Winter style guide: local thrifters provide tips and tricks to combat the cold in style

Sustainable shopping is easier than ever, so why not try your hand at it this season?

Nina Raemont

As soon as winter comes, some of us give up on any attempt to look cute or try out new pieces from our wardrobe, reverting to sweatpants and hoodies until spring re-enters the chat. But even as the temperature drops, there are many ways to look stylish, stay warm and sustainably ball on a budget.

A&E talked with the girls of @a88.thrifts on Instagram and the president of the University of Minnesota’s Business of Fashion club to learn some tips and tricks for rocking a sustainable, stylish and warm winter wardrobe.

There’s nothing more upsetting than wearing a cool outfit and having it covered up by a bulky and bland winter coat. Nicole Grabowski, president and founder of the Business of Fashion club here at the University, said that whenever she’s wearing a more bland jacket, she will wear a bold-printed patterned pant or pull out her favorite accessories, like chunky belts or gold hoops.

And don’t forget about the shoes! Platforms are back and better than ever, and as someone who’s on the shorter side, Grabowski said, “A couple extra inches on the platform doesn’t hurt.”

Finding statement coats at vintage shops isn’t too hard to do either. Audra Frizzell, the owner of the Golden Pearl Vintage in Northeast backs vintage fur coats as one of the best vintage items for beginner thrifters. “The selection of styles and colors available allows you to let your style shine rather than cover it up in a generic puffy coat that everyone else has,” Frizzell said. Frizzell also recommended wool trousers — “a solid choice” — or wool skirts, perfectly paired with leggings and boots.

If you’re stuck with the same coat, Claire Slocum from @a88.thrifts said that accessories can be your best friend in the winter. Chunky necklaces, cool rings and bold belts are your saving grace.

@a88thrifts is an Instagram thrift shop run by Slocum, a third-year retail merchandising major, and Waverly Ann McCollum, a third-year theater major. After two years of thrifting and selling their clothes on their Instagram shop, Slocum and McCollum know a thing or two about trends and the best places to thrift.

McCollum has been keeping an eye out for specific colors that are on trend, like sage green, bright orange and browns. Grabowski also added that colors that were popular in the 70s, like bright reds, oranges, and browns, are coming back.

In the winter, layering is key, Grabowski said. Luckily layering a turtleneck over a sweater, or a sweater vest over another shirt is in style. Keep an eye out for argyle sweater vests; they’re all the rage, according to McCollum.

“Right now it’s actually really trendy for your clothes to look more thrifted and vintage … It’s almost like brands like American Eagle and H&M are starting to make argyle sweater vests and things that your dad bought at Kohl’s at one point,” McCollum said.

From low-end to high-end, there’s an endless amount of sustainable shopping options in the Twin Cities. @a88.thrifts recommends the Goodwill Outlet in St. Paul, Rewind in Northeast, Unique in New Hope, and Everyday People Clothing Exchange in St. Paul.

If you’re still all about designer items but don’t want to directly contribute to those industries, Grabowski recommended ThredUp and The Annex by Opitz, a store that obtains designer goods that have some imperfections, but they’re nothing you can’t fix. Other higher-end, sustainable shops include Everlane, Reformation and House of Sunny.

Wherever you choose to go, you will find trendy, warm and sustainable options, as long as you make a conscious effort to do so.

“I think it’s decently easy, you know, if you make a little bit of an effort,” Grabowski said. “You don’t have to spend hours and hours searching for things, but I think you definitely can do it if [sustainability] is meaningful to you.”