A guide to finding a reasonably priced coat for the cold Canadian climes

There’s no denying it: the Halloween decorations are gone, the red Starbucks coffee cups are out, and winter is right around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself still wearing a fashionable fall jacket and a toque. These are mostly for show and will do little to prepare you for the hazards of Canada’s longest, harshest season.

According to weather forecasters and other such intellectuals, the sequel to last year’s polar vortex may be upon us, and hence we must adequately prepare for the worst. We’ve compiled a list of cheap places to buy winter clothing so that you can saunter through the forthcoming cold, dark season with style and grace.

Winners

When my friend told me that he had just purchased his winter parka for a staggering $700, I felt my knees begin to buckle and my stomach churn. Holding on to a lamppost for stability, I told him that there were alternatives. Take Winners for example. Why doesn’t Winners ever get the attention it truly deserves? Their clothing is actually not bad; they have a wide range of stuff, and their quality winter jackets don’t get much higher than $120. For Toronto, that’s a bargain.

Army Surplus — Kensington Market

Before going to the Army Surplus, understand that it’s going to be a bit of an off-putting experience. The army geeks that work there can be a little over-bearing, and will often stare at you with a fixed intensity as you try on the clothing. But don’t be intimidated. Everything there is super warm, and if their army parkas got America through the Second World War, they’ll probably get you through the winter.

Value Village

Get a hip jacket while maintaining your coffee budgets. At Value Village, you can often find reasonably warm coats, as well as mittens and scarves for less than $10. Put it through the wash a few times, and you’ll forget about any hesitations you may have initially had.

The Black Market — Queen & Beverly

Of course, it would be impossible to get through one of these shopping guides without mentioning the Black Market. Genuinely my favourite place to buy clothing, this year they’ve decked the store out in scarves, hats, and gloves. I wouldn’t advise browsing here for jackets — they’re normally kept in a dark and scary corner where I’m only assuming lie bats, mice and hipster ghosts — but everything else is fair game, and, as usual, $10 or less.

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