When you think about Egypt, what comes to mind? If the answer is oversized jewelry and belly dancing garb, you're way off!
Egyptian fashion for women is somewhat of an anomaly these days. Caught between a vibrant streak of creativity and modest Islamic culture, personal style in Egypt shows a mix of two worlds.
In Cairo, you will see many women perusing the streets in clothing more commonly associated with the Gulf countries. Long black abayas, tightly wrapped hijabs, and face covers dominate the crowd. Some women choose to wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts with colorful, loosely wrapped hijabs, and a select few have abandoned the head covering completely. Personally, I found shopping for clothes in Egypt to be quite tedious.
When I first arrived in Cairo, I was without my luggage. It had been lost in London, and I didn't get it for about 3 weeks. I was smart enough to pack one extra outfit in my carry-on, so I literally had two things to wear. My apartment was equipped with an old washing machine that caused the colors to bleed together on my favorite tri-colored jumpsuit. So, technically I had one outfit that was presentable after I did my first load of laundry. I needed to go shopping.
Visiting the malls was like shopping on Black Friday. They were incredibly crowded to the point of being should-to-shoulder inside many of the stores.
The Mall of Arabia is constantly crowded. There isn't a time of day to go when it isn't packed full of people. It does have a nice cinema though. I saw Gods of Egypt, which was beyond cool to watch while I was actually IN Egypt. I was able to find a black cardigan to add to my wardrobe, but nothing else.
City Stars is a personal favorite and slightly less crowded. They have phenomenal decorations during Ramadan and loads of great restaurants to choose from. You can easily find your favorite stores here including American Eagle, Zara, and other international chains. Bebe was even there before closing all of their stores recently. I snagged a pair of high-waisted jeans and few button-down shirts before getting lost trying to find my way out. It's a maze.
One of the newest malls is Festival City. It's so far away from where I was staying that I felt like I was going to another country. Much less crowded than the others, this conglomerate of businesses has makeup stores, bikini shops, and furniture fit for a king. There's also an IKEA that I visited to pick up a new pillow. (Mine was in my lost luggage.)
For the most part, I didn't find exactly what I was looking for at the malls. However, I did happen to stumble across a boutique in Zamalek called Sahara. This place was my saving grace. If I hadn't accidentally found it, I would have been naked by the end of Week 1. (That's a joke. Don't walk around Cairo naked.)
I was greeted by the sweetest young woman, who helped me understand their sizing system. It's done by numbers ranging from 1 (extra small) to 4 (large). On my first visit, I found 4 V-neck shirts and 3 flowy dresses. The prints in this place were phenomenal. By the end of my stay, I had purchased 12 complete outfits from Sahara. It's the thing I miss the most about Egypt. I wish we had one in the United States.
My Best Buy!
Without a doubt, my favorite purchase is a pair of tie-dye blue pants I found at Sahara. I wore them to the Pyramids and for my second trip to the Egyptian Museum. Stretchy, loose, and flowy, they were perfect during the insanely hot summer months. Both T-shirts and the blue scarf were also purchased at Sahara. I can't remember exactly how much everything was, but their prices are extremely affordable.
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Until next time,
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