What is Mountain Chic Attire?

Woman wearing a Jelt belt with brown pants and a denim jacket
If you want to know what mountain chic style is, a quick way is to flip through the pages of a Patagonia, North Face or Filson clothing catalog and check out how these companies dress their models. Take the weathered, hardcore garments mountain women and men might wear on an arduous hike or working for the Forest Service then class it up a bit (dark cuffed Levi's, t-shirt and a flannel jacket) and voilà, you’re now in the realm of mountain casual clothing.
A group of friends all wearing Jelt belts and wrapped in a Pendleton blanket walking in front of a mountain lake
Seasonal Mountain Chic Clothing
And while the rugged designs of most mountain chic attire can be worn on a long outdoor trek, this style of dress was really made for lounging around the bar at the ski lodge (after you change out of your practical ski gear), mountain brewery pub or at some upscale event in naturally beautiful places like (but not to limited to) Colorado, Montana or Wyoming.
Outdoorsy mountain casual clothing can vary, depending on the season. It could mean a simple but modish dress and Chelsea boots in summer, or dark jeans with a turtleneck and leather lace-up boots in autumn or winter. A Sherpa fleece or down parka can complete the outfit. Give your look a western-style grit with a wool fedora hat, button-up flannel shirt and a denim jacket.
But just because you see the word “casual” in the phrase “casual mountain chic,” that doesn't mean messy or tattered. This style shuns grubby, torn backcountry bushwhacking clothing. Remember, less is more. Slightly broken in is good, just so it fits well. To be approachable and fit in, stay away from the obnoxious fur boots, coats and hats.
These are just some necessary clothing and accessories that can work for both men and women, when trying to pull off the mountain chic vibe:
  • Button-up flannel or denim shirt
  • Broken-in Carhartt’s, Levi’s or retro Wranglers
  • Chunky sweater or fitted turtleneck
  • Lace-up or slip-on leather boots
  • A lightweight, low-profile belt
  • Wool fedora or rancher hat
  • Watch cap or classic beanie
  • Sherpa and retro fleece jackets
  • Puffy down or parka
If you’re still having trouble picturing the mountain casual clothing aesthetic, try imagining an outfit a hipster might put together for a hike in the woods — or maybe the get-up the famed lumberjack Paul Bunyan might wear on his wedding day.
Man and woman sitting around a fire in front of mountain lake. The couple are both wearing Jelt elastic stretch belts with their mountain chic attire.
Mountain Chic Formal Attire
Formal attire hardly exists in the mountain setting. Friends and family who love the outdoors may choose to have a mountain casual wedding. Formal attire for a guy might look like snazzy boots with jeans with a handsome button-up pressed shirt finished with a funky bolo tie. For a woman, it might be a simple flowy dress paired with cowboy boots — often a sound choice when unsure of what to wear to a mountain chic soiree.
When it comes to mountain chic attire and marriage ceremonies (and receptions), the level of "informality" can vary. Best check with the groom or bride to confirm if the nuptial dress code leans more toward the mountain “chic” or mountain “casual” side of the equation.
Most important of all, remember to have fun with your mountain chic attire. Avoid casual tees or anything that makes you look untidy — but do embrace clothing and accessories that demonstrate your passion for the wilderness and the outdoor life.