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City scrambles to cover up in style
Celsius forces fashion out of straitjacket

When a seasoned fashionista like actress June indulges in last-minute winter shopping, you know the season’s caught everyone off guard!

“We are like the Mumbaikars. When it comes to winter, we don’t have a separate winter party wardrobe!” says June, her eyes scanning the shelves at Mango in Forum Courtyard for woollen tops and boots for 16-year-old daughter Shivangini and something for herself.

Welcome to suddenly shivering Calcutta. Jackets are flying fast off the racks at Mango. The collection of gloves at Aldo, also in Forum Courtyard, has long vanished. Trendy at BK Market had one woollen dress left at 3pm on Christmas Eve.

The story is the same everywhere. From South City to City Centre, no shop seems to have been prepared for the great Calcutta winter-shopping race.

Delhi girl Preeti Singh, who had been missing her winter shopping since moving to Calcutta after marriage, is delighted the weather has finally made it possible. Her must-buys include high boots, a leather biker jacket, a basic polo and a colourful muffler.

“Girls (young and not-so-young) are coming in and going straight for the jackets. From an average of two a day, we are now selling 20,” says Natasha Martin, store manager at Mango.

At Aldo, a killer pair of boots is the most-wanted item after gloves and closed shoes. “The demand for boots is the highest ever this season,” says manager Preeti Chetri.

Many high-street regulars are eagerly awaiting fresh stocks ahead of New Year’s Eve. “I thought I had a decent winter wardrobe. I have to think again,” says accessory designer Chandni Agarwal.

A tweed bar jacket hangs in her wardrobe. On her shopping list is a trendy trench. “Our bestsellers are semi-woollen shrugs and woollen dresses,” says Jeetu Hiranandani of Trendy at BK Market.

The scramble to cover up in style isn’t restricted to the high street. New Market was chock-a-block on Christmas Eve with shoppers crowding around shops and hawkers selling warm clothes.

“We have almost sold out our stock in the last two days. Sweaters and warm tops for ladies are in demand,” says hawker Ali Hussain, who sits near Shreeram Arcade.

A few metres away, Sarfaraz Khan is having a tough time dealing with so many customers at a time. “Everyone wants to buy hooded jackets that are stylish as well as warm,” quips the hawker.

The stores at New Market have been doing good business too. “This is the party season and the weather has been chilly since yesterday, so I thought of buying some sweaters and stoles for myself and my daughter,” says Nivedita Ghosh, busy browsing through the stock available at Hand Craft Tailors.

But for all the talk about the extra nip in the North Wind, trust the party princess not to be swathed in woollens. “The Calcutta winter is so unpredictable. I would rather wear a sexy dress and a shawl,” declares actress Raima Sen.

But does a stole work? “No, I suffer,” she shoots back with a smile.