Winter has been a mixed bag in terms of clothes, weather and the pandemic, but now it’s time for my 2021 Winter Wardrobe Update.

2021 Winter Wardrobe Update.
Woman standing beside a snow man, c. 1920 – 1945 via State Library Victoria

2021 Winter Wardrobe Plan Recap

Basically, I wanted a minimally viable winter wardrobe; as much warm clothing as I could get for $500. The plan was:

  • 1 fleece-lined jeans maybe $100
  • 2 fleece-lined track pants $50
  • 2 fleece-lined dresses $150
  • 2 warm fleece jackets or coats $50
  • provision for exchange fluctuations/overruns $150

And stroke or not, I was looking for my usual style building blocks:

  • Colour: black.
  • Pattern: none.
  • Silhouette: My favourite is a 3:2 ratio – long top over a long bottom (e.g. tunic over jeans.)
  • Design Line: Semi-fitted.
  • Texture: Light and Smooth.

2021 Winter Wardrobe Update

So. I bought

  • 1 fleece-lined jeans – lost in transit
  • 2 fleece-lined leggings $46.67
  • 2 fleece-lined track pants $33.80
  • 2 fleece-lined dresses $152.57
  • 2 fleece-lined coats $102.70

for a total of $335.74.

Which came in under budget, but were generally less than satisfactory in terms of warmth.

  • The leggings have been fantastically warm.
  • After a couple of washes the fleece in the trackpants washed out.
  • The dresses needed some alteration, but with the lockdown, I couldn’t get to the dressmaker.
  • The coats were a little tight, and not windproof, so I didn’t get much wear from them.

I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and consider that a normal person may have found them warm enough.

As winter progressed, I did pull a couple of things out from last year, and was delighted I could ignore the pattern on one of the dresses. I tried dying some of my previous purchases, though that was not as successful as I’d hoped.

Wardrobe Learnings

For the last couple of years I’ve been wearing cheaper, and therefore less durable clothing that hasn’t worn, let alone lasted well. Sagging, bagging, stretching, and discolouring.

The problem of clothes shopping has been compounded by the pandemic:

  • Over reliance on mail order, and delays in shipping and receipt.
  • The inability to visit stores to see and feel the quality of items.
  • Lack of reliable winter stores.
  • Many stores going out of business.

I’m finding myself increasingly annoyed by altering and constantly mending my clothes. And then throwing them out at the end of the season because they’re more or less unwearable. Not sufficient quality for charity stores either.

And let’s not forget how you feel when you wear worn and soiled clothing that doesn’t fit well.

I keep looking at my favourite red linen tunic; made to measure in May 2014 (!!!), for $82.40. And still, to my amazement, going strong!

So, I think my experiment in cheap clothing may be coming to an end.

I’m sure there’s a place for less expensive basics like t-shirts and underpants, but that’s a problem for next year.


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