Now that it’s been icy-cold for a month, I’ve put my cold weather wardrobe to the test. This is the fourth season in a row I’ve been intentional about evaluating my wardrobe, so by the end of March, I will have a whole year’s experience to go on! For a list of what I identified as cold weather essentials, check here. Keep in mind that by “cold,” I mean sub-zero!
I have discovered a trend. Either I am a slob, or winter is just hard on clothing. I am finding it really hard to keep up on cleaning everything when I have so few items. This month, the roads and my car are covered in salt. I can’t wash the car because it is too cold and the doors would freeze shut. Every day I have to scrape frost off the windows and lean over the car. Inevitably, my jacket and pants get yucky, dirty salt all over them. In just walking to and from my car, my boots get caked in slush and salt.
Last week when I was out and about, I noticed a fellow shopper and thought, “Ugh, her jacket is really grimy,” and then I realized mine wasn’t so hot, either!
The slob part is that I seem to get food stains on my thick sweaters so I have to wash them often. They need to be hand washed and dried flat and it takes forever! I even use a cloth napkin while eating and it doesn’t help! Maybe I need a personal assistant to feed me. This morning I am washing my jacket and sweaters, and cleaning my boots. Not exactly how I envisioned my morning off. I’m all in favour of taking care of things and making them last. But I need enough stuff to get me through a work week, so I can save the maintenance for weekends!
My hiking boots gave up the ghost and I now have to replace my 12-year-old warm-lined leather boots as well. (The lining has worn out so I can’t just replace the soles). I am really in a quandary because as a new vegetarian, I am not keen to buy new leather boots. (More info on why here) Plus, you need to maintain them with either spray chemicals or more animal products (dubbin, saddle soap, or – gulp – mink oil). I absolutely need boots that are warm, fully waterproof and completely washable/cleanable. I don’t think any treated natural fabrics would stand up well to the weather conditions here. All the synthetic options, such as Gore-Tex and Thinsulate, are made from plastics which are not good for the environment. I realize that used or recycled leather boots are not a bad option. But I am debating between buying synthetics and making them last a long time, or maybe buying lined natural rubber/recycled rubber boots? I’ve decided it doesn’t matter much if they are breathable because I don’t spend time outdoors in the winter “on purpose.”
In terms of value for money, I am going to give myself a 50% success rating on my “festive” wardrobe purchases for December. I was able to wear my sparkly black top a couple of times. Even though it is worn with an under-layer, the metallic threads are still scratchy! The red cardigan was a hit, but as the weeks go by, it is starting to look like a Christmas holdover. Maybe I can get a couple more wears out of it leading up to Valentines Day? The cool paisley stretch cord skinnies seemed like a good idea, but since I have been mostly hibernating in January, they were only worn once. However, I should have occasion to wear them in February and March.
I have realized that my light-weight pullover sweaters, shirts, and business-wear jackets are nowhere near warm enough for this time of year. I will need to invest in at least one heavier-weight, lined business jacket. I am getting good use out of my cardigans but I must admit they are mighty frumpy looking and not too professional, so they need an upgrade (except for the new, red one). Of course, being the end of January, it is getting quite late to find winter sale items in the stores!
Because my existing jeans are faded (or purposely distressed), I don’t wear them to work, even on casual days. So I am still in the market for a pair of dark-washed jeans. I tried on a pair from the Jeanne Beker Edit line when they were on sale and was very disappointed that they didn’t suit me. So far, I have not felt up for extensive jeans shopping! Does anyone actually like trying on jeans?
What all this means is that I have only been wearing a fraction of the capsule cold-weather wardrobe that I do have! Since extended periods of cold weather are a reality here, I need to invest more money to make my wardrobe work better at this time of year. I think I will psych myself up for a round of serious shopping to see what is left for the season, and then call it quits until next year’s pre-season sales.
Soon I will have more data to support my wardrobe building. I am very excited that I’m booked for a fitting appointment with Me-Ality in March. Astonishingly, my city has the only one in Canada, and it’s in a private location, not in a busy mall! Would you submit to a full body scan to help you find clothes that really fit?