7 Colourful Accessories to Get You Through Our Grey, Rainy Winter

Here’s how to brighten your wardrobe to make it through Vancouver’s dreariest months.

Here’s how to brighten your wardrobe to make it through Vancouver’s dreariest months.

As the seasons change, so do my go-to accessories. With a newfound crispness in the air, I’ve retired my strappy sandals and put away my light-wash denim vest in favour of a pair of Blundstones and a long-sleeved, dark denim jean jacket topped off with a cozy scarf.While there are a few key pieces I turn to year after year, some of my fall accessories are a little worse for wear—or let’s face it, just not my style anymore. As a budget-conscious Vancouverite, I like to hunt for deals rather than hitting Robson Street when it’s time for a wardrobe update, and so it’s off to Value Village® on a quiet Sunday night for a little thrifting. Hot tip: the new location at Queensborough Landing in New Westminster is massive and has produced more than a few designer pieces for my closet (hello, Cynthia Rowley anchor-print top).Here are a few much-needed accessories to help you survive the Vancouver winter in style.

1. Hats

Poking around at my favourite Value Village® and feeling a chill in the fall air, I’m instantly drawn to the woolly toques. Not only are hats a great way to hide a bad hair day (or the fact that I just didn’t feel like washing my hair this morning), but they’re great for keeping warm through the winter months. Look for a pom pom-topped number in a statement colour like mustard or cherry red to add instant intrigue to any outfit.

2. Mittens

I enjoy a good pair of gloves, but when it comes to really keeping your paws warm, mittens are the answer. There’s just something about having all your fingers bundled together that traps in body heat better than gloves. Handy for me (pun fully intended), I found a pair of 2010 Winter Olympics mittens from The Bay that were very reasonably priced—and since I didn’t rush out and buy a pair eight years ago, now’s my chance!

3. Boots

In the past, I would have one pair of boots (usually of the durable but not terribly exciting variety), and that was that. Now, like many Vancouverites, I’ve embraced the ankle boot with open arms. Lucky for me, some stylish individuals donated a few pairs of lightly-worn booties to non-profits through Value Village®’s Community Donation Centre™ that would make an excellent addition to my collection. Consider applying a layer of wax or conditioner to protect them against our city’s winter weather.

4. Scarves

In my younger days, I used to think a scarf was a scarf. Now I’ve learned that some outfits look best with a lightweight infinity scarf, some are better suited to a loose-knit little number and others require a classic design like the ones above—perfect for bundling up tight and tucking into your coat for extra warmth. Bonus points if you find one with a unique print.

5. Headbands and Slippers

While these two accessories aren’t in the same category per se, they do make for an adorable lazy Sunday outfit and they’ll help you save on your heating bill at the same time. I can still rock a cute top knot with a snowflake-patterned headband and not have to worry about potential hat hair. Also, I have hardwood floors at home, so I like to have a few good pairs of slippers kicking around in case my guests need to borrow some.

6. Shawls

A shawl (or ‘fashion blanket’, as I’ve affectionately dubbed them) is an invaluable accessory for those who work in an office building. For whatever reason, it’s always too chilly in there—especially if you’ve been desk-bound for hours on end. Keeping an extra shawl or wrap folded and placed over the back of your chair is never a bad idea.

7. Earmuffs

I bought my first pair of fluffy earmuffs when I lived in Montreal the year after university and was so enamoured with the way they turned me into an adorable cartoon character that I’ve never looked back. In addition to wool headbands, these little darlings are a great hat alternative and won’t do as much damage to your ‘do when you arrive at your destination and remove them.Now that I’ve become a seasoned thrifter, I’ve figured out a few additional tips and tricks to make the most of any trip to Value Village®. If you like to clean out your closet prior to your visit, be sure to request a punch card when you make your donations to nonprofits at the Community Donation Centre™ , and you’ll collect one stamp for each bag you bring in. Redeem your card at the current discount level, or keep it going until you reach 20 percent off. Want more deals? Sign up for the Super Savers Club™ and you’ll be eligible for sales, coupons, birthday discounts and more.With all my cute and cozy accessories, I definitely feel ready to face the dreary winter days ahead. Bonus: with all the cash I’ve saved (not to mention saving clothing from the landfill), I’ll be that much closer to purchasing a ticket to Mexico for when the grey Vancouver days get to be a little too much.