This one has been on the review list for a while but I had a special request today on Twitter to address the issue of down skirts. Here in Alaska, winter skirts have been fairly popular for a while so I’m not surprised they’re making their way to more mainstream manufacturers. I even saw someone skiing in an ankle-length winter skirt the other day; it’s definitely a common sight here when it gets chilly.
It seems that people’s first reaction to insulated skirts is either intrigue or ridicule. I’d heard enough positives about them that I was eager to try one so when Sierra Designs offered to send one of their new Gnar down miniskirts, I just had to agree. One of the reasons I wanted to try one is that I’ve found that that the myth of body fat being an insulator is just that – a myth. My most ample assets are the ones that get cold the fastest. My core is always toasty but my booty and upper arms seem to be where the chill settles. I realize that this probably brings to mind a mental image of me looking like some bastardized female Popeye, but come on. My picture is on this site, you know I look normal. But I can tell where my body fat is because those are the parts that get cold. There’s body fat on my ass, so there you have it.
Gnar skirt to the rescue. You’d think that there would be no way an open-ended garment could keep one warm, but really – your jacket is open at the bottom too and it still keeps you warm. Further, I’ll bet some of you wear long trench-style coats and why? Because they’re warmer. The Gnar skirt is just like adding an extender onto your coat; it’s the same idea.
I like wearing the Gnar when I’m out riding my fat bike in really cold temps. It adds just a little extra insulation and keeps me warm on the bike. Last time I wore it while riding, it was only about zero degrees out and I had to take the skirt off because I was too warm. I wear it over softshell pants for hikes when I need that extra kick of warmth.
There are a few design flaws in this particular iteration. The snap closures in the front are problematic because they come undone really easily. I mostly wear all but two or three open anyway, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but having the waist also close with a snap is annoying. It should be a buckle, for security’s sake. What would really fix this is having some elastic in the skirt. As it is, if you leave the snaps buttoned, it’s too hard to walk at more than a city-girl pace. Having a stretchy down skirt, now that would be awesome.
I would also like to see more realistic sizing. I’m usually a size small but couldn’t get the S size skirt around me! The medium fits OK but I have to cut down on the doughnuts if I want to be sure I can wear it all year. Anyone bigger than a size 6 would have to bump up into the large unless they have particularly slim hips.
The tags said that the skirt has two interior pockets but mine doesn’t – those would be a welcome addition. Could be just a sample goof – that happens sometimes.
And how does it look? I have no idea. I put it on to stay warm and I don’t actually own a full length mirror. I can imagine that a few stylin’ chicas could pull it off as a fashion look; I’m not sure I would try. Well, maybe – I think it’s got potential to be pretty cute. Anyone got insight?
All in all I like the concept and I find this to be a pretty helpful piece. I would like it to be more secure and allow for more freedom of movement. Maybe even a little longer?