Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Warm Winter Wear…That Works!
Adjust font size:

As the weather gets colder and the wind feels as if it's cutting through you it's time to get ready for winter.

The majority of Beijing residents stock up on winter clothes with a heavy wool sweater, a long windproof coat, a down jacket, long underwear and boots.

However, some very popular protection against the sharp bite of the winter winds remain unknown to foreigners.

Few foreigners know they can get custom-made down coats even though these garments dominate most Chinese families' wardrobes.

Every year when the weather turns colder numerous down coat-making studios pop up on almost every corner. Low prices, authentic down and custom made options draw in the customers. These coats usually cost half the price of store-bought jackets.

The average cost of a handmade, long, down coat is about 240 yuan (US$30) while its shorter contemporary is 150 yuan (US$19). In retail stores the same coats start at 300 yuan (US$38).

Many studios also provide "servicing" since down coats lose their warmth and get dirty after several years' use. Tailors will replace the down or the outer layer of the coat according to the customers' tastes.

Depending on the quality of the down the price ranges from 20 to 50 yuan (US$2.50 to 6.30) per gram. Those wishing to keep up with the latest trends can get studios to update the style of their old coats. Clusters of these studios can be found in Xinjiekou and Jiaodaokou.

"People line up to get down coats made here," said Wang Jibin, tailor of Da Xin Textiles. "They can choose their favorite fabric, down and cut and in four to seven days their coat will be ready."

"I choose to order the down coats as I am too tall to find ready-made clothes that fit at a retail store," said Liu Lin, a gym coach who ordered two coats from Da Xin.

His neighbor Wang Limei ordered a super thick coat for her arthritis-ridden grandmother. "I also brought two of my old short coats to ask the tailors to change them into one of those trendy long coats," she said.

Cotton-padded shoes, handmade sweaters, wool trousers and socks are also traditional necessities for beating back a Beijing winter. Although their popularity is waning there are still a few stores in Beijing providing such items.

Nei Lian Sheng and Bu Ying Zhai in Dashilan'er are both well-known shops making traditional handmade shoes. As the old Beijing saying goes, "Shoes are the first symbol of a true master."

According to Nei Lian Sheng craftsman, Wang Binsheng, such shoes take about 20 steps to finish. To make the shoe's sole, for instance, cobblers need to cut the shape, place the material, hammer the sole into the shoe, insulate the shoe and stitch the twine to make the unique "Qian Ceng Di" shoe bottom. This type of shoe is made of many layers of material stitched together.

Historically the shoes of nobles were also embroidered with golden-threaded depictions of animals, clouds or flower patterns. "The most popular shoes for the winter right now are cotton padded with silk coverings and 'Qian Ceng Di' soles," Wang said.

There are also a few stores knitting handmade sweaters and socks like Da Xin textiles in Dongsi and Zhi You Hui. Craftsman there can also teach you how to make your own sweater for a low price. The average cost is about 80 yuan (US$10).

(China Daily November 10, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
Temperatures in N China to Drop by 8-12 C
Snowfall in Harbin
Howling Wind Marks End of Warm Fall in Beijing
Blizzard Hits SW China Prefecture

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback
Copyright © All Rights Reserved     E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号