Getting your winter gear for next year?

By Mir
January 26, 2011

Pretty reader Suzanne writes:

I just met up with some ladies last night who are new to the coupon game. One of them is sending her son north for college in the fall and is fretting the cost of buying him winter gear. I explained that now is the time to buy since it’s all being clearanced out. But it seems like most of the deals have passed already! Do you know of any place she can get a decent quality coat, etc. for her son on a budget!

Suzanne makes a great point, which is that it often seems like the stores’ seasonal cycle is so far off reality that even when you think you’re thinking ahead, you may have already missed this season’s clearance. But! I think she can help her friend find something, even still. Let’s talk about some general philosophy, first.

In general, if you have the time and the patience to shop for this sort of thing in store, I think you will often find better deals that way. The last coat gets marked way down; the last rack of outerwear is sometimes given an additional discount one day to clear it out because the manager needs the space. That’s the sort of stuff you won’t find online, but then again, it’s very hit or miss in terms of sizes and colors. I don’t generally have this kind of patience, my hat is off to those who do.

The corollary to that is that if you don’t mind buying second-hand, the very best time to go thrifting for winterwear is right after it starts warming up again. People will do their spring cleaning and your local Goodwills and Salvation Army stores and such will fill up with parkas that people realized had never been worn or they didn’t need. Again, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to go that route, you actually have a couple of months before it’s peak season for that.

As for online shopping, there are still plenty of options. Today (January 26th) is the last day to use coupon code SAVE40 with PIN 2415 at Lands’ End to take 40% off any one item, which means it’s a darn good deal on regular-price items and a crazy insane deal on anything you might find in the Overstocks. And if you miss this coupon, they’ve had lots of coupons lately, so another one will likely come along.

I’m seeing plenty of discounted outerwear at both Macy’s and Dillard’s, and with the latter there’s extra discounts happening on clearance either starting today, if you have a Dillard’s card, or starting tomorrow.

Another favorite place for quality outerwear (all year long, really) is Sierra Trading Post, and right now they’ve got two coupons on top of their slashed prices: Either use code ALVJAN1 for 20% off any order, or code ALJAN1 for 25% off your $150+ order. is having a winter clearance event, too, and I see plenty of outerwear options still in stock.

Tell your friend not to worry, is my point. There are still plenty of places to scope out the winter clearance!


  1. Thank you so much for your rapid response! I am confident she will find something given your great suggestions.

  2. I’m a real advocate for Lands’ End winter gear. The coats are pretty picked over on their website, though I notice a nice down puffer jacket at their Canvas site that still has lots of colors and sizes available–at a great price, and with a 40% discount through today. Speaking as a Northerner, and one who went to college even farther north (in Minnesota), I’d say a good warm down or insulated coat, plus a warm fleece, should get you through the winter. Though others’ experiences may differ, I haven’t had a lot of luck with the 3-in-1 systems (coat with zipped-in fleece liner). They look like a good idea, but my older son insists that wearing all the layers together makes the sleeves too tight.

    One thing Lands’ End also has going for it is the ease of returns (just take it to Sears) and lax return policy. As long as you save the shipping enclosure, you can return it pretty much whenever you want. I bought a couple of coats in January last year, but didn’t decide which would be the right sizes for my boys until November. I just took the unwanted ones back to Sears and got my money back, no questions asked.

  3. Well, hm… the Lands’ End thingy doesn’t seem to work in the Overstocks. Rats. But thanks, anyway, Mir.

  4. The one thing I’ve found about buying used winter coats is that the zippers can be rather unpredictable in their longevity. I used to buy used coats at a local kids’ consignment shop when my boys were younger but the zippers would inevitably break after awhile. I agree that buying clearance winter stuff in stores is the best option–unless you live in a warm climate and don’t have many options for your college students heading north, of course. I’ve had a little bit of luck finding good sales on-line from random small winter sports shops–like in Colorado, for instance–for myself!

  5. I agree about Land’s End winter coats. They are great. I also agree with Mir that in store may be the best bet now. I recently bought a coat online for NEXT year for my daughter and accidentally got the wrong size. I took it back to Sears where they had the same coat in a better color for $10 less!! Also, Sears will price match with the Land’s End web site if you ask for it. Such a good deal.

  6. Lands End coupon doesn’t work for a sale item – dang it – but I did manage to snoop around online to find a free shipping code, making my husband’s new shoes under $20. SCORE.

  7. Theoretically winter gear should be way marked down in stores now. Unless they’ve already cleared their racks for spring. I went to three stores last weekend trying to buy new gloves for my son, who lost his, and the stores all said they were out of gloves, they were stocking bathing suits now. So I ordered online from Lands’ End on sale.

  8. That Land’s End code is over, but this one turned out to work even better for me, since I kept finding things in the Overstocks that we needed.

    JAN28 and pin 2694, additional 30% off on sale and clearance items only.

    Shipping was free for me, but I ordered over $100 worth, so your mileage may vary.

  9. Just to let you know, on March 1st, the LL Bean outlet stores markdown the outlet prices on winter gear. Last year I scored on all our winter gear for this year. I picked up a Baxter State Parka for myself for $40.00. Normally $199.00. And new snow pants for everyone for about $10 each. I was very happy. It’s worth gong to the store sometimes!

  10. A belated note to let you know that I found a great deal on a Columbia parka on Sierra Trading Post. My billing address is Canada and I have a U.S. shipping address, so there was some confusion with the billing department. STP handled it beautifully – they were quick to respond to my emails and processed the order after I explained the situation and provided some details.

    My long-winded point? I was very impressed with STP customer service.

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