Cracking open that box labelled “Winter Clothes”—or dumping out that garbage bag of rumpled sweaters, if you’re anything like me—is anything but inspiring when cold weather arrives.
But you don’t have to run out and blow your budget on all-new items.
I tapped some style-savvy experts for ways both gals and guys can update the winter wardrobe they’ve already got.
They’ll help you see your old coat and gloves in a whole new light, with simple updates you can do yourself or find on the cheap.
New York City resident Julie Hardee, 31, picked up a cheap army jacket for 25 bucks at TJ Maxx and decided to freshen it up with some new hardware. It's a simple, chic way to add spice to a winter staple.
'I bought whole new pyramid buttons from M&J Trimming and sewed them on myself,' she says. 'I wear the heck out of that jacket. People lose their minds over it.'
For men, chances are you've already invested in a great pair of winter boots or shoes this season.
Now try experimenting with laces in different shades and patterns, says Grant Harris, founder of D.C.-based image consulting firm Image Granted. This is a great look and a super cheap way to add a pop of colour.
American Apparel has a three-pack on sale for less than 10 bucks.
Deep, dark denim is a winter staple, but after about a month of rifling through the same stack of near identical jeans, it can become a little monotonous. Shake things up by stepping outside of your colour comfort zone.
'I always like a dark jean, but these days there aren't any rules for the wash,' says Elana Pruitt, a personal shopper from San Dimas, Calif. 'Try an acid wash or a lighter jean. It could be fun pairing it up with a dark furry boot and a big sweater.'
Picking up a few basic lapel ornaments to bring interest to a boring old blazer is a simple way for men to stand out in winter, Harris says. Reuse an old pair of cufflinks or go way outside the box with a detailed lapel ornament.
'You don't need many of these, Harris says. 'You can mix and match two or three, and you want to get something that's versatile so it will translate across many outfits.'
You don't have to look like every Jane on the street in a parka this winter. Stay warm with a unique frock like a cape or a poncho, Pruitt says. No, they're not exactly office material, but they're perfect for weekends when you're free to have some fun with your look.
Check out sites like Etsy.com or brands like H&M for ones in your price range.
For guys, Harris suggests updating the standard skull cap by going for different materials like cashmere. Don't let the fancy name scare you off. You can find cashmere caps for under $30, he says.
'It'll keep you warmer and it's not something that will break the bank,' he says. 'And it will last for many years and save you more in the long run.'
Hit up bargain accessory haunts like Forever 21 and thrift shops for gloves in fun shades or patterns, Hardee says.
Since she commutes daily by bike, she picked up a pair of badass pleather riding gloves during a buy one, get one half off sale at Claire's.
Pruitt nabbed a chic pleather jacket from Target for $40. It's a different take on a winter coat and works great in sunnier parts of the states like her home in California.
'It's loose enough that I can wear a turtleneck under it,' she said. 'You wouldn't even know it's from Target. Forever 21 has some great stuff, too.'
You can brighten up any dull coat or scarf with a fun brooch or pin.
They're a favourite of our First Lady--and for good reason. H&M and Forever 21 keep loads in stock for under $5, but if you really want something unique, try rifling through your mother's or grandmother's old jewelry box.
Etsy also has a great stock of handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces that won't break the bank.
Ladies, nobody loves hat hair, but a lifeless, woolen blob on top of your head makes it even worse. Funk up your old beanie or fedora with a brooch, buttons or a nice bow, Hardee says.
'Hats make you look fancy and sophisticated, and winter is your opportunity,' she said.