Shopping Challenge: Palestinian Chic

Friday, February 24, 2012

Okay, team. Remember my great yellow skirt hunt? And the red jeans obsession? Well, you lot were so good at sending me suggestions - too good, in fact, which is why I ended up having to give one skirt away - that when my friend emailed me with a genuine fashion quandary, I decided to throw it out to you guys. There's nothing I love more than a good shopping challenge (just ask Linsey) and something told me you might be open to a little fantasy outfit planning on a Friday afternoon. Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

So, the challenge. It's a tricky one. I'm pretty sure my friend was joking when she suggested I do a post about it, but I honestly don't know where to start. This particular friend - we'll call her Priscilla, even though that is not remotely her name - is about to move to Palestine to begin a very important job for a very worthwhile organisation and generally put the rest of us to shame. It's all come about quite quickly: she's flying out next week and she has the small matter of a mammoth dissertation due today (you can do it, Priscilla!) so you can imagine that shopping is quite far down her list of priorities. Thus she finds herself in the position of being about to move to a Middle Eastern country in possession of a very European wardrobe, and she needs our help.

The Rules

 No leg on show.

 No arms above the elbow (below the elbow is ok).

 No cleavage.

♥ Tight as you like (the younger Palestinian ladies apparently exploit this to the full).

Other things you might need to know

It will be around 40°C. That is HOT.

Priscilla is fair-haired with a pixie crop, awesome curves and amazing cheekbones. Picture a juicier version of Michelle Williams and you've got it.

When she was living in east Africa (this girl gets around), she wore linen trousers and tunic tops and claims she looked like she was, and I quote, "wearing a sack". Which is not the look we're going for here, okay?

I'm thinking maybe a maxi skirt (floaty ones when it's crazy hot, stretchy ones for practicality) and a loose-fitting shirt with a cinched-in waist to avoid any sack comparisons, but I'm turning this one over to you. I appreciate we might struggle to find online retailers that deliver to the Middle East, but she will be flying back and forth to London so UK-based stores would be good, or just general ideas and inspiration.

Think you can help a girl out? Okay... go!

P.S. I've had outfit quandaries of my own this week, as I'm heading down to Leeds this weekend for a little get together with some of my favourite bloggers. I may have purchased some leopard-print jeans. Wish me luck.

Images: 1. The Sartorialist 2. The Glamourai 3. The Sartorialist 4. Olivia Palermo shot by Bauer Griffin via Zimbio 6. Anthropologie (skirt no longer available) 7. Tiany by Zanita

16 boats moored

  1. My ex-partner's parents lived in Oman and then Egypt for years. I perpetually looked like a beige sack when I visited them. Now I realise THIS is how I should have been dressing. Alas.
    Good luck to your friend with the outfit hunt and the amazing new job.

    1. Oh well, she'll be glad it wasn't just her who was channeling sack-chic!

  2. Black is obviously terribly impractical, but otherwise this is serious covering-up inspiration. Sheer sleeves too. Very cute. If you did it in all-white with a matching 80s saucer hat and Chanel-style black shades you would look fabulous.


  3. Boden (yes, yes I know) are doing a super cute linen maxi skirt at the moment and at least on me it clings and lets go in a most flattering manner. And you can get it in at least 2 different lengths, for those of us who aren't model-tall. It comes in white, blue (mine), green (I wanted this, but blue went better with what I already had. But if I was going to live in a hot Middle Eastern country I would TOTALLY buy it), and string...which is beigeish. And it's lined in cotton so no sweating away because of a synthetic lining (wtf?)...

  4. I clicked through here hoping I would have some pearls to offer but your images have nailed it already Kirsty.

    I've travelled a fair bit in places that require covering up and always find it easier - being white/foreign always attracts unwanted male attention anyway. I always turn to bias cut maxi skirts or maxi dresses and think a linen skirt tucked in and belted with rolled sleeves is a very safari chic option.

    LOVE that Olivia Palermo pic - awesome skirt that I wouldn't even attempt to replicate.

  5. Oh those photos are awesome. Have to agree with Rebecca, you nailed it. So pretty.

    We went on a girls holiday to Marrakech many moons ago, just a long weekend. We packed our most conservative clothes. After the first day we were trying to turn ourselves into sacks, the men stalked us something terrible. If I'm honest, it rather spoilt the holiday for us.

    I digress, I hope your friend has an amazing time, and I hope Palestinian men, are better behaved than Moroccan.

    Katie xx

  6. Firstly, while she should purchase some stuff before going, but honestly, she should go shopping when she arrives - stuff will be cheaper there and easier to find fitting the modesty requirements and will help her to fit in as well.

    Secondly, belts belts belts. I'm thinking sleeveless maxi dresses and then short sleeved sweaters belted over the dresses. Also, I would get a three quarter length white blazer and wear that with long skirts as well. I suggest dresses because then when she is in the privacy of her own home which will likely have mediocre air conditioning, she can just drop the sweater and be much cooler.

    Wide waistbands are really nice on long skirts - I love this one, and you could easily tuck a nice button down into it and look quite chic - and perhaps one of these floaty pleated numbers

    Does she have to wear skirts? That was not listed in the rules, and I spent much of my childhood in Egypt which was very pants-friendly.

  7. Not very helpful but I love those images you have found. Especially the Olivia Palermo one. You make me want a maxi skirt very much. Although I know it would not look like that on me but...

    I digress. Shirts are great as they can be a little looser and if you get them in linen/cotton they're cool. Perhaps men's shirts and then belt them? I also agree with trousers, linen trousers can be a god send in that heat.

    Good luck to Priscilla, both with the dissertation and the move!

  8. Wow that third skirt! Love it. Wish I knew where it was from.

  9. I loved the striped maxi dresses that H&M did last year - but I didn't pluck up the courage to buy one until the end of the season when they'd all sold out! I bet they'd look good though with a loose chiffon shirt tied at the waist though... if that makes sense?!

  10. Priscilla here, well I was quite excited this morning when I checked my emails to discover that I had become famous! Kirsty your pictures are amazing and how flattering you are. Thank you all for the amazing advice. I am going shopping tomorrow!

    1. Ha ha I don't know about famous, but I hope it helps! Clearly I have lots of stylish readers :)

  11. I think you have it right - these are great choices!

  12. Kirsty
    You would pull off all of these! I especially like the red one and the striped one but that is my style.
    Have fun
    Much love

  13. May I just say...

    "leopard printed jeans" ???

    SHOW THEM I want them