Dear Meredith: How Do I Explain Mountain Town Dressing to Guests?
Q: Lots of friends and family use my living in Aspen as a convenient excuse to visit during the winter. It’s all good—I’m happy to see them. What I don’t love, though, is how they dress. I like to think I value people for who they are on the inside, but when my people come to Aspen, they dress like they’re new money in Dumb and Dumber. Between the man furs, Mariah Carey–style stilettos-on-ice stunts, and jewels that look like they should have their own dressing room and bodyguard on the set of The Crown, it’s embarrassing. How do I explain to them that Aspen isn’t Vail, Vegas, Dallas, or the Hamptons and that what’s fashionable here is way more understated?
A: Powder blue and orange tuxedos aside (because they never go out of fashion), I hear and cringe alongside you. Aspen’s reputation for glitz can, in large part, be attributed to the visitors for whom no Christmas is complete without Red Mountain, Rémy Martin, and rants about the lack of oxygen.
The real question is, do your guests dress like the cast of Dynasty just in Aspen, or is it an everyday occurrence? Either way, you could write them a note in advance of their visit, the way some do for destination weddings: “Remember that Aspen Casual is synonymous with chic—bring your best jeans, but leave jewels and furs at home. Comfort is king in Colorado.”
Unless they’re going to the Met Ball right after seeing you, they probably don’t want to stand out intentionally. Remind them, too, that very few occasions in Aspen merit so much as a sport coat, never mind fur boots. Then again, if they’re not allergic to dogs, I can arrange for some labs and golden retrievers to warm their feet upon arrival.