We’re but a couple weeks away from the official start of spring. In most places across the country, the snow is melting and giving way to sleet. The freezing temperatures, which only a few weeks ago brought the entire state of Texas to its knees, have begun to tick back toward a less vicious chill. Most indicatively however, your online shopping searches have gone from “warmest winter coat” to “light spring jacket.”
But this is a mistake. Why? Because although we are, more or less, moving beyond the season of the winter coat, now is the perfect time to take a long hard look at your current winter coat (if you have one) and consider how well it kept you warm these last few months. If you remember several occasions where you felt you were better off rolling over and dying on a small hill of snow just to get the whole “freezing to death” thing over with, rather than trudge a few more blocks, then you may want to consider buying a new winter coat.
I know what you’re thinking: Next winter is the future. It’s far enough in advance that it may as well be some shitty, Muskian existence on the red planet, where winter coats aren’t even necessary because there’s no such thing as outside, it’s all starship gray and synthetic oxygen. But if you can bring yourself to think about next winter, you’ll find a fleet of winter coats at half price beckoning.
This isn’t news, exactly — more a helpful reminder that right now is your moment. Bargain shoppers, of course, are well aware that end-of-season sales are the best time to get that one thing you’ve kept in your digital shopping cart for weeks or even months. But convincing yourself to spend upwards of $100 or $200 on a new winter coat just when you’re trying to figure out your summer aesthetic feels, admittedly, wrong.
In this case, though, it’s worth it. As The Krazy Koupon Lady noted in her 13 winter shopping secrets, Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, runs a winter sale every January. Then in February, they offer 30 percent off Columbia and North Face jackets. In March, The Krazy Koupon Lady reports, “you can get 40 to 50 percent off brands like The North Face and Columbia when you shop Dick’s Spring Outerwear Sale.” Similar sales are available via Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Uniqlo and REI. The point being that by March, the price of a winter coat is about as low as it will ever go in a given year.
In fact, by this same equation, you should basically never shop for seasonal clothes in the season for which they’re made. Buy your swimsuits in the winter and your boots in the summer. There is the issue of trends that come and go with each year, naturally, but some things — foremost among them, a winter coat — are simply incapable of changing all that much: A North Face may have an extra zipper or come in a slightly different shade of black, but are those differences really worth the few hundred dollars you could save?
Fashion trends are the underhanded lifeblood of the clothing industry, and most of the time, we’re all at the will of whatever trend is being fed to us that year. But the winter-coat hack is at least one way you can succumb to the Nordstroms of the world with a bit of dignity. Go buy yourself a coat for half the price, and eight months later when you finally get to wear it, you’ll feel smug as hell.