Even those who move from one part of this giant country to another may find they need to purchase new clothing, let alone anybody moving here from another part of the world. Nearly all of Canada enjoys all four seasons, but different parts of the country enjoy each season for a slightly different amount of time. And despite the temperate winters and long, hot summers much of Canada experiences, one thing is still true: there’s no escaping winter!
Fall is coming quickly, and we want you to be ready. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the best places to purchase clothing for the fall and winter seasons that will keep you warm and stylish without costing an arm and a leg! Whether you’re renting at one of our Heritage Buildings in Saskatoon, living in the heart of Calgary’s inner city, or enjoying the great outdoors in Prince George, this guide will have you covered!
This blog will focus on where to buy your clothes, but it’s important you also know what to buy. You can usually get away with lighter insulated jackets and vests, sweaters and scarves during early-to-mid-fall, but by the time November rolls around, you’ll want to have your winter gear ready: keep those sweaters and scarves, but also get a good insulated winter jacket. For those with outdoor jobs, you’ll want something that is windproof and water resistant, and with appropriate fill ratings (fill ratings tell you how warm a coat will be) for - 40°C weather. For those working indoors or attending school, you’ll still want to buy something with similar ratings but you can aim for something that’s good for -30°C weather as well, you have more options. Those in much of BC will want to focus on wind-resistant and waterproof insulted garments due to the different weather systems there.
Everyone should also remember the importance of base layers: these layers can do nearly as much as your outer layers to keep you warm, and include t-shirts, underwear, long underwear, and other garments designed to wear under your normal clothes to keep you warm.
With that out of the way, here are five of our favourite places to find affordable fall and winter gear in Western Canada!
What to get here: Base layers and Down Vests and Jackets
Even if you don’t have a physical location nearby, the website for this hip Japanese clothing chain can ensure you’ll be able to take advantage of their great prices on quality clothing. They are famous for their Ultra-Light Down jackets and vests, releasing a new line every year, and always to rave reviews. Priced around $100 new, they can also be found second-hand on sites like eBay sometimes! We also recommend their Heat-Tech for base layers, which comes in three thicknesses to meet everyone’s needs.
- Military Surplus Stores
What to get here: Winter work gear, some sweaters and accessories
This isn’t the name of a chain, but nearly every city in Canada has some sort of a “City Surplus” or “Army Surplus” store (just Google “surplus store near me”) which offer a variety of military and civil surplus workwear for public purchase. These are usually offered at affordable prices, and some stores may allow customers to haggle a little. Be sure that you are doing your own research on what you’re buying to make sure it’s what you need.
- The Last Hunt
What to get here: Outerwear like coats, vests, and more
This website is a great resource for finding brand-name and designer clothes at a deep discount simply because they are from last season! With great brand names from Columbia to Patagonia, you’ll be able to find something at up to 65% off!
- Winners / Marshall’s
What to get here: Everything from gloves to base layers to outerwear
This is a large chain of stores, affiliated with sister brands Marshall’s which we are combining
What to get here: Everything and anything, once you have your measurements
Shopping on eBay can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to fall for a bad price disguised as a great deal. To avoid this, it’s important to do your research, and have some items in mind. Don’t search for “men winter coat”, have some specifications in mind and include them in your search instead. For example, search “550 fill power women winter coat LG” and then filter through that smaller batch of results that are closer to your needs. Also, ensure you have your own measurements properly taken so that you can compare them with the measurements the seller will post on eBay, an XL from one company will be bigger or smaller than an XL from another company.
- Consignment Stores and Thrift Stores
What to get here: Anything that fits and is warm enough!
Again, this isn’t the name of a chain, rather they are types of stores found commonly throughout the country. These are also known as secondhand shops. Consignment stores are generally more selective in what they will sell, they don’t take every item that people bring them, choosing the most stylish and higher-quality garments and leaving the rest. Thrift stores are similar, but will generally take any item in good, clean condition. While consignment stores will sell the item for the owner, sharing the profits with them, thrift stores are generally on a strictly-donation basis. In either case, check garments thoroughly for any signs of bedbugs, tears in waterproof clothing, etc. Once in a while, you’ll find some incredible deals at these stores!