Think of winters and immediately three things pop into our mind- hot beverages and desserts, Christmas vacations and of course, winter shopping! In India, as per common belief, the departure of Diwali is supposed to signify the arrival of winters. The annual cleaning of this festival always includes the age-old tradition of taking out the heavy winter wear and preparing them for the cold months ahead. However, with houses converting into apartments with minimum storage spaces and retails offering lucrative discounts to lure customers, seasonal shopping has gradually replaced heritage pieces. India being a geographically diverse country, winters here range from European-style chilling weather in the North to spring-like weather with occasional gusts of cold wind in the South. Due to this, the requirement of winter wear varies from state to state. While winters in India start from as late as November, Europe begins to experience the chills as early as September.
In the wake of the pandemic, budgets across most homes have been scrapped to purchase of bare essentials. So what can you buy to be winter-ready without causing a pinch in your purse? We give you some cost-effective options which will ensure you are ready to face the winters in your fashionable self without burning a hole in your pocket.
• Have You Any Wool?
Wool is invariably the first fibre which comes to mind when thinking of the cold weather. Being a natural protein fibre, it is not only sustainable in nature but also provides the perfect warmth for extreme cold weather. Wool is a must-have if you have to brace the harsh winters of Europe and the North and Himalayan Region of India. However, the downside is that it is a bulky fibre which takes up a lot of space - both on body and storage. Also, it is extremely expensive and hence not recommended for bulk purchases. As per current data, due to the pandemic, only 30% of the usual orders for wool have been placed in India this year.
Invest in a pure wool garment or sweater if you have to face the extreme winters and step outside. Due to the ongoing pandemic, with people being limited to their home spaces for the majority of their time, it is recommended to opt for a cheaper alternative like cotton-wool blended in ratio. These blends are not only pocket-friendly and less bulky; they are a perfect option to be winter-ready as the inner sheet of the garment is primarily of wool which provides the needed warmth whereas the outer sheet is a cotton and wool blend which not only looks chic but is easy on the pocket too.
If you have senior citizens or children, pure wool is mandatory for them when stepping outside as they possess less resistance to the cold. However, for the majority of us who do not fall into that age bracket, a single wool item for outdoors coupled with cotton-wool blended sweaters and garments is sufficient to face the winters.
• Act upon Acrylic!
The poorer cousin of wool, this synthetic fibre has taken the winter wear industry by storm for its low production cost. India is, in fact, one of the top manufacturers of this manmade fibre.
It is not as warm as wool, so it is not recommended for European or Himalayan winters but it is definitely preferred in areas experiencing mild-to-moderate Indian winter weather. Acrylic fabric is lightweight, warm, and soft to touch. It is also low maintenance and stretches as per body shape. This makes it perfect for ladies sweaters and fashionable winter wear.
Acrylic has gained popularity in the accessory section as it is the most widely used fibre for socks, boot lining, hats and gloves. While areas experiencing harsh winters cannot rely on acrylic garments alone, it is recommended to invest in acrylic inners due to their lightweight and ability to retain body heat. In short, it is mandatory to have acrylic in your wardrobe if you wish to be winter-ready; be it as an accessory or a fashion piece.
• Catch up with Cotton!
Cotton is without doubt the most popular fibre used in garments. Its low-cost manufacturing coupled with weather-resistant nature has slowly catapulted it to the top purchased fabrics for winters. Cotton, by itself, possesses the ability to trap body heat, making it a perfect, inexpensive substitute to the bulky wool in regions with medium-to-mild winters.
The invention of the cotton-wool blend has been a game-changer in the winter fabric industry. Yarns produced with cotton and wool blends provide uniqueness as they amalgamate the best of both fibres to create a unique, relatively cheaper fabric which provides warmth and is almost wrinkle-free. No matter where you reside, Cotton-wool blends are a must-have as they offer the best of both worlds!
• Polyester all the way?
Polyester is highly recommended to be winter-ready this season. Being mass-produced, it is an inexpensive and easily available fibre. Not only does it keep you warm but it also has a high level of water resistance making it almost waterproof. This makes it extremely popular in the manufacture of outdoor products and clothing. So whether you need to be outdoors in wet winters or stay snug indoors-polyester is a great choice either way.
• Wise in Viscose!
Viscose, also known as rayon fibre is made from natural sources such as wood and agricultural products.. A popular fabric used by many top fashion labels, viscose wool blended garments combine comfort with fashion. The fact that it is an inexpensive fabric, of course, is the cherry on top.
While we might be spending most of the winter season indoors this year, the current pandemic demands that we are even better prepared for it this year. Gear up for a cosy and safe winter with our recommendations and you will be able to enjoy the comfort and fashion economically. Indulge in the mandatory wool jacket or sweater but now you can spruce up your wardrobe with fashionable acrylic boots, hats and gloves. Wool remains an irreplaceable winter asset but Acrylic has also proved to be a boon in the winter wear department. Lightweight winter wear can also be purchased with blends of polyesters, viscose and cotton. While cotton, polyester and viscose definitely provide alternate solutions, wool and acrylic remain the top fibres you need to be winter ready.