Moving West: Budget (Outfit) Tips to Survive the Cold German Winter

In my other blog, I have posted on how to make your own winter hat despite the yarn and needle size. My yarns were scraped through a sale bin out of the little wool shop in a corner of a town located at the end of the world (Ilmenau). The knitting needle was borrowed. Yep, it can’t get any more low budgety as it already is. But you know, making handmade winter outfit out of scrap sale items ain’t the only way to survive winter. So this is what I have gathered throughout this winter:

  1. Wear Merino Wool Underwear

I have learned from the hikers (aka my boyfriend’s family) that wearing merino wool underwear keeps you warmer more effectively than wearing a shit ton of sweaters because you have something warm directly to your skin. Judging by the fact that their favorite place to hike is Iceland, I give this one a legit point. The problem is, the easiest way to purchase them is in the outdoor stuff shop where its available for a really, really expensive price that a piece of it could be exchanged with a nice pair of leather shoes. But wait, there is a way to get it for an affordable price.

Aldi, one of the German supermarket chain has this for sale once every mid-winter. The problem is there is no certain way to  know exactly when. You have to go check their fliers weekly, because it will be on sale for one day only and the items will be gone within an hour or two. So yes, when you do know when – quoting my boyfriend’s mom – you should stand in front of the door at the opening time. But it’s worth it. Instead of a ripping off price of over 60 euros a piece, I got mine for only 16 instead. If you are a small person like me, rejoice because smaller sizes tends to sell out less faster than the bigger sizes. 

2. Layer your blanket with a Fleece Blanket

The fluffy polar fleece blankets really helps you to get warmer faster in your sleep if you use it as the first layer under your normal blanket. This blanket may be a bit expensive in bigger stores, but actually Kaufland (another German supermarket chain) has it in an affordable price. I got mine at a sale price (7 euros) but the regular price is actually only 12.

3. Pick Clothes based on Material, not Thickness

Thick items aren’t always warm and the thin ones like the merino wool underwear can warm you much faster than it looks. The key is, look at the composition of materials. Some items looks thick but it may be 100% cotton which means it isn’t warm enough (some foreigners here sometimes mistaken baumwolle as wool but it’s actually cotton). Sheep wool is quite warm, but it isn’t as warm as alpaca or angora. Angora for instance, is warm but sometimes it can be quite scratchy. Alpaca fibers are finer, but also costs quite more. I found acryllic and alpaca mixture (even if the alpaca is only 15%) the best offer your budget can get, which is also comfortable and durable. Combined with the merino underwear and a standard coat, even if you came from a tropical country like me I’d say you will still feel comfortable enough walking around outside at -10 degrees C.

4. Wear Thermal Leggings and Socks

Among the four this is the easiest one to purchase, since it’s practically available the whole year at Rossmann (a German drogerie chain) and other few stores, sometimes also at Aldi. Sadly Rossmann only offers them for women, and not men. However, I am quite confident that bigger stores also sells them for men (perhaps Müller or big shopping malls) although it may be rather expensive. The one for women in Rossmann sells for 5 euros each pair, and really helps you to stay warm under your trousers, especially if you double them with thermal socks.

 5. Close the Holes

Yes, literally close all possible holes in your body so that includes your ears. You will be surprised on how much you feel warmer. Sadly, not many earmuffs or hats that looks fashionable are actually warm enough. I found it sad when you wear something nice and silently freeze to your knees when the wind blows. Sadly, the real warm hats are those which doesn’t look nice. The solution? Knit one yourself (not suggesting crochet cause it ain’t gonna be warm enough). It’s actually much easier than it looks. I wrote the tutorial here, which is absolutely for beginners including all the details like how to make each stitch types and how to pick a needle size. And if you can make this hat, its really easy to make yourself a matching scarf.

Okay, stay warm fellas! Spring is almost here so hang in there 🙂

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