quick to acknowledge what Onepiece and Retro Rentals have already contributed to this sector. But following a youth spent carving the powder, he realised a noughties take on the one piece was what punters really craved. One that not only looked the part, but one that kept you warm.

One piece outerwear has long been the choice of arctic trekkers, mountaineers and other extreme weather explorers. But how did it measure up on a novice skier like me who’d set foot on the pristine pistes of Courchevel for the very first time? I must admit the onesie divided opinion but was a constant talking point both on and off piste. Despite the thumbs up from the style conscious set, it usually went something along the lines of: You’re not, honestly? But Lee, you’ve got to be a pretty decent skier to get away with that! I wouldn’t be seen dead with you in that!).

But hey, never averse to embracing a bit of retro, I took it on the chin in the name of style. Now I’ll admit it was initially a case of ‘all the gear no idea’, not helped by the fact that I lived up to my uncoordinated disposition by impaling myself on a snow canon on the first run – slipping helplessly down the crevasse skis akimbo, head implanted in the snow, family wailing in my wake! But once I’d discovered my ski legs it was all up hill from there.

The technical specs:


“Featuring a daring crotch-skimming blue and yellow V-motif, I knew I just had to have one. Or as near as I could get”.

So where did the idea of wearing a onesie come from you may well ask? I have to say Gabriella Le Breton’s dashing tome ‘The Stylish Life’ is largely to blame. Leafing through its Alpine-aspiring pages that lay bare the jet set gliterati in all their nostalgic finery, legendary skier Ingmar Stenmark’s figure-hugging white lycra onesie caught my eye. I was not at all surprised to learn its creator was none other than cult Italian menswear designer Nino Cerruti, a brand I’ve long admired. Featuring a daring crotch-skimming blue and yellow V-motif, I knew I just had to have one. Or as near as I could get. I may be several pounds heavier and slightly less svelte than the Swedish slalom stallion, but I still wanted to lose my ski v-plates in style. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as figure-hugging as Ingmar’s, but I’d still have to remember to take a deep inward breath every time the camera trained on me!

I may have looked like a super hero (I even felt like one) but Retro Mountain’s aptly named Brave Boy suit certainly allowed me to indulge my inner playboy – and I’m a one piece convert for sure.


Ingmar in that suit    Photo: Getty Images

Sartorialee speaking:

What I loved
– the one piece proved it was not all style, no content. Its insulative properties were top drawer
– it scored high in the comfort stakes too, nicely cut with minimal excess fabric. Its detachable belt could be fastened for a more flattering silhouette
– the thumb holes on each sleeve kept drafts at bay
– all you need to wear underneath was a base layer

Retro Mountain

@retromountain #retromountain