Must Haves: 10 Winter Essentials You Should Buy At An Army-Navy Surplus Store

One of the big things I do to keep my wardrobe minimal is to buy the hardiest, simplest possible clothes and gear I can find whenever I have the occasion to buy something. I’m already gearing up for winter because the upcoming winter in Chicago is supposed to be about as bad as the last winter, which is kind of sob-inducing after the 2013-2014 Endless Winter. I spent the Polar Vortex in wool socks and motorcycle boots. That is not happening again. I will be buying insulated everything, and everything I wear will be able to eat through snow.

One of my favorite places to look for extremely durable, practical, simple, streamlined apparel is my local Army Navy Surplus Store. If the clothing and supplies they sell are meant to survive combat, they can survive Chiberia. The great thing about military surplus apparel, style-wise, is that it has absolutely no branding on it, so it’s easy enough to spruce it up to fit your personal aesthetic. (I’m sure that’s not something the designers or the people who wear it for a living would imagine to be a concern, but I’m a semi-fashionable 27-year-old woman living in Chicago, so there you go.) It’s also cheap, especially for the quality of materials and construction.

It might not be the first place you’d think of to shop for your clothes, but try stopping by your local store – in my experience the people who work there are unfailingly polite, extremely helpful, and not at all judgmental about the fact that you’re using military garb as a fashion staple.

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