Mountain Casual Attire

Mountain Casual. Copyright Justin Horrocks

Mountain casual attire is the norm at many ski resorts and most establishments in a ski town. It's also a common style specified for outdoor weddings, and it applies to all seasons. What you might actually wear for mountain casual depends on the venue and the time of year. 

What Is Mountain Casual? 

Mountain casual essentially is an outdoorsy version of business casual, or, if you will, country club casual.

If you look like you stepped out of an Eddie Bauer catalog, you're on the right track. Suitable mountain casual attire ranges from jeans, boots and a rugged button-up shirt to khakis, loafers and a sport coat. What it is not is casual. That means no T-shirts, flip-flops, short-shorts or swim attire. Remember, if the dress code is truly casual, there's usually no dress code mentioned at all.  

Mountain Casual Options

Mountain casual is what you wear when visiting nice shops and fairly fancy restaurants in a ski town. The idea is that you look nice but are also properly dressed for winter weather and perhaps a long hike from your hotel. Footwear is practical, and parkas are just fine. 

  • Pants: Jeans, cords, and khakis (rugged or standard) are good for men. Women can wear the same and also can pair some nice-looking stretch pants with winter boots.
  • Shirts: Collared shirts and sweaters, usually in natural fabrics and colors. Golf shirts are fine in summer, but T-shirts are too casual.
  • Dresses: Summer dresses in warm weather; knitted dresses in cold weather.
  • Shoes: Hiking boots, cowboy boots, and most street shoes are ok. Women can wear all sorts of apres ski boots, which are a major fashion feature in ski towns. Sneakers and real ski boots are too casual. 
  • Hats: Winter hats, baseball caps, and cowboy hats are all standard but should be taken off in all but the most casual restaurants. 
  • Jackets: Whatever the weather dictates. 

Mountain Casual Weddings

Mountain weddings often have a casual, outdoorsy feel, but guests should stay on the formal side of mountain casual. Western wear does a nice job here of balancing casual and formal. A sport coat is a safe bet, while a suit may be overkill. As with any wedding, consider the couple's preferences to gauge how casual -- or formal -- you should go.