5 Ways to Prepare your Winter Wardrobe for next to nothing

*A blast from the past post*

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Okay, maybe spark plugs are not what I can help you with, but the question remains; are you ready for Winter?  At the beginning of each new season, the magazines are full of tips of which boot / glove/ dress you need to survive the season. But one of the things I almost never read about is how to make the most of the wardrobe you have from last year!  So instead of giving you a bunch of advice on how to spend your money, today I’m looking at some of the key ways to ready your wardrobe for winter without spending a cent.

Autumn is the perfect time to start preparing and planning for the cold rainy days ahead. We get the odd cold day, but there is still enough sun to fool us into thinking that winter is still far away – until we’re caught out.

1. Boots & Shoes

If you’ve bought well in previous seasons you should already have at least one decent pair of winter shoes. Now is the time to make sure that they are up to another round of keeping you dry warm and stylish.

Check each pair for strained seams, check the soles for wear and check the join where the upper meets the lower.  If any of these areas is looking worse for wear make sure to take them to your nearest cobbler and have the small inexpensive repairs done. A little bit of sealant may mean the difference between wet or dry.

If the soles are worn or just looking a bit slick, have them replaced with a textured rubber to stop the potential for bruised butts and egos!

The upper should always be polished or nourished, depending on the finish.  Rather than carrying loads of different coloured polishes, I rely on “Zanolin”. It is a clear leather moisturizer that you can use on shoes, bags, seats etc.. It is one of my secret weapons in bringing vintage pieces back to life and will give your shoes a new suppleness and glow.

2. Woolens

At the end of last summer you should have washed and packed away your woolens, giving yourself more wardrobe space and protecting them from moths.  Now is the time, while we still have a few warm days, to get them out and get them freshly washed.  Use an eco friendly, eucalyptus bashed wool wash  or alternatively if you don’t have that on hand, a gentle shampoo with a few drops of eucalyptus oil will do the trick.  Make sure that you always hand wash woolens (even if they are acrylic I still recommend it), squeezing as much water you can from them, then drying flat on white towels to help them keep their shape.

Once they are washed and ready, check each one over for any repairs by holding them up in the sun and looking for holes that aren’t a part of the knit.  If you don’t know how to darn, now is the time to learn.  It may look or sound complicated, but it is quick, easy and can save you a small fortune.

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Image by Yecatsml via Flickr

3. Gloves.

These guys take a beating each season, yet are so often forgotten when it comes to maintenance. Just like your sweaters, knitted gloves should be hand washed and repaired where needed.  But knitted gloves are also a quick and easy piece to fancy up with whatever your current obsession is.  All you need is a wool needle, things like beads, coloured wool or felt to sew on your own embellishments that are easily changed and removed with each year.

Leather gloves shouldn’t be washed but conditioned with “Zanolin”. Because these gloves are often lined, humidity can be a problem in keeping them fresh and clean.  I save those little packets of Silica that come in lots of products and keep them in the fingers when I store them.  If they get wet, dry the outsides then turn them inside out to air dry, but NEVER put them in front of a heat source or they’ll dry out and crack up.

4. Bags.

You don’t need the latest IT bag each winter,all you really need is a little care, attention and creativity. As far as care goes, the same advice applies here to leather bags as it does to shoes. Check seams, linings, hardware and leather condition.  Cobblers can also fix seams, hardware and split zippers on these.  When it comes to looks you can quickly change the look of your bag depending out your outfit. One of the things I like to do is to use big square head scarves looped and tied around the handle, choosing the scarf to match the outfit.  Then you’ll also have it on hand for rain, wind or any other of winter’s natural hair enemies.

The other one is using key chain clips. There are loads of commerically available charms, but I like to make my own; cannibalising old jewelery, kids toys or even bits of fabric to make over sized bows.

5. Create a uniform.

Now that you’ve made sure that all the critical winter pieces are in good working order, the other thing you’ll need to get you through the season is a uniform. A go to outfit that you can pull on in the dark, in a hurry or when getting dressed is an Everest of a task.  What your uniform is will depend entirely on your own style, but whatever it is make it easy.

