It's Chinese New Year, which means evil spirits are on their way to curse you with a year's bad luck. Scare them away with a new pair of red pants.
"Covet" is a celebration of the mass accumulation of commodities. Basically, it's just seeing purchase-worthy stuff around Shanghai and sometimes purchasing it.
30rmb to 3000rmb
According to Chinese lore, it’s lucky to wear red on the first day of the year. This is especially important if it’s the year of your birth sign – the arrival of your animal traditionally means 12 months of misfortune. Sorry about that, dragons. Still, you’re dragons, you’re the best! Suck on that, horse. Back up your tree, monkey.
To ward off bad luck and generally get in the spirit of things, lots of people pick up a bright, spanking new pair of red knickers around this time, and wear them on the first of the year, or for as long as they can before they need a good wash.
Red pants or socks also make a good New Year gift. And for men, all this is an excellent excuse to buy your girl some frilly red lingerie and demand that she wears it.
For cheap, everyday pants, any little pajama store will have a rack of red undies for girls. We checked two near us: Ryoko, on the corner of Nanchang Lu and Ruijin Lu, and the mysteriously named SHCER, a little east on Nanchang Lu. Each had a decent selection of red mum pants, with knickers at about 40rmb and bras from 118rmb.
SHCER was a bit more expensive (the bra in the window, above, was 248rmb) but for that you also get glared at by a sour-faced woman, so it depends what you’re looking for in the shopping experience. The staff in Ryoko were friendly.
Around the corner, H&M
had nothing for the boys. The closest we found was a two-pack of tartan boxers for 149rmb. Bah! Humbug, humbug I say! But up on the fourth floor the girls had a table display of red lingerie with pants from 70rmb and bras from about 130rmb.
A few doors down, C&A
really came through for the men. We found four types of red pants, including these natty fellows with a little golden dragon on the corner.
That’s some nice work, there. Those were 39rmb a pair. They also had red trousers
Upstairs, women had a wall of smalls to choose from, with pants around the 40-50rmb mark and bras about 150rmb.
If you want to give the gift of pants, you should probably aim a little higher than C&A. For guys, Calvin Klein does red boxers and briefs. Get those in any department store
for about 200rmb. For girls, there’s a shop on Julu Lu called L’amour Toujours
, opposite where Mesa used to be, with a decent selection of European lingerie brands.
They stock Agent Provocateur, La Perla, Aubade, Victoria’s Secret and Calzedonia, though some of the stock looks like factory returns (the labels were torn out). Prices start around 150rmb for Chinese brands and go up to about 550rmb for a pair of red Agent Provocateur pants, and all the way up to 3,000rmb for a set of bra and briefs from La Perla.