Because of the sheer amount of winter clothing required for a family of 5, and how bulky the clothes are, I’m almost ready to declare that there will absolutely be NO MORE winter holidays for the next few years!! In the meantime, I have been getting some questions about winter clothing and I’ve seen people on social media complaining about being cold (and I think to myself, of course you would be with a flimsy coat like that!), so since I’m especially scared of the cold I will share some of my tips for buying winter gear. I have spent many hours on Amazon, Qoo10 etc as well as at the outdoor shops in Novena and Uniqlos.
Where to buy winter clothing
Apart from the obvious shops like “Winter Time” or “Cold Wear” or whatever, we are lucky that there are more and more stores opening up with cold weather options. To be honest, I don’t like those aforementioned shops’ jackets because I find they are not cheap, some just have polyester filling and not down filling, and some of them just look plain cheesy. I have bought winter gloves from one of the shops before, which touted to have some 3M technology, but I felt after a while the quality and the fit left much to be desired. Apart from the gloves, I have not bothered much with these shops, so maybe there are some good buys there, but you’d have to do your own research on that.
Uniqlo have such a wonderful range of clothes, that I can almost never walk out of a store without buying anything. First let’s talk about Heattech.
Many people rave about Uniqlo’s Heattech, but I find the normal thin Heattech is really not for extreme winter wear. BUT I do love that basic Heattech because it dries pretty quickly, and can dry overnight in good conditions, so you don’t have to buy or pack so much clothing (hurray!). So I love having these as the base layers that can be washed easily every day. I usually pack around 3 of these to rotate with washing. They also make great pajamas, especially for the kids, on regular holidays with cold hotel rooms. Depending on the room warmth for the kids pajamas I might throw on another layer, maybe just a Tshirt, or even a fleece top, to keep them warm during the night, and the next day they can wear it out. Then wash and repeat.
Uniqlo now have Extra Warm and Ultra Warm, which are much better alternatives for snowy weather. However, for the price, you might be able to find a better deal elsewhere, e.g. Decathlon, which might have more designs too. You can also wait for sales to stock up on Heattech.
It can get rather hot wearing so many layers in winter, and my daughter broke out in rashes on our first ski trip. I found that what worked very well for her to counter that was to wear a base layer of AIRism and she hasn’t had any rash since then! Even a singlet version works under the other 3-4 layers of thick winter clothing.
For winter wear, I would go for items that have Blocktech technology, which is rain and wind resistant. Why? In anywhere near -0 degree Celcius weather, you will NEED rain and wind resistance! My husband really likes his Blocktech pants, and I have a few pairs of those for the kids. They are mostly made of water and wind resistant material with a fleece lining inside. For extra warmth, for the skinnier kids/adults, you can also wear leggings like Heattech ones, underneath the pants. Uniqlo also sell quite a wide range of cashmere and wool clothing, which I much prefer over the polyester mixes.
While the Uniqlo ultra light down jackets (adults) are handy, you know, the ones that you can roll up? They are not waterproof nor windproof and after a few washes the down can get a little clumpy which makes it even less warm. I might only wear these down jackets in cooler weather (20deg?) or as an extra layer inside a windproof jacket. Actually I do like the down filled vest version to wear inside jackets and when indoors because a full puffy jacket with sleeves just makes you all puffed up feeling like a snowman and is difficult to wear under an outer jacket. Does that make sense?? Do also note that the Uniqlo puffy children’s jackets such as this are NOT filled with down.
Decathlon have an amazing range of products and they can even sell ski jackets and ski pants for dirt cheap. We bought a ski jacket for my 5YO at SGD$20 and ski boots – yes, boots, the kind you clip on to your skis, not shoes, for SGD$5 off season!
I had a Decathlon jacket and pants which were very decent in keeping me warm. They even sell S$3.90 fleece tops for the kids. That’s like half the price of a coffee at Starbucks. It might not be the best material, but hey for $3.90, I won’t feel feel the pinch if they outgrow it! I even bought a larger size fleece top and got my mum to cut it up and sew it into a neck warmer, figuring it would be easier than going out of my way to Spotlight to find some fleece material.
We also quite like the Decathlon warm base layers, and some come in pretty funky designs. They also have extra warm thermals and tops, although I found that mine would produce those little cotton balls after a few washes, but as an inner layer I’m not too fussed about it.