The trick is to pull together pieces that are basic, simple, comfortable but in luxe fabrics that can be dressed up quickly with good accessories.  For me, my go to outfit is a long black cashmere dress. It wasn’t cheap, but it was a great investment. I’ve been wearing it each winter for the last six years and it never fails to impress. It feels like wearing pajamas, but throw on some sparkly earrings and you can head out to dinner.  A long, soft scarf and some boots, and it becomes perfect for the school run.

Your uniform should consist of as few actual clothing pieces as possible, relying on accessories to change it up. Choosing neutral colours is the obvious way to go, but you could always go with something like a dark plum in place of black, even chocolate or navy.

Think differently this Winter and rediscover the hidden potential in your wardrobe.

Remember, style isn’t about what you spend but how you wear it!

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 5 Ways to Prepare your Winter Wardrobe for next to nothing
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Candice DeVille

Specialty Vintage Stylist, Blogger, and Presenter; Candice DeVille has been writing Super Kawaii Mama since early 2008. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she's always in search of the next glamorous adventure. Bringing you vintage style, glamour and inspiration for the 21st Century.
 5 Ways to Prepare your Winter Wardrobe for next to nothing
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  1. I love that your winter staple is a dress. I’m busy trying to prove to everyone that with tights/stocking and scraves I can wear dresses all winter, especially the wool-mix sweater dresses from portmans *love*.

    I really need to establish a ‘uniform’ outfit. Getting out of bed in teh dark in winter when the kids are whinging about the cold is not my strong point, and I hate fumbling in the wardrobe with numb hands or (even worse) having to trudge out to the clothesline with bare feet to find something to wear.

  2. What a great list! We’re heading into summer now but a lot of these work for the summer months too. Thank you!

  3. Thankyou so much for this post! It is so practical and helpful, and appeals to my thrifty side. Brilliant

  4. Love the tips! Just realised it’ve been ages since I last commented, happy to be back though!


  5. floraposte /

    Really great advice! If you put little cedar cubes amongst your knitwear when packing them away after cleaning they are less likely to succumb to the moth!

  6. I am so so jealous that you guys are heading to winter now. It’s in the middle of summer where I am.

  7. Hannah /

    bit late for us Brits, but god am I glad. It’s been about 2 degrees for the last 10 days, there’s only so stylish you can be when going outside involves two jumpers and a big coat.

    that said, the uniform concept is a fabulous idea, sadly my uniform (sraight leg jeans, knee high black leather boots, assortment of longer length polo neck jumpers, and scaves) is not that stylish! Maybe next year…

    bring on spring! :)

  8. Juliette /

    I love seeing the images of woolens.
    Alas living in tropical Mackay I will not be able to wear them.
    Always love hearing your thrifty advice.

  9. Vintage Lucero /

    I love this post! Being a minimalist, as you know I am! Now that I’m over 40 I realize quality is a must now and thrift as much as possible, but will spend the extra dime on a wardrobe consisting of hardcore classics and craftmanship that will last decades!

  10. kirsty /

    Hi Candice,

    I was recently gifted a genuine 50′s crocodile skin handbag and although it is in quite good condition I have no idea what I should use to protect it and keep the beautiful skin in good condiion.

    Do you have any tips, currently I’m afraid tha I will ruin it if I use it :)

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Kirsty: I use a leather food like Zanolin or those others from the cobbler. You can even use straight lanolin if you wish. The idea is to keep the leather hydrated (ideally with natural oils) and then it stays nice and supple. I use Zanolin on crocodile and snake skin with great effectiveness.

  11. Here in Switzerland, it’s now Winter (since december), but I’m really happy that I can use your tips and advices immediatly! And I will definitly use your shoes advices for next year! :)

    I’m going on holiday these next days, so I had to do my “winter packing”. So I read your post about packing for vacation.
    That was perfect and helpfull!

    I hope You’ll write a sort of “How to Plan Your Packing for a Perfectly Winter Stylish Vacation” or just the pictures of your winter version :)

    Enjoy the rest of the summer for us!
    Innina recently posted..Flea Market Treasurescushions!


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