If you’re in this part of the world and not already firmly attached to your winter coat then you’re a hardier woman than me. It’s winter and it is cold, there are ways to deal with that and one of them is a coat. The snag with coats can be that they’re expensive and not everyone can afford a brand spanking new coat every year. Here’s how I manage to keep warm with purse friendly coats year in year out.
Charity shop coats
You know me, I’m A Thrifty Mrs. and firmly addicted to charity shops. The majority of my coats in the past decade have come from a charity shop. Hunting out the perfect coat in a charity shop isn’t the easiest of tasks, it takes time and patience. Don’t compromise and buy the first thing you buy just because you’re scared you won’t find anything else. Visit different shops and visit time and again. Ask the staff if they have anything in stock which hasn’t made its way to the shop floor and most importantly be open to trying new things.
Although most charity shops are fine with refunds and returns now always, always, always make sure you try something on before buying it and always give it a good sniff too – especially in the underarm region.
Shopping the trends is fun but not when it comes at the expense of your finances. If you do happen to have a bit of cash floating around at the moment invest in a classic coat which will see you through the years. My mother still has a long, black woollen coat she bought in the 1970s which she brings out every year.
Classic doesn’t have to mean expensive, especially if you take good care of your clothes. Pick something in a neutral colour like black, grey, navy or brown. and make sure it is stitched together nicely with room enough for layers and scarves. I’ve picked up a couple of nice supermarket jackets, which fit into these brackets, over the years and they’ve lasted me just as well as more expensive jackets and coats.
Cheap doesn’t always mean rubbish
As I mentioned, I’ve had some cheap supermarket coats last me years, so don’t write off cheap clothes shops as full of rubbish. Check the seams and buttons to make sure they are held together well. Note if the garment has lining and make sure there is good length in the arms.
Make fitting adjustments
Found a beautiful, bargain coat but something about the fit isn’t ‘just so’? Take it to a seamstress and have it nipped in at the waist or taken up an inch or two. A seamstress isn’t nearly as expensive as you think. Ask for local recommendations from dry cleaners, on Twitter and check out your local library notice board.
Give your old coat a new look any number of ways.
– Switch out the buttons (I pick them up in charity shops – always ask if you can’t find any on the shop floor) or even change them to something like a toggle (you can pick them up cheaply on eBay).
– Change the collar by pinning it back and adding a few stitches.
– You could even change the fabric on front or breast pockets to something complementary or even wildly clashing.
Buy in the summer
This one may not be useful to you right now but if you’re really cold maybe it will stick in your head and come in useful in June 2013. Buy in the summer sales when they are getting rid of coats and also check out the charity shops who don’t stick to seasonal stock.
Dry cleaning and storing
Your coat might look a bit sad and tired after the previous winter but make sure to pep it up with a good dry clean and store away in a sealed bag. Look after your coat and it will keep you warm for a long time to come.