Winter For All Budgets!

by Eva D'Arpino
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I love writing about kids’ fashion. I spend much of my free time cruising Instagram and gawking at all the amazing fashion available to parents that were non-existent in the 90s. For those who grew up as 80s and 90s kids, what stands out in all those horribly lit pictures? The ugly, stiff and bulky clothes! I cringe when I see pictures of myself as a kid. Thankfully, we have all come a long way. Now, as much as I love the current and hip stuff, October’s mid-month snow squall warning got my responsible parent wheels turning. The leaves were on the ground and it was starting to get cold, which meant more miserable days were coming.

                                            The Struggle

Just last week, my 3 year old refused to put on mittens for the simple fact that I called them gloves. Even after I called them mittens, he still refused because apparently the damage was done. I refuse to be beaten down this year by my little army of three, so I went off in search of some good winter gear that will be loved by kids and make getting out the door easy and painless. Ok, fine – maybe that’s reaching for some high stars, but I can’t help being hopeful. I searched for higher-end luxury brands along with more common mall options, so there really is something for everyone.

                                         Luxury Brands 

For those who love a high-end and incredible looking coat, look no further. Moncler is all you will ever need for a luxury coat for yourself and your kids. It is incredibly light weight, has a unique soft shell and has a wonderful lustre! This coat be dressed up or down with no effort at all. This luxury French-Italian brand is best known for its jackets and sportswear. The brand has a rich history: the first jackets were made for humble workers who needed protection from harsh mountain conditions in an Alpine town near Grenoble, France. Moncler’s name was born from this town — Monestier-de-Clermont. If the technology and well-thought-out design was good enough to keep workers safe from mountain winds and cold, it will certainly keep a child warm, cozy and extremely stylish. Coats in kids’ sizes run between $750-$1000. However, they can be dressed down for school or dressed up for the upcoming holiday season. Definitely an investment piece that can be passed down several times or resold in either a consignment shop or a buy/sell page like the one on Pink & Blue.

Mid-Range Budget

Columbia and Mountain Equipment Co-Op are my mid-range go-to brands for the fun stuff like shoveling snow, building snowmen, skating and all other activities that require flexible, warm and durable gear. Last week I picked up a bunting suit from Mountain Equipment Co- Op for my 2 year old. This way there is less of a fight because I only have to worry dressing him in one item. Personally, I find them warmer for the little kids. I also made sure to pick it up in a nice gender-neutral red so I can easily pass it onto my little girl next year. I don’t mind spending a bit more on winter clothes as keeping them warm and cozy is a priority, and better quality pieces always hold up and get passed to younger siblings, cousins or friends’ kids. The Columbia or MEC bunting suit is perfect for the daycare kids who really need something easy to get on and off. These pieces are about $100 and up.

Deals and Steals

Anyone on a delicate budget will appreciate the snowsuits at Carter’s / Oshkosh. The company has over 100 years of experience! They are definitely doing something right. Affordable and relatively durable, these suits have firmer shells and come in plenty of great colours. Finding a gently used piece is really easy and it would cost below retail. Carter’s / Oshkosh has been around for decades and is still a go-to brand for many households. Suitable for our unpredictable Canadian winters, most of the coats are separate from the pants and the brands run large, so it’s possible to sneak in an extra year of wear. Isn’t that a nice change?

Footwear

Boots are super important to parents of kids who go to daycare and/or school. My three kids are home for the most part, so boots are only a concern  this year as my 2 and 3.5 year olds will want to be outside playing a lot more than previous years. I looked to my friends for advice instead of stores and websites for boot recommendations. Hands down, Sorel came out the winner. All six moms I asked said Sorel without hesitation. Sorel boots, owned by Columbia Sportswear (originally founded in Kitchener, Ontario!) are water proof, not just water resistant, which is a huge difference. Water resistant boots means that your kiddies are ok in the rain and while walking through light snow and puddles. Waterproof means they are guaranteed no water penetration resulting in dry feet all day long. When it comes to the school yard, warm and dry is imperative. Not overly heavy or bulky, Sorel boots are well made and have the potential to last for two or three seasons for older kids who don’t have any major growth spurts. Like with most boots, the sizes run large. So, some parents advised going down a size. For economical integrity, there is nothing wrong with wearing a thicker sock and giving the boots a chance at a second season as long as walking isn’t an issue. Ensure there isn’t any excessive slipping in the back of the boot, as extra movement can cause blisters.

Warm Accessories

When talking about mitts and gloves, especially for the littlest of kids, I head straight to a warehouse store that has a big winter stock and buy tons of mittens and gloves. I could glue mitts on my kids and they will still manage to lose them. Same applies to hats and other small items. I always try to save on the accessories and put extra into the longer lasting items, such as jackets, snow pants and boots. Good luck and happy shopping!

 

                                             Stay warm and stay rad!

 

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