A variety of seasonal clothing is required to live comfortably in Edmonton year-round. Light clothing, including sweaters and rainwear for spring, summer and autumn, will be needed. For winter (approximately late October to March), warm inner clothing and heavy outerwear are necessary.

What do Canadians wear?

At the University of Alberta, you'll see people wearing all sorts of clothing - there is no dress code. Canadians generally see clothing as an expression of oneself, so it's important to wear something that is comfortable and works for you, in most situations, you will not be judged for what you wear.

Clothing tips for different seasons:

A. Fall

As the temperatures during fall can vary greatly, it's important to dress properly:

  1. A light jacket can help warm you and protect you from the wind. You may want something made from breathable fabric (such as cotton, nylon, or satin), as many days are fairly warm.
  2. Long pants are a good idea as it starts to get cooler.
  3. Mornings and evenings can feel quite chilly, so you may want a hat and gloves.
  4. Rain showers often occur, having a rain jacket or umbrella is a good idea.
B. Winter Clothing
  1. Jackets/Coats/Parkas: It's important to have at least one warm, windproof (and water-resistant) winter coat. Your coat should fit with a little room so that you have room for extra layers if it's especially cold on a particular day.
  2. Layers: Dressing in layers can help keep you warm and allow you to regulate your temperature if the weather changes throughout the day. Wearing a sweater or an extra shirt can really help keep you warm, especially as many buildings feel colder during the winter.
  3. Boots/Shoes: Good boots and shoes are the most important things for getting the most out of winter. Look for footwear with a deep tread (so it can grip better on snow and ice), as well as insulation, so your feet will not be cold. Keeping your feet (and other extremities) warm will help keep your whole body warm.
  4. Gloves/Mittens: You'll need some warm gloves or mittens for the colder days of winter, as well as some lighter gloves for the warmer days.
  5. Toques/Hats and Scarves: A good toque (knit cap) or winter hat will be warm, and importantly, cover your ears. A warm scarf will provide additional insulation and help you protect yourself from chilly winds.
  6. Thermal Underwear: If you find yourself feeling cold during winter, thermal underwear is an excellent option. Having this extra layer can make a big difference, especially if you're outside for long periods of time.
  7. Snow/Ski Pants: If you're participating in many winter activities (such as tobogganing, skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing), you may want to purchase some snow or ski pants. These pants will be insulated and have a windproof/water-resistant exterior.

Important: Unless you already have winter clothing that you plan to bring with you, the best option is to buy your winter clothing after you arrive in Edmonton. Winter clothing is often quite bulky, so it's important to account for this if you plan to pack it with your luggage.

C. Spring

Spring can bring all sorts of weather - cold, snowy days and bright; warm days can happen one after the other. You should prepare your wardrobe for any weather:

  1. It will probably be too warm for a winter jacket, but you'll want a medium-weight jacket that is water-resistant in case of rain showers.
  2. Wearing boots may be a good idea, as there can be many puddles, as well as melting snow.
D. Summer

Hot days and lots of sun call for clothing to match:

  1. A wide-brimmed hat can protect you from the sun
  2. Stay cool by wearing t-shirts and shorts
  3. Sandals or light sneakers will be much more comfortable than heavy shoes or boots.
  4. If you're going to be out in the sun for longer periods (over 45min), applying sunscreen to your exposed areas is an excellent idea.

Where to shop for Clothing

Old Strathcona - Whyte Avenue

West Edmonton Mall

Edmonton has a great selection of clothing stores. Depending on your budget, you can choose from well-known international fashion and luxury brands and local Canadian designers, but there are also more economical options. Some of the main shopping areas in Edmonton are:

  • Old Strathcona: Centered on Whyte (82nd) Avenue near the UAlberta campus, this area is home to many independent boutiques and some chain stores.
  • West Edmonton Mall: A huge mall with hundreds of stores, West Edmonton Mall is an excellent option if you wish to shop. You'll be able to find both international and Canadian brands, as well as many entertainment options.
  • Southgate Centre: Connected to the UAlberta campus via LRT (southbound), Southgate Centre is a higher-end (more expensive) mall that offers a range of retail and services such as grocery stores.
  • Downtown: the City Centre mall in central Edmonton is directly linked to the UAlberta via LRT (subway, northbound) and offers many options. Neighbouring Manulife Place has some higher-end stores offering international fashion and luxury brands.
  • Kingsway Mall: You can reach Kingsway Mall by taking the LRT (Metro Line - northbound) from the UAlberta campus. This mall offers a good selection of mid-range clothing and services.

Laundry and Dry-Cleaning

Garments that cannot be washed, either by hand or machine, can be taken to a dry cleaner, though this is an expensive way to launder clothes. Other garments (jackets, parkas, etc.) can be cleaned at coin-operated Laundromats at a cheaper rate. Most garments purchased in Canada carry a laundry label with a set of symbols indicating how that garment should be treated. There are many dry cleaning services located around Edmonton.

Laundromats are coin-operated clothes washing facilities for people who do not have access to washers and dryers within their living quarters. Apartment buildings often have coin-operated laundry facilities in them.

Read: How to Dress for Canadian Winters Winter in Edmonton Tips
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