The cold is beginning to bite, the festive ads are starting to run, and that lightweight jacket that served you so well in the transitional months is suddenly feeling somewhat insufficient. It’s time for some cold-weather wardrobe adjustments. But with the expense of Christmas shopping looming on the horizon, how can it be done without breaking the bank?
Winterising your wardrobe is often an expensive affair. Outerwear alone can cost hundreds, and with brands hiking their prices left, right and centre, a few simple seasonal upgrades can quickly turn into a huge and poorly timed financial outlay – the last thing you need as we potentially head into another recession.
This gives you two options: you can either shiver through the cold in whatever you currently have, or you can get thrifty and buy those new bits on a budget. Because contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be well-dressed for the winter and still have some money left over. Here’s how.
Switch To A Heavyweight Flannel
The market is rife with flimsy flannel shirts that can barely hold their own in autumn and spring. For winter, what you want is something thick and substantial instead.
‘Heavyweight flannel’ may sound expensive, and it certainly can be, but steer clear of super fancy heritage brands and you can actually pick this type of garment up surprisingly cheap.
Forget about your Filsons and Fjällrävens, and go for no-frills workwear brands instead. Ditch the trendy boutiques and follow the tradesmen. We’re talking Carhartt, Dickies and the like – not the trendy streetwear stuff, the gear that’s actually designed for manual labour and costs a fraction of the price. Bonus points if it’s lined.
Try Some Creative Resoling
Some proper lugged footwear is a must when it comes to negotiating icy pavements and striding confidently through winter. Unfortunately, a pair of Red Wings or Danners will easily set you back upwards of £250. Instead, take a look at what you already have on your shoe rack and ask yourself if anything can be repurposed.
Resoling is an often-overlooked option that can save you a ton of money. Support your local (and most likely struggling) cobbler, or go directly to the source and send your shoes to Vibram, who will gladly customise them with a grippy sole unit of your choice.
We’ve seen some great results, including vintage loafers resoled with chunky commando rubber and elegant Chelsea boots fitted with eye-catching Christy wedges.
It’s all too easy to become trapped in a cycle of drab and dreary colours when the cold weather hits. A good way to break this is by introducing some vibrant accessories to brighten things up.
For example, you could try teaming a royal blue beanie up with an otherwise earthy outfit, or use a bright red scarf to make a monochrome look pop.
Selvedge On A Shoestring
For the most part, selvedge = expensive. This high-end denim is woven on special machines that finish sheets of fabric off with crisp, neat edges that are visible when jeans are cuffed. It’s a signifier of quality and projects to others that you know your sartorial onions.
But allow us to let you in on one of the high street’s best-kept secrets: you can actually get this stuff for Less than £40 at Uniqlo. OK, they’re not made in Japan, nor are they particularly heavy. But looks wise they can easily go toe to toe with jeans three times the price.
Put them next to a pair from A.P.C. and even a trained eye will struggle to spot the difference without close inspection. Other brands that offer excellent value for money in this category include ASKET, Everlane, Levi’s
Splurge On A Big Coat
Raincoat, parka, puffer – the list goes on. There are so many different styles of winter coats, and arming yourself with all of them could really clear you out. Instead, we’d suggest spending a good chunk of money on one coat to cover all bases.
It’ll probably be the biggest winter clothing purchase you make, but it’s also the one that’ll get the most wear.
A wool overcoat isn’t super cheap, but it goes with tailoring, it goes with sportswear, it goes with casual clothes and it can be worn in autumn and spring too. It’s the ultimate layering piece and even a relatively affordable one can last you for many years.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Buying second-hand is the best way to wear fancy pieces on a tight budget. For the same money that you’d spend on a brand new winter wardrobe from somewhere like Gap or J.Crew, you could be dripping in Margaret Howell, Engineered Garments and RRL. No, really – you just need to know where to shop.
Of course, you could trawl through Depop or eBay looking for specific pieces, but there’s a better way to do it. There are a number of online consignment stores that specialise in designer gear and there are some real bargains to be had.
Our favourite is Marrkt, which is a go-to for upscale menswear – think Mr Porter, but pre-loved. You’ll find pieces from brands like Stone Island, Loro Piana, Barena, Visvim, Yuketen and more at mere fractions of their original retail prices, and there are often edits based on the reduction percentage, so you can filter to find the biggest bargains. Vestiaire Collective is well worth browsing, too.
We’d all love to be covered in cashmere through the winter months, but sadly it’s not the most affordable of fabrics. But don’t despair. While lambswool is admittedly rougher and a little scratchy in comparison, it’s also more durable, does the same job from an aesthetic standpoint, and is a fraction of the price.
In fact, lambswool is so affordable that you might be able to stock up on a few key pieces to pad out your winter wardrobe. We’d suggest a crew-neck sweater in a nice autumnal shade like burnt orange, a navy cardigan and a knitted long-sleeve polo in a neutral tone like beige.
Fragrances can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. There are a number of brands offering ‘dupes’, which are essentially affordable imitations of luxury fragrances, and some of them are pretty good.
Noted Aromas is one such company, which gives budget-conscious customers a chance to smell like Tom Ford and the like for less. Simply pick a rich, winter-friendly fragrance capable of cutting through the cold air and wear it every day.
Not everyone can pull a beanie off. Maybe you’re more of a baseball cap guy. And that’s fine. Luckily, there are plenty of fabric options when it comes to caps, meaning you can enjoy brimmed headgear into the winter and beyond. Best of all, you can pick them up pretty cheaply.
Some of our favourite winter materials for caps include corduroy, wool and fleece. Most high-street stores like Uniqlo, H&M and Zara will have a few inexpensive styles to choose from.