Shadows getting longer and mercury starting to fall tells us one thing — "Winter is coming."
While beach trips are an ingrained part of our culture for summer, they are a recent development compared to our winter activities. Skis were actually invented before the wheel and records of snowmen have been found that date back as early as 1380 A.D. While the ways people enjoy winter have not changed all that much, its fashion is always evolving.
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Wool was the winter fabric of choice for centuries, dating at least as far back as ancient Greece. However, wool was by no means a perfect material for winter garments. It absorbed water like a sponge and got increasingly heavy as a result. Fur provided a viable alternative for the well-to-do and was considered very fashionable in the early 20th century, but its expense limited its popularity, especially during the Great Depression.
Winter coats saw a significant innovation in the 1930s when the down jacket was invented. While modern coats may use different materials for both the outer layer and the stuffing, the basic concept behind the invention is still in wide-spread use today. Just like how it changed summer wear, WWII affected the way people dressed in winter as well. Wool was in short supply, so velveteen and corduroy were used for cold weather wear, and ornamentation was discarded in favor of simpler designs.
Ski wear developed significantly as well during the 20th century. While the large overcoats were fine for other winter activities, they would obviously be problematic when travelling at high speeds down a slope. Most skiers in the early 20th century wore ski suits that were made of wool, which had the same problems as other wool garments. Bauer was not the only one to see the potential for nylon in winter wear, and it was incorporated into ski suits by the 1950s. Ski wear became lighter, thinner and more form-fitting over time as other synthetic fabrics were developed, evolving into the skin-tight ski suits of today.
While what we wear to enjoy the winter weather may continue to change, one thing will always remain the same; kids, or those that are just kids-at-heart, will still rush out to play in the snow.