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There’s that saying, ‘when in Rome’…

Sometimes you want to express yourself and do your own thing. But there are definitely times when you want to blend in and look like a local.

Dress Like Whistler Local - Mannequin

In Whistler, sartorially-speaking, things are quite different from down the highway in Vancouver, the land of ubiquitous yoga pants. Yoga attire not very practical when sitting on a cedar log, mid-hike, and the expensive stretchy fabric will get snagged.

There’s no shortage of great stores in Whistler Village to let your inner sporty side shine. Here are a few ideas…

Plenty of Options in Whistler Village

Both women and men flock to McCoo’s, a sort of legendary establishment in Whistler Village that has been around since 1987. McCoo’s has the kind of clothing that looks stylish but it is practical for all the high-adrenaline activities that Whistler has to offer. They also have boot fitting and on-mountain outerwear – but sell swim suits, sunglasses, and everything in between.

Dress Like Whistler Local - Store 1

Aim for Clothing that is Stylish but Practical

A new addition to the Village, women flock to Lole, a Montreal-based chain for practical, yet attractive and flattering sportswear. Yes, they sell yoga pants, too.

UV-protective fabric and very forgiving stretch fabrics make Columbia’s sports-oriented active wear very appealing. You’ll find the Columbia store next to the Visitor’s Centre.

You Never Know When You’ll Need Your Merino

Merino is very popular in Whistler as a base layer. Even in summer, you’ll never want your merino far from hand. Sometimes June, July and August can have cold, damp spells that will have you wishing you brought more than flimsy dresses and shorts. Nothing takes the chill off like a merino shirt or hoodie.

Once you start wearing merino it’s hard to go back to cotton or synthetics. And of course, skiers in Whistler swear by merino long underwear for use on the mountain and in the backcountry. It is prized for its breathability, lightweight, and natural odour-resistance. Find good quality, stylish merino clothing by Icebreaker at Escape Route in Whistler’s Marketplace, and at CAN-SKI locations.

Dress Like Whistler Local - Store 2

Leave the High Heels at Home

High heels in Whistler? They’re a rare sighting. If you don them, locals will give you a strange look. There’s lots of ways to look great in Whistler, but wearing heels will definitely not help you fit in.

What can you always wear in, no matter what the season, and feel confident that you will blend in with the Whistler crowd? A toque and flannel shirt. From informal BBQs to fine dining restaurants in the Village, this classic Canadian combo will never raise an eyebrow.

Don’t Go Over the Top…

When building a Whistler wardrobe, the emphasis is on sporty, casual, functional and stylish. But there is another pearl of wisdom that visitors in Whistler could bear in mind when browsing the Village’s many stores. There is an untested (but usually accurate) theory in the Whistler among those who have been here since the early days: the fancier your outfit, the less skilled you are in the sport you’re dressing for (this adage definitely applies to skiers).

In other words, don’t try too hard. There is a fine line between looking good versus looking over the top. Aim for the subtlety stylish Whistler sporty look and someone might just ask you for directions….the ultimate compliment!

Photo Credit: Dave Steers