Samia landed in the United States a week ago for her Master's. The weather in her neighbourhood usually stays around 20°C, but when she goes to class in the morning, in an air-conditioned classroom at the University of Georgia, she feels quite cold.
She brought with her plenty of t-shirts, trousers and joggers, but she did not pack enough warm clothes.
She went to buy a woollen sweater from the retail brand Macy's, only to be met with tags reading 'Made in Bangladesh'. As happy as it made her, a second tag filled her regret, and that was the price tag!
"Even in shopping malls like Walmart I had to buy a hoodie for $30, retail shops are even more expensive," said Samia.
The garments did not have much of a difference in quality than the ones you find on vans at the streets of Dhaka. You can only imagine her regret.
Many Bangladeshi students migrate to study abroad during this time of the year. In the many regions of Canada and Europe, it can get even colder.
But where do you find puffer jackets or thermals in this Dhaka heat? Taking a cue from the widespread need of students, there are quite a few winter travel concept stores specialising in warm clothing, like Canada Fashion in Noorjahan Supermarket. In Dhaka, there are many high-end retail shops as well that sell export-quality winter clothes.
Here is our guide for stocking up on casual winter wear, before you pack your bags.
When you are pulling off all-nighters and researching for your paper, the temperature will often plummet overnight. The next morning you might find yourself shivering at the bus stop wearing one of your regular tiny jackets. To keep yourself adequately warm in such scenarios you need something a bit more hefty, like an overcoat. Choosing the right coat can also help you to create a statement.
Felt and wool overcoats for various sizes and budgets are available in the shops of Noorjahan Market. Pick a chequered one to smarten up your everyday look, or a classic beige longline one to wear with everything.
If you are looking for something formal, Astorion, Artisan and Celebrations have the goods. Paired with jeans and boots, you cannot go wrong with a turtleneck peeking out underneath the coat (this is a great way to show off layered gold necklaces too). For days you are feeling brave, you can even go for leopard print trench coats.
If you dig through their collections hard enough, you might land some quality slouchy belted coats or wool coats with oversized collars in their racks. Some of the imported branded jackets can go up to Tk 30,000, depending on the material and length.
Astorion and Artisan have different outlets in Uttara, Gulshan and Mirpur. You will find Celebrations in Pink City, Bashundhara City, Shimanto Square and many other malls in the city.
Price: Tk 2,000 to Tk 30,000
Where to find: Noorjahan Super Market, Astorion, Artisan, Celebrations
Puffer jackets are a wardrobe staple for winter. You can find these 90s-inspired jackets, which have made an inevitable comeback among street fashion in different styles, colours and patterns, in Noorjahan and Astorion.
These are known as quilted jackets, as they have a signature quilt design with sections that are puffed with warming material between the stitching. Although not exactly known as a fashion statement – they are practical and necessary. But that does not mean you cannot style it fashionably.
Grab a pair of faux-leather leggings, your chunkiest boots, and top it off with a faux-leather puffer to perfect the street style look of an ultimate 'cool girl' in an all-faux leather outfit. Or just pair it with monochrome leggings and sneakers for a classic look.
To keep the winter blues away on grey and snowy days, choose a fluorescent yellow one. Different sizes and shapes of puffer jackets coloured in neon green, blue or red are displayed all over the stores in Noorjahan. Prices range from Tk 1,500 to Tk 4,000, depending on the length.
Astorion has a few trendy and unique coloured puffer jackets like plum, white or baby blue. Quality puffer jackets from this shop are priced a bit high – Tk 3,000 to Tk 7,000.
Price: Tk 1,500 – Tk 7,000
Where to find: Noorjahan, Astorion
Thermal wear is one of the essential pieces of clothing that is both warm and comfortable at the same time. Earlier, thermals were used as undergarments only for their plain and simple layout. But there are many ways you can style them such as, with layers of coats, boots and accessories.
Pair a white full thermal with a simple beige overcoat with some chunky hoop earrings. Not only will it keep you warm but you will also stand out in this chic ensemble.
Noorjahan is your best shot at finding quality and affordable thermals. You will find two types of thermals which are cotton and nylon mix or a more premium one made of quality wool only. Colours are as basic as black and white. Full set thermals are available for Tk 1,500. You can also buy only the top within the price range of Tk 500 to Tk 1,000.
Price: Tk 500-Tk 1,500
Where to find: Noorjahan
When you dress up with a stylish overcoat, you might want to keep your head warm with something more fashionable than hoodies. This is where beanies come in.
Whether you want to wear long, short, cuffed or uncuffed ones, head over to the opposite of Dhaka College area.
The ground floor of Globe Market, beside Priyangan Shopping Centre, is a hidden gem for this headwear within a reasonable price range. You can either choose longer ones for a slouchy style or shorter beanies that will hug your head comfortably. Stylish beanies made of faux feathers or wool are available here with classic black or brown ones.
Muted and colourful beanies are available in the stores of Astorion as well.
Price: Tk 150 – Tk 500
Where to find: Globe Market, Noorjahan, Astorion
Gloves can create a signature style besides providing warmth and protection. You can even choose colourful gloves. But instead of matching their colour exactly with that of your hat or scarf, try a similar shade, tint or hue. This will look trendy as it breaks up the monotony while maintaining the same colour scheme.
If you are looking for cute gloves, Astorion is your perfect choice. They have black faux leather hand gloves with faux feathers and small metal decorations that can be your pick for an all-black outfit.
But if you are looking for something more functional, you can visit Canada Fashion in Noorjahan. Along with woollen and bright coloured gloves, you can also find waterproof and sturdy nylon gloves – something that lets you use your phone's touchscreen with ease. These gloves are available in the price range of Tk 500 to Tk 800.
Where to find: Astorion, Canada Fashion (Noorjahan)