Splurge or Save: Six winter wardrobe pick-me-ups

Splurge or Save: Six winter wardrobe pick-me-ups

Look, it was 23 degrees today and I had to take my pants off at home because it was so hot, but I am telling you - it will be chilly before we know it. Then, we will find ourselves doing the “I don’t understand, what did I wear last year???” dance in front of our winter wardrobes. Team, let’s be prepared.

In order to be prepared, I thought I’d round up six trendy-trends for you so you have immediate access to the things that will give your wardrobe a quick update. Here’s the thing though - not all of these are things you need to buy fresh off the rack. In fact, I challenge you not to. Let’s dig in!

Sage or pistachio green

sage dress 2.jpg
sage dress.jpg

Midnight Dance Dress by Bec and Bridge, via The Iconic

Maybe lime, if you’re feeling really sassy.

I’m a big fan of a slip dress for layering in cooler weather, but really anything in this kind of light green will do the trick. This is a perfect foil for burgundy or rust, which both remain strong autumn and winter trends this year. Green in this shade sets them off and updates them. You will potentially look at this in an outfit and think it looks a bit off - that’s the goal, you want colours that are a bit clashy. I will also accept: lime, mint or a mostly green aqua.

Can I buy it in an op shop?

Aaaabsolutely. Sage green was big in the 90s so you should be able to dig some out. The key will be to try and find classic shapes and fabrics that aren’t horrifying.

May I suggest…this vintage cardigan. Pair it with some burgundy trousers (wear it fully buttoned up) and a pair of statement earrings and work. it. gurl.

Tweed or “country” skirts

tweed skirt.jpg

Pleated Houndstooth Skirt at Veronika Maine

Is it even winter 2019 if you’re not wearing a skirt suited to striding around your country estate? The key is to look for something longish (mid-calf) with a bit of a pleat, in a tweed or (in this case), a houndstooth.

These skirts are a winter winner every year, to be fair, because they look awesome with pretty much any top you can imagine. Oversized chunky knit? Great. Fitted cashmere tucked in? Also great. Button up shirt? Greaty-great-great. They’re also fab with ankle boots, flat lace ups and knee high boots (the last is my personal favourite).

Can I buy it in an op shop? Yes - the estates of the elderly women of New Zealand donate many of these to op shops every year. The ones from the 80s are particularly good. They’re just old enough to be excellent quality but not so old they’re damaged in any way.

May I suggest…THIS JAMES PRINGLE SKIRT I need someone in a size 12 to buy this. I’d wear a fitted red turtleneck with this and then stride about purposefully. Surprisingly likely to raise the heart rates of all nearby hetero dudes.

Top Handle Bags

top handle bag.jpg

Furla Mughetto Bag in Caramello

This bag is nearly a thousand NZ bucks, which is rather too much for the Frivolous Things account just now. However, it’s worth finding something in this family for a change from the 6500000 crossbody bags that have been big business in recent years. It’s nice to be able to carry a bag without having to sling it across the bulk of coats and scarves. If you’re thoughtful about the gloves you buy, this could be a Look. It will be way too twee if you wear it with your tweed skirt, so instead pair it with a good pair of distressed jeans and an oversized coat for some of that classic fashion juxtaposition.

Can I buy it in an op shop? Probably, but I generally find the bag offerings in op shops to be woeful. Better to look for a version with a detachable long strap, and buy now, wear forever.

May I suggest…when you search “top handle” in the womens section of TradeMe you get a bunch of designer bags (DYOR). Personally, if I was in the market I’d consider this vintage number, but wear it in the day time for a little razzle-dazzle.

Boiler Suits

boiler suit.jpg
boiler suit 2.jpg

Wayland boiler suit from Neon Blonde via The Iconic

Okay, this time last year I was DEAD SET on finding a worn out, proper boiler suit to wear for winter and then I realised that I had nowhere to wear that. I work in a professional environment and while I’m happy to push the boundaries, I cannot show up looking like I’m about to do a spot of painting and decorating. So I let it go. Fast forward a year, and blimming boiler suits are all the rage. I blame Stella McCartney for making a very desirous denim number (long since sold out). The version above isn’t one I would buy but it gives you the vibe.

Can I buy it in an op shop? Not to my knowledge. I think you could probably find excellent vintage options in specialty online stores but I’ve searched for months and not found one in an op shop. Sometimes I find workers’ overalls but they are always too big and too dirty.

May I suggest…I have nothing to suggest, sorry.

Snake Print


Blake Western Boot from Mi Piaci

If leopard print kicked off over summer (and continues, don’t panic) then snake print is slithering up close behind. This is massively trendy, so please don’t go crazy buying $1000 dresses or some such nonsense - now is the hour to buy it secondhand or to buy ONE hero piece in this print. I like the idea of a boot because they will be pleasingly retro in time, but it abounds, so if you want a floaty skirt then you go for it, friend. Hear me though: ONE piece.

Can I buy it in an op shop? If you are lucky, you will find snake print hidden among many, many questionable animal prints. You might find snake accessories (both real, vintage snakeskin and embossed leather). Honestly, it will be so pervasive this year, if you want it just go high street and buy the best you can manage.

May I suggest…this vintage bag. Dammit I really want this for myself but I absolutely cannot justify it. I’d wear this with my slinky grey slip dress for a night on the town (who am I with on this imaginary date? Don’t ruin my fashion dreams people).

And finally…cargo pants. I know.

cargo pants.jpg

Mixed Media Cargo Jogger from Me+Em

Okay. Take a deep breath because…the fashion industry wants cargo pants to be back in fashion and it’s very sorry about the baggy ones we wore in the 90s and also the skin tights ones we wore in the 00s and look - just spend a hundred bucks and hopefully third time will be the charm?

Personally, I do not believe third time can ever be the charm with cargo pants but hey, they would certainly be a wardrobe update. Wear them sleek (but not tight) with your most luxurious fabrics to keep it looking sporty-luxe. I’d steer clear of heels, which I think will look a bit too try-hard, and instead go with neat flats.

Can you buy them in an op shop? Not in this latest re-cut. If you’re very confident and don’t give a shit about the cut, then absolutely get your fill of discarded pants from the last two rounds of this nonsense. Personally, I’d go Army Surplus for something less likely to be a car crash of trendiness.

May I suggest…I refuse to participate in this or to perpetuate it any more than I already have hahaha!

So there it is - six ways to immediately update your wardrobe by mixing it up with some new bits and bobs, and you can do it on a budget if you’d rather. Have a fab time getting in a few new pieces, and remember: keep trends to a minimum and spend up big on the classics.