You may want to start your child’s winter wardrobe with the luxury quilted leather youth coat from Saks Fifth Avenue. It will cost you $2,350. If you’re on a budget, the shearling jackets for girls or boys from Burberry are priced at $995. That leaves you enough money for a handmade pair of $38,000 Testoni alligator-skin boots. Toss in some high-end Gore-Tex gloves for $200. Add a crystal
fox Russian kid’s hat for $750. Voila! You’re set for around 40 grand for one of your children.
Or, you could spend under $200 for an entire wardrobe—or even under $100 if you’re super savvy—and do a better job of keeping your child warm and dry. It’s not about money, cutting-edge technology, or even having the warmest coat. It’s all about layering.
“Layering is so important because you can add or shed depending on the temperature and conditions,” says Scott Marble, owner of Canfield’s Sporting Goods. “It’s not just about keeping warm. It’s about not getting too warm, too. It’s a balancing act.”
Take an example: Your child goes to school in the warmest down coat available. The temperature rises as the sun comes up, he or she goes outside and plays hard and, all of sudden, the child is wet from sweating. Most likely, they will take that coat off and be running around in the cold in a base layer soaked with perspiration.
Three layers are the standard. Ideally, the base layer—the clothing closest to the skin—is made of a polyester blend with wicking attributes. You don’t want wet fabric against skin. But, cotton usually is fine on most days. The second layer is your insulation. Layers of fleece are good, down or polyester-fill jackets are fine, too. The outside layer should protect against wind and water.
Numerous companies now have coats with removable fleece inner linings, Marble says. And many of them are now reasonably priced. “Kids grow out of coats pretty quickly,” he says. “You can definitely understand why parents would want to keep costs down.”
The best shoes or boots for winter are those with some sort of waterproof lining. Waterproof and breathable linings are the ideal to keep feet from getting wet from perspiration during activities. Gore-Tex has long been the standard for breathable, waterproof materials, but it’s pretty expensive for a coat or pair of boots that may only be used one season. Luckily, Marble says, the market is now saturated with several high-tech Gore-Tex-like fabrics. “You can get high-quality stuff now
for a good price.”
Sometimes parents forget the last step: Protecting the extremities. A good fleece cap is relatively inexpensive, as are fleece gloves. But, going too cheap on gloves can be a bad idea, especially if those little hands will be sitting inactive outside for a long time. You’ll want to get both a light pair of gloves for activities and a thicker pair for, for one, sitting at the late-season football game. And we all know this from building snowmen in our youth: It’s a lot nicer when your gloves have a waterproof liner.
Once you have the proper gear, Marble says, be prepared to adapt to the conditions.
“Is the child going to be running around a lot? Playing in snow? Just sitting in the cold and wind?” Marble asks. “The activity often dictates what you wear. That’s just always something to keep in mind.”