Us ladies and gents in the U.K. live in a cold, wet and windy climate meaning coats are our friends for a large chunk of the year. However these so called friends can really attack your budget and leave you out in the cold. Here are some tips for not only buying a coat on a tiny budget but also for those looking to invest in something which will save you money in the long run.
A Thrifty Guide to Buying a Coat
Budget friendly coats
– Second hand
Your number one stop should be second hand retailers near to you. Cast your eye over charity shops, vintage shops, second hand markets and bootsales. The majority of coats and jackets I have owned have become mine after carefully selecting from charity shops. Never be afraid to ask the staff if they have something out back which might suit you.
If you pick up a second hand coat which is lovely but in need of TLC, take some time to consider if a local seamstress could do some repairs or if a simple trip to the dry cleaners would spruce it up. I’ve had many a £5 coat come good with couple of new buttons and a trip to the dry cleaners. I’ve even dyed a coat or two in my time and been really happy with the results.
eBay is a great place to score not only second hand coats without the leg work (it’s great at helping you narrow down colours and sizes) but there’s also the option to buy new so you can search for coats people have bought but never worn or even eBay shops which specialise in larger volumes of stock. I put together a post featuring some of my favourite bargain coats for this winter and many of them were from eBay, you can find that post here.
If you’re into the army or country look, track down an old fashioned Army and Navy style shop and hunt through their stock. You’re likely to find the look you want a lot lower price than the high street versions and it will be built to last. These kinds of shops tend to be open to negotiations at the till too.
The supermarkets have really stepped up their game when it comes to clothes and if you’re on a budget you’d be silly to cast them aside. Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s have fab options which range from designer inspired through to classic and elegant so it’s worth diverting from the veg aisle to have a little look.
– Vouchers and codes
Always, always, always look for a voucher code or search out sales dates online. I’ve even been known to contact a brand via social media to ask when their sale will start or if they have any vouchers floating around that I should be aware of. You’ve got nothing to lose in asking!
If you really like a piece of clothing why not check out a review? I’ll always have a quick google of the product name and use the words ‘blog’ or ‘review’ at the end of the search term. More often than not a review will come up on the front page of Google and it can really help you to know if it will suit your lifestyle, body shape or budget.
Opting for an investment coat means a bigger outlay to start with but it also means you’re picking out a piece of clothing which could see you through a number of years in style and comfort.
A bonkers pattern can be very on trend but if you want to wear the coat for years ask yourself how quickly that ditsy floral print will date. If you want to go for a pattern (and remember they’re great at hiding dirt and stains) opt for something classic like herringbone, hounds tooth, a variation of pinstripe or something of a similar ilk.
– Classic looks/cut
Cast out the notion that dark or even beige (I’m thinking of a classic trench coat on that one) are boring and repeat “classic, classic, classic” in your head. Come on petal, brainwash yourself.
Plump for classic cuts without additional frills, weird sleeve lengths and feature pockets all of which will date the coat, especially in this fast moving disposable wardrobe led market, in a matter of a season.
If it does have a ‘trend led’ addition, such as the fur on this featured coat, check that you can remove it with ease. In fact the fur collar on this coat unbuttons in under 2 seconds.
– Good bones
Search the garment meticulously making sure the lining is of good quality, the stitches are firmly in place, the buttons glide seamlessly and the buttons are held on well. Do the sleeves sit nicely? Can you move your arms well with or without cardigans or thick jumpers. How many individual panels of fabric are there? Too many show signs or a cheaper method of manufacture and potential for seams to rip.
If you’re thinking about dropping the price of a rent payment on a coat that’ll last you a lifetime then hit a clearance or outlet store where you can pick up stock from seasons past with a hefty discount. If you’re opting for classic then the fact the coat is from A/W 11 shouldn’t matter to much!
Some of the best outlet shops include:
Mulberry Factory Shop at Kilver Court in Somerset
Aquascutum Outlet, Hackney
This goes for both investment and cheaper end coats – shop the sales! Keep your eye out for the sudden creep of swim suits and shorts into the shops and there you have it, the perfect time to pounce and snatch up a cut price coat.
Miserable face c/o the bus splashing the backs of my legs, thanks bus.
It’s really important to me for a coat to be warm, have room for layers (cardigan addicts in the house, hollaaaaaa!), have a classic look and suit a number of occasions which is why I’m chuffed with this herringbone coat* I was sent by Bon Marche. I’ve had it for a few months now and it has seen me through day to day work, shopping and walking the dog tasks as well as more formal occasions such as media appearances, baptisms, funerals and attending church events.
It’s really well made too and has taken a bit of a battering from my dog who can jump stupidly high with very muddy and scratchy paws. This is one of those fab coats which falls between great for the budget but also very much a piece which will wear well over a number of years.
Ooh and by the way this coat was £60 and is now marked down to just £40.
Share your tips, tricks and links to good quality bargains down below, you might just help someone out!
P.S. My newsletter goes out this evening and contains your last chance to enter my slow cooker giveaway, make sure you’re signed up by clicking here and don’t worry it’s free!
P.P.S. Items marked with an asterisk (*) have been sent with the hope of a review. I only mention or recommend items which I feel are relevant and of good quality but I always like to make sure you know when I have been sent something as it is only fair.
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A Thrifty Mrs
El aka A Thrifty Mrs is a freelance journalist and founder of athriftymrs.com
When not sharing thrifty tips and the best of British sales she enjoys trash TV, mooching around charity shops and trying out every mascara on the market.