There are plenty of reasons to love the winter season – snow days, hot chocolate, skiing, tiny dogs in sweaters, the list goes on. But there are definitely some pains with winter too, like icy roads, endless snow shoveling and damage to our shoes and clothes.
This winter has been especially wet and cold so far, and it’s important to buy quality clothing that’s sturdy and warm enough to keep you safe from the elements for years to come. Unfortunately, your apparel is far more susceptible to being damaged outside during the winter because of the sidewalk salt and stubborn ice that linger on the ground until springtime.
Here are some tips on buying the right clothes and protecting them this winter!
Buying the Right Apparel
Covering Your Bases
The biggest thing to consider when shopping for winter clothes is covering all your bases. You never want to find yourself without gloves, a scarf or a hat when you’re freezing cold, so get a few pairs and always keep one in your car in case of emergency. Try to buy accessories that are close-fitting and have some substantial insulation. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about your bottom half either; make sure you have plenty of long johns and winter socks for your legs and feet. During the winter, it’s best to have layers to add on or take off for your comfort.
Comfort trumps style when it comes to winter clothing. You don’t want to worry about keeping light colors clean or wearing pretty fabric that’s completely ruined by dampness. Remember those layers we were talking about? Try to always have a waterproof outer layer whenever possible. It’ll help keep you dry and toasty. Another helpful feature in winter clothes are sleeves and hems that cinch at the bottom to block out wind. Winter boots with a thick wool lining are ideal, but if you prefer your regular shoes all year round, make sure you stock up on wool or nylon socks to wear underneath.
Protecting Your Wardrobe
Your footwear is the biggest victim of winter damage. A lot of expensive and stylish materials we like to wear on our feet each winter don’t handle the snow or chemicals very well. You can easily prevent the worst of the damage by purchasing any kind of water repellant and applying it to your shoes beforehand. Aerosol sprays work well for suede shoes, while waxes or lotions are best for leather shoes. Tip: Apply waxes in a circular motion and set with a hairdryer for best results.
If you’re reading this post too late and your shoes are already suffering, don’t worry, there’s still hope! Most leather and fabric shoes damaged by the salt can look new again after being dabbed with a solution of one tablespoon vinegar mixed in one cup warm water. Note: This doesn’t work on suede. If all else fails, a lot of dry cleaners and leather repair shops are very skilled at fixing these kinds of problems and will charge you a lot less than you’d pay for brand new shoes.
If you have a far walk from home, the parking lot or bus stop to work, you may seriously want to invest in some snow pants for the winter. You can easily wear them over your regular apparel and take them off after you get there each morning. Plus, they’re affordable and should last you quite a while. If you’re not into that idea, you’ll have to protect the bottoms of your pants some other way. You can either invest in some high lined boots and always tuck your pants in, or fold pant legs up once or twice and secure with a rubber on each leg. It doesn’t matter if you look ridiculous, because at the end of the day, the hems of your pants won’t be frayed, stained or torn.
If you’re reading this post too late to prep your pants too, no worries! You can use the same vinegar solution above to remove most road salt stains. Let it soak in for about ten minutes before washing and air drying them.
The other issue of protecting your wardrobe during winter is wet clothes. I know it’s tempting to throw your wet clothes in a corner and forget you’ve ever been outside after a rough few minutes in a blizzard, but it’s important to immediately hang up your wet clothes or throw them in the dryer to prevent any mold or mildew from forming.
Those are a good set of basic guidelines to follow when it comes to protecting your premium winter gear this year. Do you have any other tips? Let us know in a comment below!