Back to black

Back to black

People shop for black and white clothes during the mourning period. MELALIN MAHAVONGTRAKUL
People shop for black and white clothes during the mourning period. MELALIN MAHAVONGTRAKUL

Black clothes are the story of the week – the colour is now an essential. A Life section survey finds some shops are struggling to meet the demand.

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Back to black


Clothes in the colour of mourning are flying off the racks – with shops at times struggling to meet demand

Black clothes are the story of the week – the colour is now an essential. Demand has shot up, sometimes along with prices, while the frustration and debate over wearing a black or non-black wardrobe continues.

We have surveyed the main markets and malls in Bangkok, namely Platinum in Pratunam, Siam Square and Soi Lalai Sap on Silom. It seems that black will continue to dominate the racks for months to come, according to vendors, while the initial concern over price will soon give way to the creativity of style and fabric.

Black dresses and blouses are much sought after. MELALIN MAHAVONGTRAKUL

Supattra Kaewudom, a shopkeeper selling female fashion, said that Platinum Mall – an affordable shopping quarter in Pratunam – was quite empty the week before due to rain. But now in addition to foreigners on their shopping trips, the mall has seen a huge number of mourning locals. The place was packed even on Monday.

"Women now come looking for blouses, dresses, skirts and trousers in black. Make that total black. No stripes and patterns. No white, either. Many just want something very polite and appropriate during this period. But that's also up to the dress code of their workplace. Some aren't as strict," reported Supattra, 38, who sells each item in her shop for 200 baht.

Some shops have run out of black shirts due to strong demand. THITI WANNAMONTHA

Anything from T-shirts (with print or no print), long-sleeved tops, polo shirts, blouses to trousers and skirts are on display at all shops in Platinum. The more colourful items are shoved to the back for the time being.

Still, that doesn't mean colourful clothes aren't flying off their racks. The shopkeeper said she still sells garments in lighter colours to foreigners, and even a minority of Thai teens and office ladies.

A more unisex choice, black T-shirts are a popular casual item that suit children, men, women and the elderly. While some come plainly with no text or pictures, some are emblazoned with the Thai traditional number "9", or even phrases such as "I wish to be your servant in every lifetime" or "Seeing HM the King off to heaven" printed in white.

Many shirts have the Thai number 9 on them in memory of King Rama 9 (King Bhumibol Adulyadej ). MELALIN MAHAVONGTRAKUL

The price – depending on size, fabric and prints – can start from 100 baht in the Pratunam area and street markets in different provinces.

In more high-end areas like Siam Square, the price is comparatively higher. Similar styles of dresses could start from 200-300 baht, while the price of black shirts can cost 200 baht. Random shops near the Grand Palace and surrounding areas offer black T-shirts from 100-180 baht.

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  • affordable: not expensive - ไม่แพง
  • appropriate: (opposite: inappropriate) suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม
  • blouse: a shirt for a woman or girl - เสื้อครึ่งตัวของสตรี
  • casual: relaxed and informal - ตามอารมณ์,ไม่เป็นทางการ,ธรรมดา
  • choice (noun): something that you can choose; an act of choosing between two or more possibilities - ทางเลือก, การเลือก
  • comparatively: compared to some other thing เปรียบเทียบ -
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • creativity: the ability to create new ideas or things using your imagination - ความสามารถในการสร้างสรรค์, ความคิดสร้างสรรค์
  • debate: to discuss something, especially by giving different opinions - อภิปราย, ถกเถียง, โต้เถียง
  • demand: the amount of a product or service that people want - ความต้องการ
  • dominate: to be the most powerful or most important thing in an area or situation - มีอำนาจเหนือ
  • dress code (noun): the rules covering what kind of clothes can and can not be worn -
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • elderly: (of people) old - สูงวัย, อาวุโส, อายุมาก
  • emblazoned: printed, drawn or decorated in a very noticeable way - พิมพ์
  • essential: necessary - ที่จำเป็น
  • fabric: cloth, especially when it is used for making things such as clothes or curtains - ผ้าหรือสิ่งทอ
  • flying off the racks (idiom): being sold in large numbers - ขายดีมาก
  • for the time being: for the present time, but probably not for a long time - พลาง
  • frustration: an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want - ความผิดหวัง, ความไม่พอใจ
  • garment: a piece of clothing - เสื้อผ้า, เครื่องแต่งกาย
  • give way (verb): to get out of the way of someone coming towards you - หลีกทาง, ยอมตาม
  • high-end: expensive and of high quality; having a lot of money to spend - มีคุณภาพ
  • in memory of: intended to show respect and remind people of somebody who has died - ไว้อาลัย
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • item: a single article or object - รายการ, รายการสิ่งของ
  • locals: people who live in a particular place - ชาวบ้าน
  • minority: involving less than half of a group - เสียงส่วนน้อย
  • mourning: the process or ceremony of expressing great sadness because someone has died - ไว้อาลัย
  • namely: specifically; used to introduce more exact and detailed information about something that you have just mentioned - กล่าวคือ
  • on display: able to seen; putting something in a particular place so that people can see it easily - โชว์, แสดง
  • packed: crowded; full of people or things - แน่น
  • pattern: a regular arrangement of lines, shapes, colours, etc. as a design on material, carpets, etc - ลวดลาย
  • plainly: ordinary; with nothing added - ธรรมดา
  • popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • quarter: a part of a town where you find particular buildings, activities, or people - ย่าน, เขต, แถบ
  • rack (noun): a piece of equipment, usually made of metal or wooden bars, that is used for holding things or for hanging things on - ชั้น
  • random: happening, done or chosen by chance rather than according to a plan - ซึ่งไม่มีแบบแผน
  • run out of: to use up or finish a supply of something - หมด
  • skirt (noun): a piece of clothing for a woman or girl that hangs from the waist - กระโปรง
  • sleeve: a part of a piece of clothing that covers all or part of your arm - แขนเสื้อ
  • sought after: wanted; looked for -
  • strict: demanding that rules are obeyed; very careful and exact - เข้มงวด
  • stripe: a long narrow line of colour, that is a different colour from the areas next to it - ริ้ว, แถบ, แถบสี
  • struggle: to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม, ประสบปัญหา, ต่อสู้กับปัญหา
  • suit: to be right or good for somebody/something - เหมาะกับ
  • surrounding: all around a place - บริเวณรอบๆ
  • survey: to ask a large number of people questions to find out their opinions - สำรวจ
  • traditional (adj): of a custom, a way of life or a way of doing things that has not changed for a long time - เป็นประเพณี, ตามธรรมเนียม, ตามที่ปฏิบัติกันมา
  • trousers: pants; a piece of clothing covering the body from the waist to the feet, divided into separate parts for each leg and worn by both men and women - กางเกง
  • unisex: for both men and women -
  • up to: to depend on (for a decision) - ขึ้นอยู่กับ
  • vendors: people who sell things, e.g., food or newspapers, usually outside on the street - พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
  • wardrobe (noun): the clothes that a person has - เสื้อผ้าทั้งหมดของผู้ใดผู้หนึ่ง
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