Warming up to winter wear
    Category: 英文阅读  Clicks: 1657  Top: 10  Update Date: 2008/09/14
Summary:As the whether gets colder and the wind turns nippy, it's time to get ready for winter. Most Beijingers stock up on their winter arsenal with a heavy wool sweater, a long windproof coat, a down.

  • As the whether gets colder and the wind turns nippy, it's time to get ready for winter.
    Most Beijingers stock up on their winter arsenal with a heavy wool sweater, a long windproof coat, a down jacket, a set of long underwear and a pair of boots.
    However, some very popular weapons against the bite of sharp winter winds remain unknown to foreigners.
    Few foreigners know that 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 options draw in many customers.
    These coats usually cost half the price of store-bought jackets.
    The average price of a handmade long down coat is about 240 yuan (US$30), while its shorter contemporary costs 150 yuan (US$19). In retail stores, the same coats start at 300 yuan (US$38).
    Many studios also provide retreading services, since down coats usually 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 hoping to keep up with the latest trends can ask 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 favourite 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 down coats from Da Xin.

    His neighbour 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 stocks are also traditional necessities for beating back a Beijing winter. Although their popularity is waning, there are still a few stores in Beijing that provide such commodities.
    Nei Lian Sheng and Bu Ying Zhai in Dashilan'er are both well-known shops for 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 a pair of shoes takes about 20 steps to finish. To make the shoe's sole, for instance, shoemakers need to cut the shape, place the cloth, 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 cloth stitched together.
    In the old days, the shoes of nobles were also embroidered with golden-threaded depictions of auspicious animals, clouds or flower patterns.
    "The most popular shoes for the winter right now are cotton padded shoes 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 price is about 80 yuan (US$10).
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