As Singaporeans wander further abroad in search of new adventures, everything is changing in the travel industry to accommodate this demand.
Travel companies are racking their brains to come up with ever more exotic and specialised itineraries; almost every new credit-card signup seems to come with a free suitcase; and airlines are releasing a stream of fresh routes to whisk travellers off to increasingly off-the-beaten-track locations.
Everything, that is, except for the retail market. Despite wintery places like Russia and Scandinavia shooting up the list of popular destinations, we’re all still stuck with seriously limited options when it comes to real winterwear, the kind you can rely on when you go mushing in Norway or hunt the aurora borealis in Alaska.
Worse – what’s available from the rare winterwear store here often makes us look like country bumpkins overseas.
But while finding decent snow boots and outerwear in Singapore is difficult, it’s not impossible. Here’s how (and where) you can assemble a winter wardrobe that will take you through the cold and years.
1. Search eBay
Allow us to be politically incorrect for a minute and say that nothing beats real fur like fox, goat, mink and shearling when it comes to keeping you warm. Of course, buying new means crazy prices, and who wants to do that when you’ll only be using yours a couple of times a year, tops?
Enter eBay, the best place on Earth to get that mink jacket you’ve always wanted. Not only does it have a massive range of stuff and prices, you won’t be killing any animals if you buy preloved. FYI, Ebay’s also particularly awesome for ski pants and jackets.
2. Browse Carousell
This is good for secondhand stuff for which sizing is crucial and buying without trying is tough, like snow boots. Getting yours from a local seller means you can meet him or her first to try out the kicks. What’s more, on this platform, you can find brands that aren’t sold in Singapore.
Look out for labels like Pajar, Sorel and Kamik, which specialise in waterproof winter boots. A good pair is the difference between toasty toes and frostbite, so it’s better to invest in a reliable brand. And remember, just because it looks fluffy doesn’t mean it will be warm.
3. Scour outdoor stores
Places like Outdoor Life stock a decent range of “serious” outdoor winterwear from brands like Patagonia, Mammut and North Face, but prices are often steep.
One option is to try your size here, then buy online from retailers like Moosejaw and Backcountry, which have very competitive prices (not to mention plenty of knockdowns and discount codes). Or wait till there’s a sale. We usually just buy our thermal socks at these stores – there’s a good range and they’re fairly reasonably priced.
4. Try boutiques that don’t specialise in winterwear
You’ll be surprised at some of the options available. Stores like Uniqlo, of course, release cold-weather pieces around year-end – and in fact its Ultra Warm Down coats provide excellent protection against harsh temperatures. If you’re feeling flush, check out stores like Moncler (#01-17 ION Orchard), whose luxe pieces will take you straight from the ski slopes to apres ski parties.
5. Don’t be afraid to wait and buy at your destination
It’s worth waiting till you land to buy some winter pieces, especially the smaller accessories like hats and gloves. A cold-weather country will have far more options – and at better prices, to boot. In the meantime, just hood up and stuff your hands into your pockets.