It’s that time of year where we all regret going to school in Wisconsin. The bitter cold and roaring winds make me want to do nothing more than stay inside, cozy up in my pajamas, and have a cup of steamy hot chocolate while watching Friends all day. For those of us who force our half-frozen selves out of bed in the morning, bundling up is essential, at least until frostbite comes back into style. On a hunt for warm (but cute) clothes, I ogle through the women’s section of Nordstrom, wanting to buy every brightly colored cashmere sweater and hand-knit beanie that comes into sight. That is, until I see the price tag.
The fact is, I cannot afford to pay eight-hours-worth of ice cream scooping money for one shirt! I’ve noticed, however, that extremely similar products are at other stores for a much lower price. For the benefit of every girl who doesn’t want to freeze to death, but also doesn’t want to dress like the Michelin man, here’s a comparison of expensive items at high-end stores with their more reasonable counterparts at a fraction of the price.
Available in a variety of colors, the infinity scarf can be layered over a jacket or sweater for added warmth to accent an outfit. The products differ slightly in their fabrics, but Forever 21 offers an unbeatable price for $20 less of what Nordstrom asks.
Forever 21, $9.80
This open sweater is the perfect color for the cold weather and can easily be worn over other shirts to create more body heat to keep you warm. Urban has a reputation for being pricey, and it lives up to that standard with a five-fold increase in price of H&M’s better bargain.
Urban Outfitters, $59
Black Puffer Vest
This classic has dual advantages in that it can be worn as part of your regular outfit or used as outerwear when the weather becomes milder (if that ever happens!). Trusty old Forever 21 once again pulls through with a similar-looking product to that of the North Face, which let’s face it, is not always worth the markup.
The North Face, $99
Forever 21, $19.80
Combat boots are a must-have wardrobe staple, and for good reason. Trekking through the slush and snow on the sidewalks can easily soak through Ugg boots and other cloth-covered shoes. However, with a pair of sturdy wool socks underneath, I can personally vouch for combat boots’ resilience and resistance to water, keeping your feet dry all day. Disclaimer: they’ll end up getting pretty dirty by the end of the season, so definitely go for the cheaper pair on Amazon.
Steve Madden, $99.95
A hat may give you a little bit of frizz, but the hat hair is definitely worth not freezing your ear and/or scalp off. After all, you lose most of your body heat primarily from your head. The black color of the slouchy hat is versatile and keeps clean longer than, say, a white one. Despite its misleading name, Free People does not give away clothes but rather overcharges for them instead. Go with the more affordable alternative at Asos, and spend the excess on some cute gloves that match.
Free People, $28
Hopefully, these comparisons will serve as guidelines on where to shop for decently priced clothes. Often, virtually the same products are just at a higher markup at “brand-name” stores. Know that you can have style and a body temperature above 0 degrees and still have enough money left over in your wallet for that hot chocolate you want so badly.