Decathlon have a very wide range of accessories like helmets, gloves, goggles, etc. I also bought some body warmers to give them a try although we didn’t use them because I couldn’t find a place to put them. I suppose if you’re not skiing you could put them in your jacket pocket and tuck your hands in there, but when you are skiing your hands would usually be busy.
Since the Singapore market is rather small, I have found that the Decathlon China carry a much wider range of winter items, so if you know someone living in China you could order online and have it sent to them.
One of my favourite finds on Qoo10 are “winter leggings”, such as this one. These are like super thick leggings and are really nice and warm. They have leggings for kids too, and the boy versions even have a little crotch hole (with a button) for convenience.
Since I’m scared of the cold I wear the leggings inside my ski pants too. They are also great for underneath dresses and skirts. There are even winter leggings that have a denim look!
Qoo10 also sell this range of waterproof winter pants that are a bit like blocktech, but I have found the quality and sizing to be quite unpredictable. Still, it’s cheap.
Qoo10 also sell very decent winter boots which I will talk about more below.
Mango sells a wide range of clothes that are reasonably priced and if you order online, they have free shipping (over $100? $120?), ship via UPS so your items can arrive within a few days, and you can return your items at any Mango store! They also have a good range of wool and cashmere mix clothes. They have quite a wide range of children’s clothes, and I’ve bought jackets, sweaters, etc from them before. Zara also has similar items but I’ve had more luck with Mango.
Is there anything that you can’t find on TB? My friend recently spotted this which looks quite decent. For the kids I like ski pants with suspenders because I think that’s more comfy for them than pants.
I have bought Kamik snow boots for the kids from Amazon before for as low as USD$11 and it was fantastic! The prices range depending on size and colour and supply and demand. I also have a pair of warm furry Skechers boots which are super comfy but not waterproof so they lasted me a few hours in the snow. I have also bought Crocs boots for the kids from Amazon before. However now they do not have free shipping anymore, so it might not be worth paying for shipping.
Brands like Columbia boots might be cheaper in the States but they also do not ship direct, so if World of Sports is having a sale + members discount, it’s worth getting a pair here since you can’t return what you buy online from the States. Decathlon also sells decent looking winter boots, but during the last season I saw that the only kids boots they had was SGD$69 for a black pair.
So I found nice pink ones (with snowflakes ok) for my 5YO girl for around S$15 on Qoo10 from this seller. She was really pleased with them, and so was I!! There are many sellers though, if you just search under “winter boots kids” or something to that effect. You can also get adult winter boots from around S$25 on Qoo10.
Do remember though that if you’re going to be in snow, you’ll need to make sure that the boots are waterproof, at least for most part of the shoe like the tips and sides. Kids love to play in the snow, and I will usually bring at least one other pair of shoes (maybe crocs) in case we need the winter boots to dry off.
I’ve found that gloves are the hardest to buy for kids, and for gloves and hats I will bring extras in case they get lost or wet.
I get cold easily, so I used to wear Decathlon touch screen gloves under thicker gloves, although Daiso does sell this cheaper (it might only be available in Daiso Japan during winter season, I’m not sure). I have since upgraded to Icebreaker glove liners. A friend advised that for skiing she prefers gloves like mittens rather than to have individual fingers insulated. On a previous trip my hands were absolutely freezing all the time so I bought a pair of North Face mittens from Peter Glenn because the stores here didn’t carry the model I wanted. Some kids don’t mind mittens and others prefer fingered gloves, but what is important is that they have at least 2 pairs of gloves because they love playing in the snow and it will always get wet! Although you can dry them out at night, it’s still better to have extras.
You can buy Heattech socks from UNIQLO, and I have also bought ski socks from Amazon and Decathlon. Sometimes I might make the kids wear two layers of socks unless they are wearing one thick layer 😀
Neck warmers are a MUST for the kids, and I make them wear it up until their nose, best if it can cover their ears or if a beanie can do that. However most of them hate it!
Actually I prefer it if they wear a balaclava. Even though they hate that too. You can get a decent priced one from Qoo10 like this that comes in a variety of colours and fits both adults and kids (hard to believe but it’s true!). Well they can hate all they want but who’s going to look after them if they catch a cold? Not me.
Enjoy your winter holiday!